Here Are Some Intersectional LGBTQ+ Books You Should Check Out

Often when books are written about LGBTQ+ people, they’re the typical coming out story that we’re all well acquainted with at this point.  Coming out or being queer in general is just used as a central plot device rather than just being a standalone fact about a character.  These stories are certainly important, but by now they’ve taken up the majority of queer literature when there’s so much room to do more interesting things.  Many of these books are also fairly one-dimensional or lacking more intersectional diversity, which sucks.

So, to aid you in the endless quest to find good gay books, I’ve compiled a list of some perhaps lesser-known works by diverse queer authors published in the last few years that deserve your attention!

 

1. We Are Okay by Nina Lacour (2017)

Photo credit: Amazon

This is a young adult contemporary fiction novel featuring a lesbian main character named Marin, and the author Nina Lacour is queer herself.  The novel is very dreamlike and has a readable but engaging narrative voice, not to mention it’s fairly short, so it’s great if you don’t have a lot of spare time for pleasure-reading.

It follows Marin as she dreads a childhood friend’s upcoming visit to her at college in New York, and unexpected griefs and forgotten feelings bubble to the surface as her past catches up to her.  Readers are left in the dark about why she had to flee her home until the end.  This book really affected me when I read it as a freshman in college, but I haven’t seen many people talking about it.  Deserves so much more attention.

 

2. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (2016)

 

Photo credit: Amazon

If I Was Your Girl is a novel I’m really rooting for; a friend of mine recommended it to me and I’ve yet to read it, but reviews are looking great.  It’s another young adult contemporary, but this time dealing with more romantic elements.

The main character, Amanda, is the new girl in high school and naturally starts falling for a boy, but she’s also keeping a secret: at her old school, she was Andrew.  Yes, finally, fiction with a transgender main character!  Meredith Russo, the author of this novel, is also transgender.  There needs to be a lot more young adult fiction telling trans stories; this is a step in the right direction.

 

3. Guapa by Saleem Haddad (2016)

Photo credit: Amazon

This is a debut novel, telling the coming of age of Rasa, a young gay man living in an unnamed country in the Middle East.  The story is a devastating one of being gay within the context of the precarious sociopolitical climate of an Arab country and the dangers that can bring about.  It’s sometimes hard to find queer stories about people of color, especially ones set outside of western countries and written by people also falling under that description, so when one comes up it’s even more important to support it.  It’s a story about love, family, and alienation, and it is well worth the read.

 

4. More Than This by Patrick Ness (2014)

Photo credit: Amazon

So you’re tired of contemporary young adult fiction?  I gotcha.  Here’s a dystopian, almost-Matrix-esque novel by the established Patrick Ness, author of the popular Chaos Walking trilogy.  Some people actually don’t know that the author is married to a husband so I thought I’d include a gay book of his on this list.

More Than This is best read when you know absolutely nothing about it and go in completely blind, so I’ll keep this vague.  The opening chapter starts out with a boy drowning, dying, and then waking up again.  (Intrigued?)  But for my purposes here, the most important thing is that that boy, the main character Seth, is gay.  And here, coming out is rarely if ever touched upon at all as he navigates a post-apocalyptic world; it’s just another fact about Seth.  Refreshing, to say the least.

 

5. The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown (2019)

Photo credit: Goodreads

Oh, boy, do I love this book.  It actually just came out in March 2019 (though sadly only available in the United Kingdom for now; I ordered my copy online and had it shipped, Book Depository is the cheapest place to get it to the US!).  You may recognize the name Savannah Brown from her YouTube channel, where she occasionally uploads poetry videos and other book-related things.  This is her debut novel at age 22, which is incredibly inspiring.  She’s also bisexual!  We love that!

The Truth About Keeping Secrets (or TTAKS for short) is a thriller more than anything, centered around grief as our narrator Sydney loses her dad in a car accident and suffers from the loss tremendously.  Something feels strange about the accident, though, and Sydney falls into a spiral of forming conspiracies and an obsession with death as she tries to fit the pieces together, all the while fixating on a girl named June, who was inexplicably at her father’s funeral.

This novel will keep you guessing until the very end and is the first one I’ve read in quite a while that I literally could not stop reading.  Support young queer authors!  You’ll love this!

 

6. All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell (2018)

Photo credit: Amazon

Maybe anthologies are more your thing?  Well, this one’s a real winner.  Featuring seventeen (!!!) young adult authors from all across the queer spectrum, All Out is a collection of diverse short stories spanning a wide range of genres.  Numerous cultures, time periods, and identities are represented here.  Everything is here, from two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain to a transgender retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in the war-wrought 1870s Mexico.  Here’s a list of all the stories and authors included.

While these stories are generally fictional, queer narratives that are accurately set in times past are extremely important to acknowledge.  This is a history so often brushed over and forgotten.  When stories like these come up, they need to be recognized.  Who knows who needs to read them?

 

I hope some of these books have piqued your interest.  Diverse representation in queer stories can take some effort to find, but it certainly exists, and in order to show the demand for more in the future we need to read and support the literature that’s out there now, however few and far between.  Someday we’ll get to a place where there’s a story for everyone.

 

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