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charlie and nick kissing in heartstopper season 2
charlie and nick kissing in heartstopper season 2
Samuel Dore/Netflix

5 Queer Books to Read this June

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

For a very long time, there was a lack, or quite frankly a completely nonexistent subgenre of romance–LGBTQ+ romance. Queer books and characters were a rare find, often being portrayed to a stereotypical extreme. Although not every queer character-driven story needs to feature romance in it, it is always nice to see love in all forms. In honor of Pride month, here are five queer novels to read.

  1. Red, White, and Royal Blue 

While this is one of the more popular queer books, it is completely worth the hype. I am someone who was a little hesitant about reading the book because I judged the book by the cover (and title), but I am so grateful I did. This book turned me on to romance as a whole. I finished it in two days because I was so hooked. 

Plot Synopsis: As the first son to the first woman president of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz, acts as an international socialite. Unfortunately for Alex, this means interacting with his rival, Henry Hanover-Stuart, the British Prince. This award winning enemies-to-lovers novel takes audiences through a journey of contemporary romance life never before. 

Author: Casey McQuiston

Pages: 423

  1. The Honey Witch

Do you ever buy books for the author? This is certainly a book I bought for the author and hopefully will stay for the plot. While I have yet to read this debut novel, it quickly became one of the most anticipated books of 2024, being recognized by USA Today, Amazon, Goodreads and more. 

Plot Synopsis: This magical sapphic romance aims to have a cottagecore, Jane Austen meets Howl’s Moving Castle vibe. Marigold Claude is trained as a honey witch, but is cursed so that no one can fall in love with her. That is, until she meets the grumpy tattoo artist who doesn’t believe in magic, Lottie Burke. Marigold is challenged to fight against dark magic that threatens her home and love itself throughout this story. 

Author: Sydney J. Shields 

Pages: 368

  1. Heartstopper

There are a few volumes in this series, and I hope they never stop. This is one of the cutest, wholesome queer romances I have ever come across. It’s so good that it has been turned into a Netflix series (which I also recommend).

Plot Synopsis: In this coming-of-age story, Charlie, a shy, overthinking openly gay high school student, develops a friendship with popular rugby-jock Nick. The friendship quickly blossoms into something more, which leaves Nick to question his sexuality. The diverse set of characters explore different sexualities, strong friendships, humor, heartbreak and love. This book will leave readers with a wholesome story that keeps developing throughout the series. 

Author: Alice Oseman 

Pages: 288

  1. The Darkness Outside Us 

Although I enjoy a good romance book, having other storylines, genres and themes in a book is my favorite way to incorporate the love aspect. This was a recommended book from my roommate, and I watched him read it the first time, being completely shocked by the plot twists and unable to put the book down. When I read it, I went through those same emotions too. 

Plot Synopsis: Set in the future, Ambrose and Kodiak are trapped in space because Earth is no longer liveable. The two men are on a mission to continue the human race, but find something else along the way: each other. This science fiction book includes elements of clones, death, gore, sexuality, mystery and refound love. 

Author: Eliot Schrefer  

Pages: 397

  1. Let Us Descend 

One of my favorite literary genres is magical realism. So, when I saw a book that featured magical realism, ancestry connections, historical fiction and sapphic love I had to buy it. While this story is heart-wrenching, it has some of the most beautiful prose, plot twists and tragedies. It is also not a romance book exclusively, although it does follow a queer character and a WLW experience. 

Plot Synopsis: The beginning of the book starts in the fields of the Carolinas where Annis and her mother live as slaves. As the story progresses, Annis is sold in the slave markets of New Orleans to a Louisianan plantation. Through the hardship Annis faces, she starts to connect with the spirit world that she found by remembering the stories of her warrior grandmother. This award-winning reimagining of the American slavery novel features love, grief, nature, reclamation and myths. 

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Pages: 320

Reagan is a staff writer and the new event director at Her Campus ODU. She is double majoring in World Cultural Studies and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. In her free time, Reagan loves to write, read, cook, travel, watch films and style/thrift outfits. She values community and experiences and hopes that it shows through her articles.