Top 3 LGBT+ Novels You’ll Want to Devour

It’s easy to be swept up in assignments, internships and work but to avoid crashing, we need downtime. For some, that means movies or taking a good nap and for others, it means curling up with a book. Novels may seem intimidating because of their length but when you pick the right story, pages fly by and you find yourself at the end far too quickly, aching for more. It’s an even better read when the story involves characters or is written by an author you can relate to. Let me introduce you to the top three novels in my LGBT+ collection and their author, Alexis Hall, who skyrocketed my expectations when it comes to fiction. 

The first of three by this person with worlds hidden in his fingers is “Glitterland.” The main character, Ash, has an internal storm of anxiety and depression. Now, I’ve seen authors undermine anxiety or depression as something common or leave out details from fear of exaggerating. Oppositely, I’ve seen them exaggerate in an attempt to enforce the impact and significance of battling these storms. Alexis Hall approaches it with unashamed, raw honesty. You can taste Ash’s anxiety when it prevents him from going to the store, or warps his book signing into a terrifying experience he dreads. Also, the relationship between Ash and Dorian leaves you coddling your heart, telling it that everything will be okay even though Ash gives us so many reasons to think it’s not. This lack of security propels readers through the pages and shows Ash’s anxiety interfering with daily life. Their relationship explores the distinction between yourself and who you are with someone else. Oh, and fair warning, Dorian’s accent and attitude will have you head over heels.

The second of three from our complex character creator is “For Real.” Alexis Hall depicts the age gap between his characters wonderfully through their contrasting language and viewpoints. Laurie, an intelligent but tired and brokenhearted man will make you laugh as much as cringe from his problems and the way he navigates them. Toby will encourage you like he does Laurie with his youth and adamant personality. This story explores identity, purpose, and the lack of permanency in relationships and people. This story also explores sex and kinks in that raw and unashamed way I mentioned before. Alexis draws back the curtain on physical relationships and descriptions between characters by erasing any standards of false perfection and replacing them with honest and beautiful truths. Toby and Laurie’s interactions flood readers senses with addictive imagry and leave nothing erotic restricted. The revelations, language, and honest relationship that comes with “For Real” will make you think as a writer ‘I can do that?’ and wonder as a reader if Alexis Hall isn’t one of a-miracle working-kind. Be prepared to fall in love with Laurie through Toby’s eyes and be sweetly broken each time Laurie calls Toby ‘darling’.

The third book is “Pansies.” While sensitive material seems to be the name of the game and one of the reasons we read Alexis Hall’s work, this novel might deserve the largest trigger warning. A positive relationship is built on redemption and forgiveness as Fen and Alfie reconnect. These men have an emotionally and physically damaging history that haunt them from their past into the present. Along with an ethical debate of who if anyone deserves forgiveness and battles with self worth, ideas explored here are repressed emotions and internalized homophobia. We analyze the impact of external influences such as society and family, how they affect one’s internal state and the internal conflicts. Alfie will tear you apart with his learned concept of masculinity and the impact homophobia has left on him with which he damaged Fen. Fen will light up your sky brighter than any star with his unrepentant personality and interests. These two mix together with traumas and the coupling of opposites attract to create an intense relationship. You’ll find yourself reaching out to comfort them both and walking away craving lasagna.

Although it’s always sad to reach the end of a story, at the end of these books an adorable comfort awaits the readers. “For Real” offers the recipe to Toby’s pie, and “Pansies” offers the recipe to Alfie’s lasagna written in their voices. Another note about these stories is sometimes characters are referenced and cross over, can you find any examples? Hint: remember “Glitterland” when you’re reading “Pansies.” If you’re like me and relax with a good book, especially if you need new LGBT+ works, I urge you to find one of these novels, or check out the series completed this year, by the incomparable Alexis Hall.