So in case you didn’t know, LGBTQ+ representation in fiction is very slim. Genres upon themes upon age demographic, and only a small percentage of fiction has a gay character. It’s tragic, for a world that becomes more and more tolerant every day (or, at least we’d like to think so), the majority of fiction busies itself with the same old plots involving straight people.
And don’t get me wrong; some of those stories are still fantastic. But, instead of asking why a book should include an LGBT character, you should be asking; why not? I have become a reader who thrives on such characters. If, on Goodreads, a book is tagged with the ‘Glbt’ category, I instantly become more inclined to read it. There’s just an exciting, fresh story there that explores new plots and themes and personality, that I just want to read them all.
In celebration of Pride Month this June, here are my favourite books with LGBTQ+ characters I’ve read so far, and some that I plan to read very soon.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I remember reading the majority of this book on the train. A train is a public place, and I am terrible at reading about boys being cute and not making stupid faces at words on a page. This book was so heart-wrenchingly good. Mixed with themes you know and love from that well known series, but with an added contemporary feel, Carry On has LGBT youth in a fantasy setting, which is always so desperately needed. What, you’re gunna make up a whole new world with an imaginative society that plays by different rules but everyone’s still straight? I don’t think so. Carry On is the fanfiction previously told in Fangirl, where Simon Snow, the ‘chosen one’ deals with growing up, defeating villains, and falling in love with his worst enemy/roommate.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This is the book that stayed with me. I picked it up on a whim, only because I’d seen it on Goodreads marked as LGBT (see how much that tag draws me in??). I rarely readyhistorical fiction, unless it’s mixed in with fantasy, it’s just a genre I’m not too bothered with. So when I started reading Song of Achilles, with absolutely no previous knowledge of The Iliad, I’d really chucked myself head first into becoming a masochist. This story is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, and it hurts. so. much. The Song of Achilles tells the story of Patroclus, a banished Prince who becomes the best friend and lover Achilles, a demi-God who is destined for greatness.
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
This was the book that made me Jandy Nelson trash. It also made me fall in love with LGBT+ contemporary just that little bit more (not that I needed that much convincing). The writing is just fantastic; it’s imaginative and fits so well with the narrative. I’ll Give You The Sun is about twins Noah and Jude, both creative in their own way. But after tragedy strikes, their relationship is ruined, and it’s only them who can salvage what’s left.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Now, you’re probably thinking this is a bit of a curve ball, because Landline is about a straight couple mending their relationship. However, I felt the need to include this because I very rarely read books about women falling in love. But hey, it’s not out of a diversion of it; I’d LOVE to read more about the ‘L’ in LGBT+, but it seems more scarce than gay romance is. So when I picked up Landline, I was pleasantly surprised that one of the side plots was a teen girl/girl romance. The book was already fantastic, but it just made it that much more exciting and lovely and different to all those other straight romance books!
More Than This by Patrick Ness
This was my second dive into a Patrick Ness book and I’m still in awe. Ness’ characters are so real and vibrant I almost feel like I know them. I mean, I do, in a sense. After the popularity of The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, I knew I had to get my hands on More Than This, an apocalyptic, sci-fi, contemporary melting pot of diverse and deep characters. One day, Seth dies, and then he wakes up. It’s not possible, but then, what is? (You’re not supposed to know that much going in, so I’ll leave it there!).
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Oh man, I feel like while I recommend this book loads, I don’t actually recommend it enough. Radio Silence was a completely new thing for me. I’d heard of Alice Oseman before through her Tumblr and Twitter and of course Solitaire. This book had been rec’d by bloggers on all the book chats on Twitter, and I had no idea that it was LGBT+. It’s my favourite thing, not knowing about that element and then getting excited when it just happens. Can I also mention that this is another book with actual gay women, and even BISEXUAL WOMEN, ASEXUAL MEN, it’s just….it’s incredible that books just do not represent enough of us, and I’m so glad I was told told, nay, ordered, to read Radio Silence. Radio Silence is about the pressures of school and the future when you’re a teenager, how flawed the school system is, all seen through the eyes of social media.
Here are some that I plan to read that are either solely LGBT+ or at least have LGBT+ themes:
Are there any LGBT+ books you’ve enjoyed recently? Recommend some and I’ll most likely give it a read. Happy Pride!