Hi book buddies! I’m a little late with this wrap-up, but I hope you enjoyed Pride month! I got a great selection of LGBTQ+ books ticked off my reading list, and completed all 8 books on my Rainbow TBR! 🌈 I didn’t post as much as I would have liked, but I’m also realising that I don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) reserve all my Pride posts for one month. In other news I got some great photos of my dog this month, so you’re in for a treat on these upcoming posts! 🐶
The Disasters by M. K. England
This was exactly what I needed. A fun space adventure lead by a crew of diverse, queer misfits. There were high stakes, riveting action scenes, great banter, and found family, all packed into a standalone book.
I’m so glad I finally got to this after waiting so long to read it, and while it wasn’t quite the favourite I was hoping it’d turn out to be, it was still utterly brilliant. Anyone out there looking for a queer space adventure, buckle up, you’re in for a treat.
Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
This was a heartwarming and wholesome book, with cute banter, an interesting plot, and – my personal favourite – demisexual representation. It’s got the great character dynamics that all good contemporaries do, and is told through an interesting format – entirely in text messages. I adored the banter between Haley and Martin – to say this was a book written purely in ‘dialogue’ between just two characters, I was totally interesting the whole way through.
On top of this, I loved the background plot of Haley not realising which Martin she was talking to – the one she “hates”. It’s one of those scenarios where you as the reader know what’s going on, while the main character doesn’t. I love that trope, it really keeps you on your toes wondering when they’re going to figure it out – not to mention it’s just funny watching them be oblivious and missing all the clues.
This is a wonderful contemporary novel, with well-developed characters and an engaging plot. It’s got a demisexual female and a bisexual male lead. It’s adorable and nerdy and full of banter and heart-to-heart conversations. It’s great, and you should read it.
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
You may remember that Queens of Geek was originally on my Rainbow TBR. That title sadly got removed from the reading subscription I use, so I substituted it for another book by Jen Wilde.
I can’t even begin to describe to you how queer this book is. It was WONDERFUL. The casual diversity, the discussions about gender, pronouns, sexuality, feminism… It just made my heart happy.
The plot was entertaining if a little dramatic. But I’m willing to overlook a lot of things when you give me a novel featuring a Black non-binary femme who uses they/them pronouns, a proudly bisexual girl and a genderqueer pansexual.
If you want a book that will make your queer heart sing with happiness, and you’re willing to overlook excessive teenage drama and paparazzi-based public meltdowns, then I highly recommend you check this out. My only complaint is that the ending felt very hastily resolved, and there were quite a few threads left hanging in terms of Emmy’s personal development. That didn’t make it any less outrageously fun though! I’d definitely recommend this as a brilliant example of queer contemporary.
Not Your Villain by C. B. Lee
I didn’t love this as much as the first book, but it was still a solid, enjoyable read. I think what it mostly lacked was the humour from the first book, though that’s understandable since the situation the characters are in is more serious this time.
Bella was a good narrator, and I loved how him being trans was woven into the story – it’s there, and you’re aware of it, but it’s not the main focus of his character. It’s in the background, and it feels natural. I did think he was a bit mopier than Jess since a large part of his character arc involved feeling left out by his friends, as they got into relationships and he didn’t.
I do enjoy the format of this series, where each book changes to the perspective of a different main character. It’s a fun way to get to know everyone, having seen them through other people’s eyes and to now be reading from their point of view.
The best part about this series remains its wonderfully diverse cast, with discussions about culture, sexuality and gender all present. Running through all that is a story of heroes vs villains, of people standing up for what’s right, and in this case: the kids doing what the adults are too afraid to. It’s a damn good time.
So, that’s finally everything I read during Pride Month 2020! If you missed the first set of reviews, you can read them here. It was a pretty good reading month overall, and while I didn’t go beyond my TBR like I had hoped, I did read everything on it. I’m learning to accept that that’s more than enough. My main focus this year was on reading books that represent all different areas of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Including my first books about trans and demisexual protagonists, and the first book I’ve read featuring non-binary and genderqueer characters. I also made a conscious effort to find and read more F/F titles, since I have read shamefully few. Pride Month for me is about learning more about the community and myself, and I think it went well this year.
Did you read anything good in June? Find any new favourites? Tell me about them! (I don’t know if you know this, but if you directly recommend a book to me there is like a 99% chance I will actually go find it and make reading it a priority. Seriously, recommend me things!) And just remember pals – queer books are for life, not just for Pride Month! 😆