Hello, my lovely lemons! 🍋 Welcome! Come in, sit down, and strap in for the long haul. I’m going to take you on a journey – a journey through every book I’ve ever read with LGBTQIA+ representation. This may be the craziest post I’ve ever done. We’re about to find out.
I’m doing this in chronological order of when I read these, because it’s the easiest way for me to scour my reading tracker. Also, it just makes sense? The rules for me including a book on this list are that the representation has to be a main character or important side character (somebody actually relevant), have some significance to the story (e.g. not just mentioned in passing once) and be shown/mentioned on page (an author tweeting “btw, X was actually gay” does not count). I’ve tried to point out the representation featured in each book, but in some cases it has been years since I read these, so apologies if I get anything wrong or miss something.
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | Kicking things off with heartbreak, huh? I read this book until 3 in the morning, bawling my eyes out under my duvet. Then finished it the next day. It shattered me into a million pieces and I would absolutely do it again. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, m/m relationship
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | It’s very clear to me that I kicked off my adventures into queer reading with the most talked about online books (and only reading m/m because internalised homophobia). I didn’t really enjoy this one, mainly because I just didn’t get it, but there are plenty of people out there who love it enough to make up for me. Rating: 3 stars. Representation: gay, m/m relationship
The Raven King by Nora Sakavic | I always found it funny how there were two hugely popular books both called The Raven King around at the same time. A lot of people tag the first book in this series (The Foxhole Court) as LGBTQ+, but as far as I can remember there is no on-page representation in that one. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, bisexual
The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic | I remember the flurry in which I read this series, and the furious book hangover it gave me. It’s pretty heavy and not for everyone, but if you’re okay with the trigger warnings it’s a highly addictive read. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, bisexual, m/m relationship
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera | Oh, Adam, the king of make-you-cry gay romances. This one truly does what it says on the tin, so get ready to fall in love and break out the tissues. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, bisexual, m/m relationship
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | This is potentially the only historical fiction I’ve ever read, but it was mainly focused on comedy and adventure so don’t let the time period put you off. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: bisexual, queer, m/m relationship
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | This is a work of art disguised as a book. To this day it’s one of the most memorable and inspiring books I’ve ever read, and the prose is truly wonderful. My favourite ever Contemporary, by far. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, m/m relationship
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater | Of all the books in The Raven Cycle, this was my favourite. I don’t remember much about this series anymore (it was so weird and magical it feels like remembering a fever dream) but I remember giving this book a hug after I finished it. (Anyone else do that?) Rating: 4 stars. Representation: gay
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | I know I was disappointed in this series finale, but it at least delivered a satisfying relationship conclusion. I’m also going to tack on Opal, a sort of epilogue novella that I don’t feel like listing separately because it’s only 39 pages. Rating: 2 stars. Representation: gay, bisexual, m/m relationship
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus | This was a really fun and interesting YA murder mystery. I’m mentioning the rep but I can’t really say anything else because that would be a spoiler. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: gay
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L. C. Rosen | This is the first (and only) ARC I’ve ever had where the publisher actually sent me a physical book. It was pretty cool. This is a very sex positive YA book that discusses a lot of important things. The protagonist could be a little annoying, but overall this was a book that had its heart in the right place. Rating: 3 stars. Representation: gay, m/m
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Now this one is a classic. When we first met it was my partner’s favourite book, and I borrowed their copy. It’s sweet, funny, emotional, and I loved the mystery love interest aspect. I’ve also watched the movie several times. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: gay, coming out, m/m romance
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum | I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get on with this book. Nearly every chapter was a page or less, it has unreliable narration, and at the end I’m not sure I understood most of what had happened. As I put it in my original review “this is about two mentally ill boys who hold on to each other in place of the support they should be getting from the grown ups around them”. Rating: 2 stars. Representation: bisexual, questioning
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff | Mia Corvere, the original bisexual icon. If you like your representation with a side of blood and sex, this is the one for you. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: bisexual, m/f relationship
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera | If I wasn’t already going to read this book by two of my favourite authors joining forces, the title being a Dear Evan Hansen reference would have convinced me. This is a sweet and fun story about two boys that fate keeps throwing together over a summer in New York. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, m/m romance
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers | This book, y’all. This book. I’ve never read anything like it. It’s quietly profound and beautiful. It’s found family on a year long journey across space. It has a lovely f/f relationship, which you may notice is the first one on this list. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: queer, f/f relationship, lots of lgbtq+ characters
The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding | This is officially the first book with an f/f pairing that I intentionally read (I wasn’t aware of the relationship in the last one). I’m a little sad for past me that it took so long to get to this point, but the internalised homophobia was so real and I know what a struggle it was. This was the first hurdle for me becoming more comfortable with my own sexuality. When you can’t even say the word “lesbian” it’s hard to read a book about one, you know? Picking up this book was a huge turning point for me and I’m so proud of where I am now because of it. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: lesbian, f/f romance
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins | This was a very fun and cheesy enemies-to-lovers novel set in a boarding school. While as a Brit I found it quite funny how this book invented a Scottish royal family, it was still cute and entertaining. Rating: 3 stars. Representation: bisexual, lesbian, f/f romance
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu | The first graphic novel on the list! This was a magical adventure with a queer witch and a non-binary werewolf, so do I need to say any more? Rating: 4 stars. Representation: queer, non-binary, f/nb romance, established older f/f couple
Fence by C.S Pacat, Johanna the Mad, and Joana LaFuente | I could go ahead and list all the volumes of this comic but I read them all at once so I’ll save us all the trouble. This is an absolutely adorable, very queer series that feels like the graphic novel version of a sports anime. It’s about scrappy underdog Nicholas as he joins the elite fencing team of an all boys’ school. It’s my go-to whenever I need a pick me up, it always gets me laughing. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: queer, gay, m/m romance
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff | I love this book even more than the first. There’s new romance, new action, and new adventure. Plus gladiators. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: bisexual, queer, f/f relationship
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks | I adore this graphic novel and reread it every Halloween. Something about all the pumpkins, it just makes me happy. Main character Deja is very much bisexual and her previous relationships with people of different genders are mentioned a couple of times. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: bisexual, m/f romance
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman | I’ve been reading this webcomic for absolutely years (before the physical volumes were published) so I guess this technically should have been first but I added it to my reading tracker when the volumes released. Nick and Charlie are the cutest, and this comic handles so many important issues in such a lovely and caring way. Rating: 5 stars. Representation: gay, bisexual, m/m relationship, trans, lesbian, f/f relationship, other lgbtq+ characters
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | This space squad. There’s nothing I love more in my sci-fi than a found family of misfits, and these guys totally fit the bill. Finian is a bisexual king. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: bisexual
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman | This is the first book I found with demisexual representation! The word is used on page, along with a description from the character of what it means, and as someone who is demi myself it really meant a lot. My other favourite thing about this book is that it places the focus on platonic friendships, a rare and beautiful thing to see. Rating: 4 stars. Representation: demisexual, queer
And it was at this point she knew: she fucked up. Folks, I have been writing this post all afternoon, and I kind of got to a point where I wanted to get up and do something else, so I just decided to go through the rest of my list and note down each title, author, and the rating I gave it. Then I could carry on later without losing my progress. I just made that list in bullet points. For a laugh, I switched it to numbered points to see how many more books I have to do. 57. There are 57.
Now, I’m not a coward – I’ll do it. But I think at this point I need to split this post up. WordPress is literally struggling to load it and I haven’t even put the images in yet. So I’m breaking off here and we’ll call this Part One. Make sure you tune back in for the rest of this ridiculous list!
Do you think I’m crazy for making this post? If you had to take a guess, how many LGBTQ+ books do you think you’ve read? And don’t forget – if you haven’t already I need you to leave your favourite queer books in the comments. I’m compiling them all into a special post at the end of the month!