15 Books with Transgender Representation | Get to know these trans and gender non-conforming characters

Pride Month 2022

Hello, my lovely lemons! There are so many lists I could make based around specific representation. There’s a range as wide as the LGBTQ+ spectrum is. But this is only one month, and I am only one person, so I had to just pick a couple. (I’m hoping to do more of these throughout the year though, so watch this space!) In the end I went with asexual (revisiting a post from my first ever Pride Month event) and transgender. Both are areas I feel get underrepresented, so I wanted to use the platform that Pride Month provides to shout about some wonderful books where you can find this much-needed representation.

I’m kicking things off with the trans list, because it felt like it was only right to start with the one I haven’t done before! Also, I’ve been collecting this list of books for a very long time, and I’m excited to share it with you all. I’m using “trans” as an umbrella term here, to encompass all folks who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Be they transgender, non binary, agender, genderfluid, bigender, genderqueer… Anything. (Which is not to say I have books that represent every one of those, but I will absolutely work on that.) Okay, let’s go!

I thought it might be good to organise these recommendations by genre. I tried to pull a pretty wide range from my knowledge base – across different age groups and genres. To be clear, I haven’t read all these books but I will note the ones I have read with a 📖 emoji.

🍋 Science Fiction 🍋

Adult

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis | 📖 This is a very dark sci-fi that deals with a lot of triggering topics, so I recommend checking out the content warnings first. (I included a list in my full review here.) But if you’re fine with the content and you want a gritty space adventure about queer characters taking control of their lives and trying to end a war, you won’t find a much better example than this. It’s billed as a “queer space opera with a non-binary hero” which is all the reason I’ve ever needed to pick up a book.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki | According to the blurb, this is a “joyful adventure with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.” Shizuka made a deal with the devil, and needs to convince 7 other violin prodigies to do the same in order to save her soul. When she comes across young transgender runaway Katrina she knows she’s found her final candidate. Then she meets a retired starship captain in a donut shop, and the lives of these women become intertwined.

The Seep by Chana Porter | 📖 I’m not even sure how to explain this book, but reading it was a wonderful and surreal experience. Set in the wake of a gentle alien invasion, this book imagines a utopian society in which everything is connected and anything is possible. Fifty-year-old trans woman Trina is happy, until her wife Deeba decides to be reborn as a baby, leaving her behind. Across this short (under 250 page) story we follow Trina, consumed by grief and alcoholism, on an unexpected adventure as she follows a lost boy and confronts her way of living.

Middle Grade

Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee | 📖 The second book in The Sidekick Squad series follows trans boy shapeshifter Bells as he attends a special training camp. This entire series is about diverse queer kids in a world with superheroes and supervillains, and it’s just lovely and fun and uplifting.

🍋 Fantasy 🍋

Adult

Peter Darling by Austin Chant | A queer retelling of Peter Pan featuring Peter as a trans man and a potential romance with Captain Hook? This book sounds amazing, and at just over 200 pages, I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t read it!

Horseman by Christina Henry | This recommendation comes courtesy of my partner, Olly. They’ve read all of Christina Henry’s books, and love her specific brand of spooky retelling. This horror/thriller is based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (the story of the Headless Horseman). It follows trans masc protagonist Ben as he unravels the mystery behind a series of murders happening in the forest surrounding the town.

Young Adult

No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll | A fantasy anthology all about trans and gender nonconforming individuals screwing with gendered prophecies? This sounds amazing, and promises to showcase individuals of many different identities, including folks who use neopronouns.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore | 📖 No one does magical realism quite like Anna-Marie McLemore. At its heart, this is a trans love story, about a girl who grows flowers from her wrist and a boy who hangs painted moons all over town. It has lyrical, atmospheric writing, and I really recommend reading it in autumn for all the beautiful descriptions of pumpkins.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas | 📖 Did someone say GHOSTS? I adore this book about trans boy Yadriel, who’s trying to prove to his family that he’s a true brujo. He tries to do this by summoning the ghost of his cousin, but… accidentally summons the wrong ghost. Which lands him stuck with ’bad boy’ Julian Diaz, who just won’t leave him alone. Thus begins a journey across the city as the pair try to fulfil Julian’s last wishes. This is such a magical story, full of adventure and a journey with family acceptance.

🍋 Romance 🍋

Adult

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly | This fun romance is set on a TV cooking competition! Following clumsy, recently divorced Dahlia, who’s determined to reinvent herself, and London, the show’s first non-binary contestant. As the two grow closer, suddenly winning doesn’t seem as important…

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall | Queer historical romance, anyone? When Viola Carroll is presumed dead, she takes the opportunity to start a new life and finally live as herself. With this comes the loss of everything she knew, including her best friend. When the two are reconnected years later, she finds her old friend still shattered with grief. She’s determined to bring his spark back, but can she do so without jeopardising everything she’s worked so hard for?

🍋 Contemporary 🍋

Young Adult

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender | Before we even get into the content, can we talk about how important it is having top surgery scars represented on a book cover? Love to see it. Felix Love – Black, queer, transgender demiboy – has never been in love. But when an anonymous troll starts posting transphobic abuse about him online he launches a quest for revenge. Which ends up landing him in a love triangle…

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver | A heartbreaking and healing tale of non-binary identity. This story follows Ben, who is thrown out by their parents after coming out as non-binary. Forced to move in with their estranged sister, it follows their journey at a new school and daily struggles with anxiety. It’s one of my partner’s favourite books!

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde | 📖 This is a book about disaster queers in a rock band, basically. It follows bisexual girl Emmy, who becomes the latest tabloid disaster after breaking up with her boyfriend. Then things become even more complicated as she starts to develop feelings for her bandmate Alfie, who is genderqueer and uses he/him pronouns. One of Emmy’s best friends is a non-binary femme, who was one of the best characters in the book. It was just the queerest thing I’ve ever read, honestly.

Middle Grade

Ana on the Edge by A.J. Sass | A young figure skater begins to discover their non-binary identity in this adorable book by A.J. Sass. After Ana is assigned a princess themed program to perform, then meets a transgender boy at the ice rink it brings up all kinds of thoughts about gender identity. Can Ana learn to be themself without sacrificing their figure skating dreams?

I hope you found some good recommendations from this list! I had a lot of fun putting it together, and tried to gather a wide range of stories about various identities. I’d like to do this again sometime, once I’ve gathered up another list of quality recs!

What’s your favourite book with a trans or gender non conforming character? Drop me some recommendations in the comments!

Love and lemons, Abi

4 thoughts on “15 Books with Transgender Representation | Get to know these trans and gender non-conforming characters

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