Best of Lists Book Reviews

LGBT Pride Monday – Recommended Reading

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is celebrated each year for the month of June and since we are both allies, we decided to join our voices to the celebrations today with a list of some of our favourite LGBT books which were read and reviewed here.

Without further ado, here are some of our favourite LGBT books, in no particular order:

1.I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan
Historical/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: For its historical significance: this book is the first LGBT YA mainstream novel to have addressed homosexuality in a positive manner. This 40th anniversary edition contains three interesting essays about its place in history. Plus: it is a wonderful story about a young boy discovering his own sexuality.

2.Vintage – A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
Paranormal/Romance/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: Vintage is a contemporary ghost story with a heavy romantic arc and it never loses sight of the hardships that its main character faces as a gay teen, but accomplishes this without making “issues” the central theme of the book. Plus, it has hot making out scenes.

3.Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen
Historical Romance/Adult

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: Excellent Romance set in the 20s with a vivid setting, wonderful writing and heartwarming romance between two guys which progresses from uneasy camaraderie, to friends, to lovers.

4.Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Contemporary/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: It’s written by David Levithan. Who said, when asked about whether this book which is so hopelessly romantic, was a work of reality or fantasy: “right down the middle – it’s about where we’re going, and where we should be.’”

5. Freak Show by James St. James
Contemporary/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: This is seriously one of the BEST LGBT books I’ve read. It is hilarious AND heartbreaking at the same time. It is about Billy Bloom, a 17 year old drag queen trying to make her way in a very conservative environment and it has one of the best “voices” in YA ever.

6.My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Contemporary/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: Someone once said about this book: “it is unflinchingly, over the top, with-no-shame-whatsoever the happiest book in the world. Ain’t nothing but blue skies.” And that’s exactly why you should totally read it: it is an exuberant story about brothers and family and coming out and it is just SO much fun.

7.What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
Contemporary/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: It is the direct opposite to the book above in the way that it is a quiet, subdued book also about brothers and family and coming out. It is a beautiful story.

8.Hero by Perry Moore
UF/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: It is a super-hero book! It is rousing, heartening and inspiring AND one of the few books that Thea has ever rated a 10 – perfect.

9.City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton
Fantasy/New Weird/Adult

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: It is mainstream fantasy with one of the main characters as the leader of an elite guard and who is gay in an extremely bigoted world. The most important point here is how the author expertly portrayed this bigotry of the world as being wrong, hateful and unnatural. Very cool. Also: the next book in the series has a trans-character as its main character. I will be reading it soon.

10.Ash by Malinda Lo
Fantasy/YA

Reviewed HERE.

Why read it: It is a beautifully written, lesbian retelling of Cinderella in which the main character does not need a Prince to save her. Awesome.

So, this is our list. It is by no means an extensive and exhaustive list: it is for example, woefully lacking in Lesbian/Bi stories!

How about you? What are your favourite LGBT books? Please feel free to leave recommendations and links to reviews in the comments!

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22 Comments

  • John
    June 27, 2011 at 6:16 am

    So happy to see you guys celebrating Pride Month with a list. ^_^ Books not on there that I would more than happily suggest are With or Without You by Brian Farrey (a great angsty book that does NOT deal with coming out, but general relationships)and The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd (angst with some coming out, but still a wonderful relationship – and the writing is gorgeous.)

    I’m also a huge supporter of Indie authors like Hayden Thorne who do great work for small presses. Her book Desmond and Garrick was wonderful – probably her best yet. Ellen Kushner, on my TBR, supposedly wrote a gay fantasy classic with Swordspoint. That may be something to check out.

  • Ana
    June 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Hey John J! Thanks for the recs. I actually have all of these books on my TBR already :mrgreen: including Glass Minstrel by Hayden Thorne which I think….I bought after reading your review!!

    Why can’t reading be a full time job? 😉

  • Megan
    June 27, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I would recommend Gemma Files’ ‘Book of Tongues.’ One of the few LGBT books I’ve read that focuses on adults, as opposed to young adults. (Obviously not counting erotica there). It’s a fantastically dark and twisted book, and I mean that in the best possible way.

  • Mia
    June 27, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I would highly recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, and also Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron. The former has more direct LGBT references than the latter (and is more YA, although the latter was marketed as such), but the LGBT aspects of the latter play second fiddle to the main character’s other issues for some very good reasons, and it’s a wonderfully touching book about a disconnected 18-year-old who doesn’t know what to do with himself.

    Also, the D.J. Schwenk books (Dairy Queen and its sequels) have some sweet and realistic lesbian moments, although not for the main character–but the lesbian characters are more than their sexuality and, like all the characters in those books, have depth and humanity and humor.

  • Ana
    June 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Hey Megan: I have the Gemma Files’ book and I heard wonderful things about it. I just read something else from the same publisher and am looking forward to reading more of their books soon.

    Mia: I almost included Will Grayson, Will Grayson on the list but since I already had a Levithan, I left it out – but thanks for bringing it up in the comments.

    Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
    sounds wonderful – just added it to my wish list (together with the Dairy Queen books! Thanks

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    June 27, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Empress of the World by Sara Ryan is one of my favorites. I also like Keeping You a Secret by Julie Ann Peters. That one is a little bit of an Issue Book (because that’s what she writes) but it is still very good. I recently read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, and that was fantastic.

    Those are all lesbian books, so maybe you can add a few to your list!

  • alana
    June 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Yay! I made my own list but it had all the major fantasy books you’d expect (Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley, Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling, Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey, etc). I just read Vintage last night and it was surprisingly sweet. I had to go back and re-read a bunch of passages when I was finished.

  • janicu
    June 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

    OK, I want to read all the UF and Fantasy recs on this list. And FREAK SHOW and MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR. *bookmark*. There.

  • Estara
    June 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Yay for Tamara Allen ^^.

    I think you’re missing out on another great m/m epic fantasy with Ann Somerville’s Darshian Tales (which interconnect) – if you want to try them, Kei’s Gift is the first one.

    She also writes good m/m sf – I liked her urban near future sf/suspense Somathestesia for Samhain a lot. Also nice to have it be an interracial couple, I thought.

    What these are not is YA. The links go to pages that have excerpts of the books, too.

  • Alt Fiction Etc.
    June 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    […] other news, City of Ruin was mentioned in the Book Smugglers’ LGBT recommended reading list (which was lovely); and the list is well worth […]

  • Estara
    June 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Oh and I heartily second or third the Swordspoint recommendation – that is EXCELLENT! She wrote further works in the same world, too – and a heartbreaking follow-up short story to Swordspoint itself.

  • Jodie
    June 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I second the recommendation for Empress (and the related book ‘Rules for Hearts’)but so far everyone I’ve rec’d them to hasn’t enjoyed them. Maybe you will?

    I’d also suggest ‘Saints of Augustine’ by P E Ryan which has some similarities with ‘What They Always Tell Us’ (character likes running, alternating chapters following two characters)but is less gentle and quiet (I liked that about WTATY).

    ‘Out of the Pocket’ by Bill Konigsberg is so good too – American football, coming out and romance.

    And finally some good old adult well knowns – ‘Oranges are Not The Only Fruit’ by Jeanette Winterson and the Eye in the Door trilogy by Pat Barker.

  • Tam
    June 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    The only one I’ve read is Vintages, which my daughter who was 14.5 at the time also read and enjoyed. A great choice.

    I’ve read another Steve Kluger book, I may have to check that one out when I’m in the mood for happiness. I have Hero on my bookshelf but haven’t read it yet, although I’ve heard good things.

    Nice list.

  • Kristen
    June 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I did have a longer comment, but I lost it. So this will be the shorter version. Some of their books probably don’t quite count as GLBT, but here are some authors writing speculative fiction who tend to write a lot containing GLBT characters:

    Elizabeth Bear
    Sarah Monette
    Storm Constantine
    Ginn Hale
    Danielle Bennett and Jaida Jones
    Tanya Huff

    And I still need to read Ellen Kushner, Lynn Flewelling, Maureen McHugh, and a couple of the authors listed here (Mark Charan Newton and Malinda Lo, for example)…

  • Tiah
    June 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I loved Hero so much. I hugged it when I was finished.

  • Doret
    June 28, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I loved My Most Excellent Year

    Some of my favorite LGBTQ lit –
    Down to the Bone, The Neccesary Hunger and M+O 4 Evr, Huntress, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, and Dramarama

    And Ana, I highly recommend moving With or Without You up your queue. It’s very good.

    I still need to read Hero.

  • Ali
    June 29, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I, too, loved Hero. I actually cried when I found out that Perry Moore had died. 🙁

  • Avalon
    June 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Wow, one lesbian book? I’d be angry but as someone who’s searched high and low, I’m angrier at the lack of authors actually publishing any in the first place. -.-

  • Allison
    June 30, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I cannot recommend the Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux highly enough. Seriously – I am begging you to look them up and read the summaries at least. There are three books so far, and the characters are incredible.

    They are billed as M/M erotica I think, but to me that is ridiculous. They are two FBI agents and their cases are always very engrossing and definitely hold the majority of the plot’s time.

    Anyway – I’m telling you, SO worth the time!

  • Steve Berman
    June 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I am blushing. Thank you (again!) for all the kind words about Vintage. I hope you enjoy my YA short story collection releasing next year.

  • Gerd D.
    July 9, 2011 at 5:09 am

    A late addition, but I only just read it despite some of the glowing reviews it got:
    “Annie on my mind” by Nancy Garden

    A highly recommendable novel about two girls falling in love.

  • Activism/Reviews: Pride Month! | Diana Hurlburt
    June 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

    […] out Library Journal‘s “Out on the Shelves” recommendations for graphic novels and The Book Smugglers’ list from last year of great LGBTIQ titles. Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailStumbleUponLike […]

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