Another Pride month has come and gone even though it looked different this year. Pride celebrations around the United States were cancelled due to the global pandemic. As a result, digital celebrations gained popularity. One of my favorite alternatives to Pride was the programming by Lambda Literary, an organization that dedicates itself to supporting queer literature and authors. Lambda Literary hosted multiple queer authors in digital conversations throughout the month of June such as Samantha Irby, Glennon Doyle, and Nico Tortorella.
This made me think about how we can support queer authors outside of Pride month in June. The surge in reading of queer authors throughout Pride is incredible, but as intentional readers (which I hope we all are), we need to read queer authors year-round. To make this easier for you as a reader, I have put together a collection of my favorite books by queer authors with queer characters to read. I included 12 books so that you can read one a month!
12 Books Written by Queer Authors to Read Year-Round
(not just in June)
1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante is a beautiful story about two Latinx boys who have their own traumas that lead them together. The friendship that Aristotle and Dante develop is so special and together they discover the truths about themselves and the world they live in. A lovely coming of age book that is intended for young adults but will surprise anyone who reads it.
2. Little & Lion
By Brandy Colbert
Suzette is a high schooler who is returning home for the summer from her boarding school to see her friends and family. Suzette and her brother, Lionel, are close but being home brings a lot of feelings. Lionel was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and needs Suzette to provide emotional support and friendship. As Suzette spends more time home she develops new crushes which puts a strain on her relationship with her brother. Suzette and Lionel spend the summer discovering how to help each other and themselves.
3. Good Talk
By Mira Jacob
Good Talk is a graphic memoir written in conversations that the author, Mira Jacob, had with those around her. The book begins with Mira’s conversations with her curious son Z who is growing up in a world where his identities as a mixed race boy are extremely nuanced. Mira tackles issues that are all too timely in her graphic memoir. Although Good Talk is a fast read, it discusses racism, colorism in the Indian community, sexuality, and more.
4. All Boys Aren’t Blue
By George M. Johnson
George M. Johnson, a nonbinary author, writes this memoir manifesto intended for young adults as almost a letter to his younger self. The book is written in an essay format, which is unique for the young adult genre. In the essays, George recounts memories but also analyzes race, sexuality, and gender identity in a way that many readers will connect to. The essays range in topics so there is something for everyone.
5. These Witches Don’t Burn
By Isabel Sterling
If you are looking for a queer fantasy, then These Witches Don’t Burn is the one for you. This book tells the story of Hannah, a young witch who is coming into her powers alongside her ex-girlfriend Veronica. As the coven that these two belong to is threatened, Hannah and Veronica must team up to save their friends, family, and their town from dangerous magic.
6. Red, White & Royal Blue
By Casey McQuiston
In an alternate world where the United States has its first female president, Alex Claremont-Diaz cannot be more proud of his mom. As a member of the First Family, Alex helps greatly with his mother’s campaign but when Alex is caught in a fight with the Prince of Wales, the two must make amends. As Alex and Henry work to overcome their differences, they realize they may have more in common than they think, like their love for one another.
7. How We Fight For Our Lives
By Saeed Jones
If I had to ask you to read one book from this list it would be this one. Saeed Jones writes this memoir about his life growing up as a gay Black man in the South. Saeed recounts his life of realizing his queer identity while also noting how being Black impacted his identity even further. This memoir shares all parts of Saeed’s life with lyrical writing and impactful quotes to share how he found himself and built a place in this world.
8. Felix Ever After
By Kacen Callender
Felix Love ironically has never been in love. Felix is a young Black transgender teen who would like to find someone to spend his life with. This book tells a beautiful story with incredible friendships and relationships. Felix Ever After describes the importance of having people to rely on and who see you for who you really are.
By Carolina De Robertis
Cantoras tells the story of five different women who find each other and build a family. Set in 1977, these Uruguayan women are oppressed not only for their gender but for their sexuality. These women find each other as singers and stay together for the relationships they build. Cantoras is a novel that extends across decades to share how these women try to to live their most authentic lives while facing societal barriers.
By Awaeke Emezi
Looking for some Black trans joy? Pet is the right pick for you. Written by nonbinary author, Awaeke Emezi, Pet tells the story of a young trans girl named Jam who is living in a world after the monsters have been vanquished. These monsters existed in many forms in society and lived in the government but when Jam brings to life one of her mother’s paintings, Jam realizes that not all of the monsters are gone and it is their job to clear the world.
11. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
By Junauda Petrus
This book follows the story of two girls named Audre and Mabel who find each other in their most vulnerable points in their life. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them follows Audre and Mabel in their home of Trinidad to Minneapolis where Audre has been sent to live with her father. Audre and Mabel have a deep and beautiful friendship where they support one another through the toughest of times.
12. Juliet Takes a Breath
By Gabby Rivera
A coming of age story about an extremely queer teen named Juliet who came out to her family and was not greeted with a positive response. Moving from her home in the Bronx to Portland to intern for her favorite author, Juliet works to find herself and be the proud “Puerto Rican lesbian” she has always wanted to be. Gabby Rivera writes this intersectional feminist novel as a letter to her younger self and all of the baby queers out there.