LGBTQIA+ voices have long struggled against society's attempts to silence them. Despite the obstacles, these writers, stories, and characters have found their way through it all and into our hearts.
Here are our favorite LGBTQIA+ books and writers that embrace PRIDE in their characters and stories.
The Secret History Of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
Wonder Woman is one of the most famous heroes of all time, but the story behind her creation is far less known. Wonder woman creator William Moulton Marston, a forward-thinking yet deeply flawed professor of psychology (and unofficial inventor of the lie detector), and his polyamorous relationship with his brilliant bisexual wife Elizabeth, and Olive Byrne, the niece of women’s rights pioneer Margaret Sanger, are highlighted in this tenaciously researched work.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman is at once a celebration of the quintessential female superhero, a probing feminist document and an examination of unconventional family structures at a time when such things were beyond frowned upon.
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
This tense and gorgeously written Young Adult thriller follows Nora, a teenaged former con artist, as she uses her well-honed skills to save her ex-boyfriend and current girlfriend from a dangerous hostage situation.
Jumping between past and present, we are introduced to every identity Nora was forced to take on while under the care of her glaringly selfish mother and string of abusive father figures. But in spite of the sometimes painful themes, the tenderness and innocence of the sapphic romance at the center of all of the turmoil is sure to make hearts flutter.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This story features one of the most beautiful sapphic relationships I've ever read and holds a special place in my heart. In the midst of ancient demons rising once more and political intrigues, a relationship blossoms between Sabran, the Queen, and Ead, her lady in waiting. Both are well-developed and deeply layered and yet their love and protectiveness of each other gets them through the hardest of obstacles.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
I absolutely adored the main character Eliot, a young bisexual teen who is navigating his sexuality and his role in this fantastical world. Although a bit unlikeable and obnoxious at first, Eliot truly grows on you as a character and you begin to understand his behaviors as we see him grow up in these adventures. He's simply a kid at heart who wants to be loved whether platonically or romantically, and becomes more admirable as he develops into a better person.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Charles Stross summed this book up best: "Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" This book has a fun, snarky protagonist, mystery, magic, a creepy aesthetic, and maybe even enemies-to-lovers? You'll have to read it to find out!
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
Anders' thrilling YA novel stars Tina, a young woman who also happens to be the clone of an intergalactic war hero. When Tina's destiny comes calling, she must leave her home and embark on an adventure into space, where earthly understandings of gender, love, and war are vastly more expansive.
A Study of Hands by Edwin Bodney
Bodney’s work is poignant and vulnerable. The way they paint pictures about hands, fathers, and past lovers with precise language, inviting the reader to be a participant in each poem.
One of my favorite aspects of Bodney as an poet is how they exquisitely capture the multitude of truths that can exist at the same time in the same space, as well as what it means to be queer and looking to be loved. Despite all of the heartbreak in this book you are still left feeling the quiet triumph of survival.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
This tale is an enchanting retelling of a classic fairy tale that not only includes lesbian romance but also blurs the lines between human and monster, hero and villain. What I love about this book is that all of the characters are well developed, allowing each of them agency and also showing them as flawed.
The use of fantasy mixed with real-world problems and solutions makes this story even more special because the reader can identify with many of the issues while
the magic of this fiction keeps it grounded in its beautifully built world. The queer relationship within it is very sweet and Bashardoust does it justice.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Marlon James has recently come out publicly in the last few years and he is my favorite author who is alive today. With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, he delivers an epic fantasy that honors the African diaspora. The first entry to The Dark Star Trilogy features Tracker as the protagonist; a mouthy mercenary and skilled hunter.
Tracker is hired to find a boy who went missing three years before he is contracted with a motley crew of characters to find him (including one of my favorite fictional characters of all time: the Moon Witch!!!!). This book delivers a gay lead who experiences romance and heartbreak, but is also a bad-ass and flawed. Black Leopard, Red Wolf demands the reader's attention to embark on this wild journey or be left behind; blending fantasy, myth, and history in a beautiful, cinematic & violent symbiosis.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This beautiful book hits home for so many queer people who struggle to live authentically and desire to grow relationships with parents who won't accept you for being LGBTQ+. Written in the form of a letter from a son to his illiterate mother, Vuong makes use of his background as a poet to perfectly articulate this intimate conflict from the lens of a second-generation Vietnamese-American gay man in his late-twenties reflecting on his family history. Get it now! Tissues not included, but certainly suggested.