June is Pride Month and I’m sure y’all feeds are already flooded with recommendations for queer books. So I decided to be annoying and repetitive and share five other books I love that are very soothing and heart-warming. I know a lot of books dealing with sexuality can be very hard-hitting and triggering for some people, so I decided to share a much lighter list, but that hopefully can still be appreciated.
Let’s get onto those books then!
(Also, unrelated, but I achieved 200 followers yesterday and I’m SO THANKFULLLLL. You guys are the best, seriously!)
Just as a heads-up, I will be using “queer” as a reproclaimed word to define those who fall outside of cisgender or heterosexual identities.
HEARTSTOPPER, BY ALICE OSEMAN
gay main character and bisexual main character
No one is surprised. Literally, no one.
This comic series is incredibly popular in the bookish community, but I wanted to give it a shoutout anyway, because I have only recently read it and truly understood the hype.
Here, we follow two main characters, Nick and Charlie, and their friendship that slowly becomes something more. They’re quite different – Charlie is an overthinker with not many friends, while Nick is the popular rugby player. And yet they find enough things in common to build a heart-warming friendship.
I really like the layout of this comic, which the author mentioned to be very intentional. It’s not exactly linear and it doesn’t follow all the moments from these character’s lives. It’s just a compilation of episodes and meaningful scenes and it still feels very realistic. It didn’t stop me at all from connecting with the characters, even if we’re only seeing slices of their every day lives.
While this series is adorable, fluffy and perhaps even a bit too predictable and cliché – which I don’t think it’s a bad thing, because straight people have been able to see themselves in all these tropes over the years, while queer people haven’t -, it still discusses serious topics, such as bullying and mental health, so it still has some meaningful discussions as well.
It also contains lovely cameos from other works by Alice Oseman. I have not read Solitaire yet, but I loved seeing known characters from Radio Silence in this first volume!
QUEENS OF GEEK, BY JEN WILDE
bisexual protagonist and lesbian side-character
Name a more adorable book. Honestly.
Queens of Geek is the type of book that will make you swoon and kick your feet in happiness and giggles. It may not be the most outstanding writing or have the most unique plot lines, but it’s still lovely nonetheless.
Here, we’re following Charlie (a different one this time, though, lol) and Taylor, best friends who are attending the convention SupaCon for the first time. Each character is going through their own thing and yet, I found both perspectives to be equally interesting, which can be quite hard to achieve.
Charlie is bisexual (and Chinese!) and is trying to get over her famous and obnoxious ex, who’s also at the convention. She ends up meeting other YouTuber, Alyssa Huntington, who may just be very helpful with that. *winks*. Okay, but in all seriousness, I really like how these two characters are their own person. It’s all about two confident, badass young women falling in love, and I was very much there for it.
Taylor is also adorable. She has sort-of-secret-but-not-really crush on her best friend and is also navigating anxiety and Aspergers at a crowded event like a convention. It also makes me happy to say that she’s a fellow fat girl, and yet, that is never shown as an insecurity, which is the level of confidence I hope to achieve one day.
Again, this book is not the most pristine work of fiction you’ll ever find, but if you really want a heart-warming read that is going to make you smile a lot, I don’t think Queens of Geek can disappoint.
A BOY WORTH KNOWING, BY JENNIFER COSGROVE
gay main character and bisexual main character
I literally have no idea how I stumbled upon this book, but I am kind of really glad that I did.
In this one, our main character Nate can see ghosts. Yes, very Sixth Sense of him. He’s also developing a major crush on the new guy at school, James, but the fact he can see the ghost of James’ dead brother can become an issue.
Even though this book has fantastical elements, I would not say it is the biggest part of the story. If anything, I wish it could’ve been further developed, so I think it can be a good choice if you’re not a fan of paranormal elements.
Things to note about this book that make it the adorable, fluffy read it is:
- The family dynamic is A+. Nate lives with his aunt, and she’s all about supporting his relationship with James but also being protective of Nate.
- Nate is lowkey chaotic gay and he barely knows how to process James’ existence, moreover James’ interest in being his friend.
- They watch movies ALL AFTERNOON. Which like, same.
- There are a lot of talks in consent and boundaries which we love to see in YA.
This book is very short, and it’s honestly a bit too good to be true – like cute guy walks into school and also *magically* happens not only to be bisexual, but also in love with you? -, but it was such a heart-warming ride, I had to recommend.
LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE, BY CLAIRE KANN
asexual bi-romantic protagonist
This book is such a gift.
Alice is a fantastic main character and I related to a lot of the struggles she was facing: not only in embracing her asexuality completely, but also in figuring out her future. Even though she is already a sophomore in college, Alice has not declared her major yet, and feels very conflicted about her actual interests (cute things and wandering around Pinterest) and what her parents expect of her – law school.
Despite the romance being biggest layer of this novel – and Takumi was an adorable love interest, who was flirty, humourous *and* good with kids -, I also have to highlight the friendships. Alice’s friend group was equally important to her and I liked how the book discussed the tensions that can arise in friendships once one person starts dating.
Obviously, I can’t say much about whether or not the representation was impecable, as I do not identify as biromantic, but I did like the different discussions on asexuality that happen throughout the book – like the one Alice has with her therapist, and then the one she has with Takumi by the end of the book.
DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, BY ADIB KHORRAM
I recently watched Adriana’s video on 5 Reasons to Read Darius the Great and it just struck me how amazingly soft this book is. (By the way, watch their video for more in depth reasons as to why this book is amazing and deserving of all the hype).
Even though it tackles serious topics, such as depression, identity, terminal ilness, body image and bullying, the author worked some type of magic where this still comes across like a beautiful and hopeful story. It truly shows that life can be great in its difficultness.
There are a lot of elements to love in this story. Darius working through his identity – learning more about Persian culture that he felt disconnected for years, while also feeling like he doesn’t fit as white, especially because that would make him and his dad a team and they do not work together at all – is powerful and makes this relatable in very different ways.
But since this is a post about queer books, I also have to discuss the role of sexuality here. It is not an overwhelming one and is not the main point of the book, but it’s still important because it is a part of Darius’ identity he also doesn’t have figured out. It also involves a platonic but adorable relationship with Sohrab, which is by far the softest love interest of all times.
I’m sorry – again – this post is so long. It’s hard for me to shut up whenever talking about books I love. If you have any more recommendations of cute & soft queer reads, please leave them in the comments!