five YA heart-soothing reads for Pride Month

book recs.(1)

Hello, friends!

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

IMG_3931No 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.

IMG_4113Queens 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.

IMG_4186Things 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

IMG_3536This 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

gay protagonist

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.

IMG_0975There 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!

 

26 comentários sobre “five YA heart-soothing reads for Pride Month

  1. Aditi 10 de junho de 2020 / 13:13

    AH THESE ALL SOUND AMAZING. I’m reading Heartstoper this month which I’m excited for!
    Do you happen to have any book recs that are queer and under 200 pages? XD highly specific question but it’s for a readathon!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 11 de junho de 2020 / 19:46

      thank you so muchhh, aditi!
      a boy worth knowing that i recommended in this post has less than 200 pages! i hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up.
      thank you for reading! 💛

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  2. Ash @ Starlight Strands 10 de junho de 2020 / 22:10

    thank you so much for all these recommendations, Lais! i agree that heartwarming and soothing books are so special in their own ways and definitely what we need right now. so many people have talked about Heartstopper that i need to read it as soon as i can!! and i had no idea that characters from Radio Silence made appearances, it’s the only Alice Oseman book i’ve read but i love it so much. 😊

    i’ve never heard of Queens Of Geek or A Boy Worth Knowing, but they both sound amazing as well!! amazing post ❤

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 18 de junho de 2020 / 11:33

      Same here! I was surprised to see some of the characters from Radio Silence popping up in Heartstopper, and it made me love it even more. I hope you do enjoy it when you pick it up! Thank you so much for reading! 😊

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  3. Margaret @ Weird Zeal 11 de junho de 2020 / 14:46

    Oooh the idea of heart-soothing queer books sounds perfect! I absolutely 100% agree with you about Heartstopper – every time I read it, I can’t help but feel better <3
    I’d never even heard of A Boy Worth Knowing!! It sounds so lovely and I’m definitely going to be checking it out!
    Ahhh both Queens of Geek and Darius the Great are on my TBR and I have the feeling I’ll love them both :D Thank you so much for this list!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 18 de junho de 2020 / 11:31

      I love this idea too, especially because this past few weeks I read so many hard-hitting queer reads, I’ll definitely look into more heart-warming ones to compensate, hahah.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the list! Thanks for reading, Margaret! 🥰

      Curtir

  4. Jamie @BubblyBooks 11 de junho de 2020 / 19:15

    Congrats on 200 followers yay!! and Heartstopper looks adorable I keep seeing it everywhere lol. This is a great list!

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  5. utopianpages 12 de junho de 2020 / 06:30

    Thank you for collating this list!!!! I needed more queer recs especially the lighter ones🥺💓 Congrats on your 200-mark!!!🎉

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  6. Ruby Rae Reads 12 de junho de 2020 / 08:33

    Lais this is such a lovely list!! And yay for 200 followers, congrats *throws glitter*

    Ugh we love Heartstopper. I MUST get my hands on Volume three ahh. I do love the first 2 volumes but idk there’s something holding me back from giving a full 5 stars but I have an ~ inkling ~ this new one could be my fave

    Also, literally just started Darius last night, so I’m like 10 pages in, and I am READY for this to be a new fave. Fingers crossed.

    Also A BOY WORTH KNOWING SOUNDS PHENOMENAL OMG I MUST READ!!!! Movies and chaotic gays ahhhh

    And I must try and get my hands on Queens of Geek and Let’s Talk About Love, they sound so lovely <3 I didn't know LTAL was set at college, very cool!!

    psstt where is your instagram account, your photos are so lovely?!?!? i want to follow

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 18 de junho de 2020 / 11:29

      tysmm!!!!
      i actually don’t have an instagram account; i was never super confident with my photography skills but thank you so much! it means a lot you like the photos!
      i really think darius the great has the potential to become a new favorite for you. i’m looking forward to hear your thoughts!
      thank you sooooo much for reading! 💞

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  7. Jessica C Writes 12 de junho de 2020 / 12:05

    I have been meaning to get to Heartstopper for so long now!! I know that it will be one of my favorite books! Great list :)

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 18 de junho de 2020 / 11:28

      I really think you’ll love it – it’s super cute and the characters are amazing! I hope you get to pick it up soon.
      Thanks for reading! ❣️

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  8. Marie 16 de junho de 2020 / 10:27

    Ahh congratulations on 200 followers, this is amazing <3
    I love your list so, so much, so many books I loved here. Heartstopper makes my heart happy, Queens of Geek was such a heartwarming read and ahhh Darius made me cry, he is certainly one of my favorite protagonists, ever. <3

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 18 de junho de 2020 / 11:25

      Thank youuuu!
      I’m happy you enjoyed the list! I really want to read more heart-warming reads and expand it.
      Thanks for reading, Marie! ❣️

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  9. Marta @ the book mermaid 2 de julho de 2020 / 10:47

    I keep saying I’m gonna read Heartstopper but then I postpone buying it and I’m such a mess xD And I can’t believe you have Queens of Geek in the brazilian version! Here the publishers take FOREVER to translate and publish books – if they ever do – which is yet another reason why I almost always buy in english (that and the fact that most translations are awful, sadly). Great list!! :D

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 4 de julho de 2020 / 12:35

      wow, really? i am very lucky that a lot of publishers in brazil do translate it very quickly, but unfortunately the most popular books around here are YA fantasy, so hardly ever i get to see YA contemporaries being translated, so i understand the struggle, hahah.
      thank you so much for reading, marta! 😌

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