LOVE: Must Read Books with Queer Representation

must read books with queer representation juicygreenmom

Pride month is a convenient time to round up some of my must read books with queer representation, but I would encourage you to read these books all year round! Representation is SO IMPORTANT, especially for young folks who are still developing their identities, so you’ll see I have quite a few YA picks listed here. Even though I am an adult with a teenager, I still ADORED the YA reads here, so give them a try.

(Note: For readers in the U.S., I’ve included links for Bookshop.org because they are a climate neutral certified company, Certified B corp, and they infuse funding into independently owned bookstores!)

MEMOIR/NONFICTION

Pageboy

by Elliot Page

I knew I would listen to Elliot Page narrate his memoir, and I knew I would cry. It was so raw and vulnerable, and heartbreaking to hear about how long he suffered with gender dysphoria. It was also beautiful to hear how far he has come in being able to embrace who he is and finally feel comfortable in his own skin. You cannot hear his story and continue to deny the existence of trans people. I applaud his willingness to share his story and pave the way for belonging for our trans youth.


Can Everyone Please Calm Down

by Mae Martin

Mae Martin is such an amazing human. After watching their Netflix special, SAP, I knew I had to read this book. It is an easy read, rated for 14 years and up. But it is sincere and funny, all while explaining concepts of gender and sexuality in very easy to understand terms.

It is the perfect primer for anyone and everyone!

get it at amazon.com


YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

by Malinda Lo

This YA queer romance/historical fiction novel is so much! It delves into the history of Chinese immigrants to America in the 1940s-1950s, and the gay community in 1950s San Francisco. It’s a beautiful exploration of a girl realizing who she is while struggling with the intersection of race and sexuality, familial piety, belonging, and the very real threat of deportation for Chinese immigrants. An exhilarating book!


The House in the Cerulean Sea

by TJ Klune

This YA fantasy fiction with LGBTQ representation was highly recommended and I see why – it was fabulous!! It was hilarious and emotional, and I loved the fascinating magical elements. Such a beautiful story of belonging and overcoming prejudice; I felt like it was a love story to every child out there – that no matter who you are, you belong. A beautiful book!


Elatsoe

by Darcie Little Badger

This is a middle grade/YA novel in an alternate America where magical realism exists, featuring an asexual Lipan Apache teen who can raise the ghosts of dead animals. It is a murder mystery with sharp humour, shocking plot twists, wholesome friendships, and loving family relationships. It is also a beautiful representation of a queer teen from a racialized group and explores the intersection of these identities in relation to colonization. Darcie Little Badger has such a unique writing style that is sweet and earnest but also peppered with biting hilarity. My daughter and I loved listening to the audiobook together and reading along with the hard copy to experience the illustrations. Truly an amazing read!


Fake Dates and Mooncakes

by Sher Lee

This YA rom-com has so much good stuff – Asian representation, LGBTQ representation, heartwarming story, complex family relationships, exploring cultural backgrounds… It is funny and sweet and wonderful – as delightful as a well made moon cake. The characters are real and loveable. It was exactly the book I needed after reading some heavier novels – it picked up my mood and made me smile again.


ADULT FICTION

The Story of Us

by Catherine Hernandez

This literary fiction novel is incredibly unique, told from the perspective of an unborn baby. The main characters are a Filipina care worker and an elderly transgender woman, who you’d never think would be in a book together. It explores the plight of so many Filipina women who are forced to leave their families to work elsewhere in order to send money home, the journey of someone who at first does not understand gender identity and ends up embracing it, the reality of elder abuse with aging parents, and the legacy of a trailblazer for trans rights. Incredible writing of an incredible story – this is a must read!


Girl, Woman, Other

by Bernardine Evaristo

This literary fiction novel about black women (many of whom are LGBTQ+) is a masterful exploration into intersectionality. The 12 main characters are all interconnected, all narrated with a distinct voice, and all have such depth and breadth in their histories and identities. They range in age, social class, sexual orientation, gender identity, family upbringing, intergenerational trauma – which all impact the trajectories of their lives. A truly incredible read!


What other recommendations do you have for must read books with queer representation?

(Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com & amazon.ca. I am also an affiliate with bookshop.org. This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products via these links, a small percentage of the sale will be given to me at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting juicygreenmom.ca!)

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