The best fiction books about queer millennials

Who am I?

As a queer millennial myself, I’m fascinated by the many different approaches writers of my generation have taken to queerness. American millennials have, I think, a unique perspective—when we were kids, gay jokes were prevalent everywhere on TV. Now same sex marriage is legal. On the other hand, there has also been a hard swing of the pendulum, and LGBTQ rights are being curtailed once again. Celebrating the plurality of queer contemporary stories is important to me, a reminder that we’re always going to be here, and that just as queer artists always have, we’ll continue having an impact on the cultural landscape.  

I wrote...

All My Mother's Lovers

By Ilana Masad,

Book cover of All My Mother's Lovers

What is my book about?

Intimacy has always eluded millennial Maggie Krause—despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss—until, that is, Lucia came into her life. When Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and five sealed envelopes Iris left behind, each addressed to a mysterious man Maggie’s never heard of.

Running from her grief, Maggie embarks on a road trip to hand-deliver the letters and discover what these men meant to Iris. What follows shatters everything Maggie thought she knew about her parents’ marriage. But what is she supposed to tell her father and brother? And how can she deal with her own relationship when her whole world is in freefall?

The books I picked & why

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Blue-Skinned Gods

By SJ Sindu,

Book cover of Blue-Skinned Gods

Why this book?

There are so many things I love about this book, starting with the concept: Kalki, the novel’s narrator, was born with blue skin, and has been raised in an ashram as a child-god, the tenth reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. As the years go by and Kalki grows up, he begins to question his parents’ authority, the strictures that have been placed on him his whole life, and his own godhood. As a young adult, he finds himself in New York City, where he gets his first taste of real rebellion, with all the joys and sorrows that accompany it. Incredibly queer, fast-paced, and emotional, I read this book in big chunks, gulping it down. 

Starling Days

By Rowan Hisayo Buchanan,

Book cover of Starling Days

Why this book?

Buchanan has gifted the world with a novel that explores the depths of human feeling in all its strangeness, mystery, irrationality, and wonder, all with a deep compassion. Mina is mentally ill, and her recent potential suicide attempt worries her husband Oscar so much that the two decide to travel to England to give Mina time and space to heal, which she wants to try without medication. In England, Mina meets Phoebe, the sister of Oscar’s best friend, and an attraction develops between the two of them. Mina has always known she’s bisexual but has never acted on it; now, when Oscar travels for work, Mina finds herself more and more drawn to Phoebe. Exploring themes of mental illness, queer desire, and the power of mythological stories, Starling Days is an incredible triumph. 

Pizza Girl

By Jean Kyoung Frazier,

Book cover of Pizza Girl

Why this book?

Jean Kyoung Frazier has done something so remarkable with this novel - she's managed to write a book with no villains in it, but also no "good guys." The narrator of Pizza Girl is, you guessed it, an 18-year-old pizza delivery girl in Los Angeles. Her father has recently died, she’s pregnant, and her boyfriend is living with her and her mom. Both of them really excited about the baby—our narrator is not. When she encounters a stay-at-home mom named Jenny during one of her deliveries, our narrator finds herself with a powerful and confusing crush. Although brief (and hard to put down), this book feels enormous, vital, and vibrant. It is also beautifully concerned with the small mundane everyday details and with how truly gigantic they are if we let ourselves pay attention to them. I wished I had a person like Pizza Girl’s narrator in my life; she’s amazing.

Don't You Know I Love You

By Laura Bogart,

Book cover of Don't You Know I Love You

Why this book?

I really love books about artists, women who are able to get angry, queer flourishing, and difficult family dynamics, and this book is about all of this. Angelina has recently graduated college when a car accident causes her to lose work and need to move back in with her parents. She and her father have always had a difficult relationship and being under his roof now is harder than ever, especially as she knows he doesn’t appreciate her desire to have a career as an artist. When Angelina meets Janet, a young queer artist, the two begin a friendship that blossoms soon into something more, inspiring Angelina’s own work. The writing is so mesmerizing, and Bogart’s description of the artwork Angelina makes is beautiful. Also – there’s a dog in this book, a very good dog, and she lives. 

Real Life

By Brandon Taylor,

Book cover of Real Life

Why this book?

You probably don’t need me to tell you that Real Life has been widely awarded and beautifully reviewed! Wallace, a Black gay biochemistry grad student at a university in the Midwest, has been working hard on an experiment that is sabotaged by someone in his lab, a demoralizing occurrence in a long line of them. In addition to facing the racism rampant in academia, Wallace is also trying to figure out his relationship with Miller, a white guy who, despite his straightness, finds himself deeply attracted to Wallace. Over a fraught weekend, Wallace encounters both friends’ crises and his own, as memories flood him—and are yanked out of him. I love Tayor’s attention to language, the space he gives for characters’ silences, and his exquisite depiction of Wallace’s protective shell. Taylor also has a beautiful eye for descriptive detail; I will forever remember the image of crouching mugs.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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