The best fiction books by trans/non-binary authors with trans/non-binary characters

The Books I Picked & Why

When the Moon Was Ours

By Anna-Marie McLemore

Book cover of When the Moon Was Ours

Why this book?

Honestly, I could’ve picked any book by McLemore. They are all absolutely stunning. McLemore’s prose is lush and poetic, rich in metaphor and nuance. Their stories have a timeless quality about them at once grounding them in reality and yet offering glimpses of the surreal and ephemeral. When the Moon Was Ours is an incredibly poignant love story between Sam, a Pakistani trans boy, and Latinx Miel who has literal roses growing out of her wrists. This story provided insight into both Pakistani and Latinx culture while weaving a breath-taking tale of love and identity.

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The Black Tides of Heaven

By Neon Yang

Book cover of The Black Tides of Heaven

Why this book?

This silkpunk novella series blew me away with its intricate world-building, heavily inspired by the author’s Singaporean background, and complex political landscape. I’m also a sucker for stories about twins and instantly adored the two very different siblings, Akeha and Mokoya, who are our main protagonists in this tale that examines themes of cultural and wealth inequality as well as gender identity. The Slack magic system in this series is also particularly well-crafted. 

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By Nino Cipri

Book cover of Finna

Why this book?

I hate Ikea stores. To me, they are hellish landscapes and this book—set in a fictional store modelled after Ikea—just gets me! This novella is a hilarious romp through the multiverse, balancing swashbuckling adventure with quiet yet razor-sharp insight into the ebb and flow of romantic relationships. This story shows that navigating love can be even more complicated than navigating interdimensional wormholes!

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The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

By Margaret Killjoy

Book cover of The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

Why this book?

This, and its sequel, is truly one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. It’s a punk rock road trip following Danielle Cain as she struggles to deal with the grief of losing her best friend while also going up against some truly bizarre characters and creatures in a utopian squatter town called Freedom. I loved the raw and unapologetic attitude of the main protagonist and the diversity of the supporting cast. This book is dark and brooding, fun and poignant in equal measure. It’s a paranormal riot and I loved every minute of it, and the follow up called The Barrow Will Send What It May.

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The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel

By Akwaeke Emezi

Book cover of The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel

Why this book?

I left this book for last because it is, perhaps, the heaviest and most gut-wrenching. In this book, Emezi crafts an exceptional paranormal story showing the true-life difficulties (that is the life-threatening and openly hostile discrimination) faced by LGBT+ people in Nigeria. A fact that’s sadly true in many other African countries too. This book has so many layers, every scene dripping with nuance and a clear tenderness for the subject matter. It would have been easy for this story to remain steeped in tragedy, but Emezi manages to elevate their characters and narrative above that, providing an ultimately heartwarming story that leaves the reader with a sense of wonder and hope while never dismissing the severity of the reality so many LGBT+ people face on the African continent.

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