97 books like Dear Senthuran

By Akwaeke Emezi,

Here are 97 books that Dear Senthuran fans have personally recommended if you like Dear Senthuran. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

Jennifer Savran Kelly Author Of Endpapers

From my list on queer people on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s resilience—how we hold onto life and find meaning in it when everything seems to be falling apart. As a queer and genderqueer author, I especially love to see stories about queer characters in all of their human messiness, characters who aren’t forced to be models of perfection in order to earn readers’ empathy, stories that show us queer people don’t deserve dignity because we’re perfect; we deserve it because we’re human. These five novels have affected me deeply because they don’t shy away from the complexities of grief, love, parenting, trauma, sex, social justice, gender identity, and more. 

Jennifer's book list on queer people on the edge

Jennifer Savran Kelly Why did Jennifer love this book?

Lawlor’s novel gave me the best gift a book can offer: it changed my mind halfway through.

I had been so intrigued by the premise of a shapeshifting character who can change their gender at will, that I forced myself to read on even though I wasn’t enjoying the emphasis on sex, especially as conquest, and I was sorely disappointed the story didn’t seem to go deeper.

But as I continued, I was happy to be proven wrong. By the end of the novel, I was checking my own biases and prejudices and empathizing deeply with Paul and his/her/their struggles. Reading this novel was an emotional experience unlike any I’ve had with a book.

By Andrea Lawlor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is quite simply one of the most exciting - and one of the most fun - novels of the decade.' Garth Greenwell

It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a lesbian best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women's Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in…


Book cover of Edinburgh

Alina Grabowski Author Of Women and Children First

From my list on exploring how place shapes community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Austin, Texas. Though I haven’t lived in Massachusetts for over a decade now, I find myself drawn back to the state’s coast in my fiction. My novel, Women and Children First, takes place in a fictional town south of Boston called Nashquitten. I’m obsessed with how where we’re from shapes who we become and the ways we use narrative to try and exert control over our lives. 

Alina's book list on exploring how place shapes community

Alina Grabowski Why did Alina love this book?

This is a book about many things—guilt, artmaking, and love among them—but when I think of it, I think of a novel that depicts the complexities of making and sustaining a life more deftly than anything else I’ve read. How things like cruelty and beauty, innocence and evil, truth and lies all coexist. How we move forward despite this uneasy balance.

The novel follows Fee, a boy who grows up in Maine and sings in an all-boys choir. The choir director turns out to be an abuser, and his actions haunt Fee and the other boys in the choir into adulthood.

On a prose level alone, Chee’s writing is unparalleled, his sentences sharp enough to cut glass. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and come away unchanged. 

By Alexander Chee,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Edinburgh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant work of mature, haunting artistry, Edinburgh heralds the arrival of a remarkable young writer. Fee, a Korean-American child growing up in Maine, is gifted with a beautiful soprano voice and sings in a professional boys' choir. When the choir director acts out his paedophilic urges on the boys in the choir, Fee is unable to save himself, his first love, Peter, or his friends.


Book cover of Crush

Jen Silverman Author Of We Play Ourselves

From my list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a playwright and novelist born in the US and raised in a grab-bag of other countries. I grew up moving between cities and languages, and now, as an adult, I move between different modes of artistic practice. My first book, The Island Dwellers, is an interlinked story collection set partially in the US and partially in Japan and my second book begins with someone fleeing NY for LA; perhaps one of the impulses I understand most is to abandon ship and start over. I’m compelled by stories in which people seek to transform themselves or to refashion their lives. I think it takes a great daring (and a great desperation) to do either. 

Jen's book list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life

Jen Silverman Why did Jen love this book?

When I was 21, I moved back to Japan (where I’d lived as a kid), taking a job in the rural south. I didn’t bring a lot with me, but of the few English books that felt indispensable, Crush was one. For the next twelve months of that particular job, I read Crush again and again. Through poetry – the poems are written in a distinct and unified voice – the book took on the quality of a series of monologues, a one-sided conversation that I was overhearing. It was a conversation about queerness, about attempting to forge and re-forge the self, about tenderness, about violence. I was a young queer person far from home, living in a country where I was simultaneously much physically safer and yet much more visible than I had been in my country of birth. Crush offered me both a window into what I had…

By Richard Siken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crush as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets competition: a powerful, confessional, erotic collection

Finalist for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

"Siken writes about love, desire, violence, and eroticism with a cinematic brilliance and urgency that makes this one of the best books of contemporary poetry."-Victoria Chang, Huffington Post

Richard Siken's Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism.…


Book cover of Art Is Everything

Jen Silverman Author Of We Play Ourselves

From my list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a playwright and novelist born in the US and raised in a grab-bag of other countries. I grew up moving between cities and languages, and now, as an adult, I move between different modes of artistic practice. My first book, The Island Dwellers, is an interlinked story collection set partially in the US and partially in Japan and my second book begins with someone fleeing NY for LA; perhaps one of the impulses I understand most is to abandon ship and start over. I’m compelled by stories in which people seek to transform themselves or to refashion their lives. I think it takes a great daring (and a great desperation) to do either. 

Jen's book list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life

Jen Silverman Why did Jen love this book?

Art Is Everything is a book about obsession, about love, about artistry, about the limits of aesthetics within an industry in which the marketplace is an unspoken but all-powerful factor. When I began reading it, I was amazed and exhilarated by how clearly it is in conversation with the preoccupations of my own novel, although from a different standpoint. Also: this book is hilarious. The humor is sharp, wry, sometimes skewering, but never inhumane. I laughed so hard reading it – and this was in 2020, so I wasn’t doing much laughing otherwise. I would walk up and down the floors of my apartment and read entire sections out loud to my partner. I do believe in the bold declaration of its title, and by the time I finished reading, I felt sure the author did too. 

By Yxta Maya Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art Is Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her funny, idiosyncratic, and propulsive new novel, Art Is Everything, Yxta Maya Murray offers us a portrait of a Chicana artist as a woman on the margins. L.A. native Amanda Ruiz is a successful performance artist who is madly in love with her girlfriend, a wealthy and pragmatic actuary named Xochitl. Everything seems under control: Amanda's grumpy father is living peacefully in Koreatown; Amanda is about to enjoy a residency at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, once she gets her NEA, she's going to film a groundbreaking auto-critical documentary in Mexico.

But then everything starts to fall…


Book cover of Things Fall Apart

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Author Of The Far Side of the Desert

From my list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career as a journalist, including working as a reporter on an international newspaper. I left full-time journalism to write fiction where I can combine an interest in international affairs with stories of characters and issues of the heart which drive individuals and often shape events. Over the years I’ve worked and traveled with international organizations, serving as Vice President of PEN International, and on the boards and in other roles focusing on human rights, education, and refugees. I’ve been able to travel widely and witness events up close, walking along the edge of worlds and discovering the bonds that keep us from falling off.

Joanne's book list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Why did Joanne love this book?

This was one of the first novels I read in the late sixties as I began reading African writers and studying the novel form and possibilities. Chinua Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, a warrior in the late 1800s as he tries to resist the British political and religious powers encroaching on his home. Okonkwo is in conflict with his community as they allow the intrusion and succumb to the British.

Through his proverbs, rhythmic prose, and poignant storytelling, Chinua Achebe brings to life this story without polemics and the drier narrative of history books but instead through the passion of a man and his world. As I studied how novels could affect this empathetic magic, I looked to books like Things Fall Apart.

By Chinua Achebe,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Things Fall Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of International Man Booker Prize 2007.


Book cover of Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture

Romina Istratii Author Of Adapting Gender and Development to Local Religious Contexts: A Decolonial Approach to Domestic Violence in Ethiopia

From my list on gender, religion, and domestic violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Moldovan emigrant growing up in Greece, I believed that Western institutions were centers of excellent knowledge. After studying in the USA and the UK and conducting research with Muslim and Christian communities in Africa, I became aware of colonial, ethnocentric, and universalizing tendencies in gender, religion, and domestic violence studies and their application in non-western contexts. International development had historically followed a secular paradigm congruent with Western societies’ perception of religion and its role in society. My work has since sought to bridge religious beliefs with gender analysis in international development work so that the design of gender-sensitive interventions might respond better to domestic violence in traditional religious societies.

Romina's book list on gender, religion, and domestic violence

Romina Istratii Why did Romina love this book?

I read Nzegwu’s book after completing my PhD and it left a lingering impression on me.

Her work effectively challenged conceptualizations of gender that assumed an inherently hierarchical relationship between female and male. It also drew attention to the role of colonial laws and judicial edicts in promoting gender inequality in Nigeria’s Igbo society.

Nzegwu's discussion of the Onitsa dual-sex system that had historically embraced sexual difference but still granted women and men respective powers and responsibilities in society told a different story about gender relations in African societies prior to Western colonialism.

Nzegwu’s work echoes Oyěwùmí’s, and together they offer a window into alternative gender realities we can learn from. 

By Nkiru Uwechia Nzegwu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Family Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charts new trends in gender studies through a compelling analysis of Igbo society.


Book cover of Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

George Jreije Author Of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria

From my list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an avid reader and writer of children’s literature, though I find it difficult to read anything that isn’t diverse these days. Being able to experience the world from the perspectives of other cultures is a true delight, and I learn something every time. After having read dozens of these diverse books, especially diverse fantasies, I find that nothing inspires my creative soul more. That’s why I’m able to speak on this topic for large conferences and schools, spreading this inspiration to others. And, as a published author of diverse children’s literature, I’ve done the same in my writing with praise from Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and many others.

George's book list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy

George Jreije Why did George love this book?

Cameron Battle has to be one of the most tenderhearted characters I’ve ever read.

He’s a sweetheart, and just the right hero for this African-inspired fantasy as Cameron portals with his friends into the world of Chidani. There are dangers at every turn, but Cameron handles them all by trusting in his friends, his compassion, and his desire to learn what happened to his parents.

Along the way, I was inspired by Cameron learning more about his family ancestry as well as his own identity.

By Jamar J. Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Percy Jackson meets Black Panther - this blockbuster middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers. Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron's only connection to his parents, who disappeared one fateful night two years ago. Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends, Zion and Aliyah, decide to open it again,…


Book cover of We Sang You Home

Nhung N. Tran-Davies Author Of Ten Cents a Pound

From my list on to spark conversations between generations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, physician, mother of three, and an advocate for social justice in education. I came to Canada as a refugee from the Vietnam war when I was a young child. I love to write children's stories that convey the humanity in our lives. My books have been shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award, Red Maple Award, and Blue Spruce Award.

Nhung's book list on to spark conversations between generations

Nhung N. Tran-Davies Why did Nhung love this book?

There is no greater joy than when a new baby comes into our world. We Sang You Home is a simple yet profound little book that depicts the poignant connection between a child and their parents, even before the child is born. The story also beautifully illustrates how love helps us grow and makes us all better. This is an important book that will spark sweet, gentle dialogue between parents and their child, to reinforce that every child is precious, wanted, welcomed, and loved.

By Richard Van Camp, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Sang You Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A celebration of the bond between parent and child, this is the perfect song to share with your little ones.

In this sweet and lyrical picture book from the creators of the bestselling Little You, gentle rhythmic text captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome baby into the world.

Internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp teams up with award-winning illustrator Julie Flett for a second time to create a stunning book for young readers.


Book cover of Breaking Character

Jae Author Of Just a Touch Away

From my list on women who love women and romance novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a full-time writer, part-time editor, and avid reader of romances between queer women. I’ve just published my twenty-third novel, and I’m still amazed and humbled at getting to live my dream: writing sapphic romances for a living. Discovering sapphic books was a life-saver for me since I grew up in a tiny little village, with no openly LGBT+ people around, and I love knowing that my books are now doing the same for my readers. 

Jae's book list on women who love women and romance novels

Jae Why did Jae love this book?

Breaking Character is a lesbian celebrity romance, but it’s also so much more than that. The main character, icy British actress Elizabeth, is in the closet for fear of risking her career. When she meets her younger colleague Summer, she starts letting someone close for the first time—and the result is a romance that is sizzling and sweet at the same time. 

If you like age-gap romances with a fake relationship and well-written characters, this is a great introduction to Lee Winter’s books.

By Lee Winter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breaking Character as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life has become a farcical mess for icy British A-lister Elizabeth Thornton. America’s most-hated villain stars in a top-rated TV medical drama that she hates. Now, she’s been romantically linked to her perky, new co-star, Summer, due to the young woman’s clumsiness. As a closeted actress, that’s the last thing Elizabeth needs. If she could just get her dream movie role, life would be so much better. The only problem is that the eccentric French film-maker offering it insists on meeting her “girlfriend”, Summer, first.Summer Hayes is devastated when her co-star shuns her for accidentally sparking rumors they’re lovers. Now…


Book cover of Broken Pretty Things

Diana Nixon Author Of All My Nevers

From my list on teen depression and adulting.

Why am I passionate about this?

First of all, I’m an incurable addict to dark romance novels. Why stories for teens specifically? Well, I’m a mom of two girls and I never stop thinking about their future, including their high school years that are always filled with worries, problems, and self-judging issues. Teens are always vulnerable and it’s important to teach them how to overcome their problems and show them why it’s important to rely on their families and be there for their friends when they need them. As well as to help them realize that material things are not the only values in life to hold on to. 

Diana's book list on teen depression and adulting

Diana Nixon Why did Diana love this book?

The book reveals all the shades of hate and love, all wrapped in one package. Devious and manipulative, people start to neglect your personality and dig out your weakest sides. Not just objects can be broken, but people as well. As this book shows just how easily it happens, especially at a tender age when everything seems on edge and it’s hard to see the colors between black and white. 

By Amber Faye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Broken Pretty Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Even in hate, you rule me. Body and soul.”In Torrent Bay, whenever it rains, it pours.

We were Torrent Bay Academy royalty.

But the king is dead, and now every pretty thing we had is broken.

Gunnar Rayne. Heir to the biggest financial empire in the state. Smart, handsome, charismatic. And my best friend.

Or he was.

My most powerful ally has become my most devastating enemy.

Devious, manipulative, cunning — it figures that the only thing in this world he can’t stand is a liar as good as him.

Without our friendship, nothing is off limits anymore…

Nothing.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in non-binary gender topics and characters, the United Kingdom, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about non-binary gender topics and characters, the United Kingdom, and presidential biography.

Non-Binary Gender Topics And Characters Explore 35 books about non-binary gender topics and characters
The United Kingdom Explore 564 books about the United Kingdom
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography