The best queer books

17 authors have picked their favorite books about queer topics and characters and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Freshwater

Freshwater

By Akwaeke Emezi,

Why this book?

Freshwater is difficult to describe, and is best approached with an open mind and no expectation. Emezi has described the novel as an autobiography of their discovery of themselves as ogbanje, a spirit within Igbo mythology. What strikes me about Freshwater is its radically new approach to understanding and talking about mental health and transness, or rather, the presence of different selves within the body. It is a subtly decolonial story, and the experience of reading it can profoundly change the way we perceive ourselves and others.

From the list:

The best novels that capture modern global queer experiences

Book cover of The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series)

The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series)

By Lily Morton,

Why this book?

Do not read after dark! At least, don’t do so if you’re a scaredy-cat like me when it comes to ghost stories. That said, I found this story lovely and fun and steamy—when it wasn’t scaring the daylights out of me, that is. The premise is fabulous: a man moves to York, England, because he has inherited an old house there, which turns out to be super haunted. So who does he turn to for help? One of the many ghost-tour guides who roam the city telling their tales, of course. Turns out this particular guide—aside from being a highly…

From the list:

The best fantasy and paranormal books with great queer representation

Book cover of The Sound of Stars

The Sound of Stars

By Alechia Dow,

Why this book?

This review perfectly summed up this book but neglected to mention it has a spectacular cover, which I’ll admit was the first thing that drew my eye. The story also features a bi-racial main character, and since my children are multi-racial, I love seeing this representation. Because I’m an unapologetic book nerd, I adored the many literary references. And I always love a good road trip! All in all, this is one character-driven YA novel you won’t want to miss.

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Book cover of A Suitable Consort (For the King and His Husband)

A Suitable Consort (For the King and His Husband)

By R. Cooper,

Why this book?

This book is a beautiful execution of slow burn, watching a character grow and come into his own and realize that he loves and is loved. The world-building is fantastic, and the story keeps you reading until you realize it's four in the morning and you've got a long day ahead of you. I loved the main character, his love interests, the history, and recent war that provide the setting and drive for much of what happens. It's a beautiful love story, a wonderful fantasy, a fantastic combination of both genres.

From the list:

The best queer SFF to get you through winter

Book cover of Four

Four

By Archer Kay Leah,

Why this book?

This is one of the best books of redemption I've ever read, about a man who did some truly horrible, some would say unforgivable things, and has been working hard the past several years to make amends for his wrongs, a journey he continues even as he meets the man who just might be the love of his life. All this in a beautifully built fantasy world, and while it is book two in the series it stands on its own just fine. When it comes to tales of redemption and forgiveness, though, of facing a sordid past and working…

From the list:

The best queer SFF to get you through winter

Book cover of A Midwinter Prince

A Midwinter Prince

By Harper Fox,

Why this book?

This is the story of two young men, one rich, one homeless but it’s not a simple rescue me type story. Laurie and Sasha reach out desperately to one another from their different worlds, and against all odds begin an affair, hidden in the attics of Laurie’s sumptuous home and on the bleak moorland of a Romani encampment. For Laurie, it’s a delicious sexual awakening, and Sasha returns his affections, opening up to him a whole new world of freedom. But Sasha has secrets, and a murky, violent past. 

I’ve reread this book countless times. Harper Fox’s writing is breathtaking…

From the list:

The best queer comfort reads for stressful times

Book cover of Foxen Bloom

Foxen Bloom

By Parker Foye,

Why this book?

Fenton, god of the forest, and Prior, a human hunter, strike up an alliance—Fenton will save Prior’s sister, if Prior will kill the god’s brother. They do not expect to fall in love. The first chapter is told from the perspective of a forest god, which makes it a little more distant than the rest of the story, but then we get Fenton in his human form and it is very difficult not to fall in love with him. 

This story is so unusual and engaging, it sweeps you off to a magical land far away from real life. I…

From the list:

The best queer comfort reads for stressful times

Book cover of Adam

Adam

By Anthony McDonald,

Why this book?

A beautifully written coming-of-age tale. And another book I have read many times. The descriptions are so sensuous and evocative of a hot summer in the French countryside that it’s easy to lose yourself in them. This story isn’t a straightforward romance and reading about deeply flawed but very human characters are ultimately what gives me comfort with this one.

From the list:

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Book cover of Don't You Know I Love You

Don't You Know I Love You

By Laura Bogart,

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…

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The best fiction books about queer millennials

Book cover of Learned Reactions

Learned Reactions

By Jayce Ellis,

Why this book?

I've always loved a steamy MM romance, so the bogus boyfriend premise was an easy sell for me. However, as a foster mom turned adoptive mother, I'll forever have a special place in my heart for BIPOC navigating child protective services. Whether the narrative focused on Carlton's traumatized niece and the therapy she so desperately needed or the number of hoops that the LGBTQ+ community jumps through to even be considered for adoption, this story hit home on multiple fronts.

It was inspiring to watch Carlton and Deion navigate the many facets of queer culture, including their newfound fatherhood. Mainly…

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The best collection of queer themed books

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