Read with PRIDE: LGBTQ Reads for 2020

Pride Month may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean that we stop reading with PRIDE. We need LGBTQ reads now more than ever, at a time where we need to hear diverse stories and have the chance to step in other people’s shoes. So take up the chance and read across the rainbow (even if it’s past June 30) and discover the colorful and vibrant stories the following amazing authors have to tell!

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

I absolutely loved this one! It was more than a book a teen coming in terms with his sexuality. It is a book about coming to terms about yourself, how you see yourself as a person. Dean Atta created a beautiful story that conveyed so much emotion and passion that any reader can identify with. Even though it was written in verse, it was done perfectly. Because of this technique, I could feel Michael’s pain and jubilation when he is coming to terms with his soul. Because of that amazing character development, this makes this YA novel one of the best I have read so far and of course this year. And the poetry? So much beauty and emotion! Spot on!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?  (Credit: Scholastic Press)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. (Credit: HarperCollins)

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized. (Credit: Page Street Kids)

Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

Truly a remarkable and magical book that explores what happens when you want to escape your real world but need to face the fact that it is okay not to perfect all the time. We are all on a journey of self discovery and life experiences gives us a chance to learn more about themselves. An engaging book from beginning to end!

All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

This is one of those books that will stay with you always, even after months past from reading it. It touches on so many issues, including LGBTQ issues, that makes it just so timely. Everyone should read this book. Not only is it beautifully written but you learn something new and open your eyes to an issue that you did not think could be possible.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Not all LGBTQ novels have to be political. Some can be a two people who are in love trying to overcome the odds and The Binding is one of those great books. Such an inventive and creative novel! I was completely astonished at how creative and intricate this plot was. It takes such a beloved object and makes it so forbidden. Memories are such beautiful but fragile things and I love how this book interpreted it. I was so engrossed into the story from beginning to end. Such a great read!

Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Vol. 1-4 by Yuhki Kamatani

This is such a beautiful and touching series. It touches on acceptance and finding a way to love your true self. It is such a beautifully depicted manga series . I loved the magical realism that was incorporated into the story but at the same time, having themes and actions detailing characters’ true feelings. This manga is really reflective of how most feel in the LGBTQ community of finding a place where they can be themselves and finally coming to terms with their true nature.

Heartstopper V.1-3 by Alice Oseman

If you are looking for the romantic love story to help you get through this lockdown, then this is the story for you! Heartstopper is just the uplifting LGBTQ love story that you need right now. It has become my absolute favorite!

Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough

I didn’t think I would enjoy this as much but I did! It was such a adorable romantic story but a powerful tale about two completely different girls rising against anti-feminist and homophobic attitudes of their school. Both Harriet and Will are the embodiment of the classic tale of when “opposites attract”. However, their different personalities and witty remarks provides a new spin on the genre. They both have moments that are definitely cringe worthy but seeing their relationship blossom into something more made it an enjoyable read.

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A.F. Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw 

It was just such a warm, touching and personal story about a young’s journey of discovering more about herself and her family. The art was really impactful, especially when a person’s truth misconstrued with the reality of the situation. Although this graphic novel deals with homophobia, transphobia, it also deals with bullying and the true meaning of friendship. You really find out who your real friends are when something serious and impactful happens to you.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere. (Credit: Oni Press)

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