Fantasy · Queer · Romance · YA

Book Riot Recs: Queer YA and Romance

As promised, I bring you Book Riot Read Harder Challenge recommendations! This post will cover the two queer-related challenge prompts (YA and romance), and I’ll have another post on Saturday for the two comic-specific ones (here). Suggestions are a mix of books I love and books high on my to-read list!

YA/Middle Grade by an LGBTQ+ author:

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan. A story about an Iranian girl who decides to get gender reassignment surgery to stay with her girlfriend, since homosexuality is a crime in her country but reassignment is legal. It’s not sensationalistic like it sounds, to my mind it’s really a story about teenage friendship and love.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. It’s a classic in the genre, published in 2003, and you should definitely read it if you haven’t already. If you have, try his more recent book Two Boys Kissing — it would also count for the banned book challenge!

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Ace characters, trans characters, fantasy/horror genre, and won a mention as “book that crushed my soul” for 2016.

The Misfits by James Howe. I relistened to the Bunnicula series last fall, and at the end I serendipitously discovered that James Howe had come out since my childhood! So, any of his books would count for this (including Bunnicula), but The Misfits and especially its sequel Totally Joe deal with gay characters.

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer. A lesbian retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth! It’s been on my TBR for years…

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. This one’s been on my TBR for slightly less time, it got a lot of buzz for intersectional bi representation when it came out in 2015 so I definitely want to read it myself.

LGBTQ+ romance:

Brute by Kim Fielding. A super sweet yet unputdownable m/m fantasy romance. Review coming soon!

The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles. Another m/m fantasy romance, this time with Victorian mystery elements and more “hot” than “sweet,” but similarly well-written.

Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat. One last m/m fantasy, one that’s been consistently recommended to me for AGES that I really need to read…

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. A lesbian historical that’s been on my TBR for absolute ages. It came out in 2000, but I totally thought it was older, another heavily recommended “modern classic” type title.

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. It’s billed as a steampunk lesbian romance, and it’s the author of the famous Parasol Protectorate straight steampunk romance series which I’ve started and liked a lot, so I’m excited!

Static by LA Witt. I’m not sure how much this is part of the romance genre vs. the sci-fi genre, but I’ve seen it on some romance lists, including some for trans romances. It looks like the trans issues appear through a sci-fi lens, but I’m not sure… I may have to report back in a review after I read it. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in that, or reviews of any other books I listed!

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12 thoughts on “Book Riot Recs: Queer YA and Romance

  1. Wow, Bunnicula! I loved those books when I was a kid! I remember picking up a hardcover with the whole series in it at some point. I ought to dust it off and re-read ’em at some point…

    My friend at work recommended “The Captive Prince,” too, so that one was already on my TBR list, but I’m going to have to add a lot of these to the list! Especially “The Dark Wife” and some of the other lesbian ones. (Somehow, my list has skewed more m/m than f/f. Need to fix the imbalance…)

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    1. I quite enjoyed relistening to all the Bunnicula books, I did it around Halloween. 🙂 And yep, same… Bi stuff is my comfort zone since that’s me, but otherwise I typically feel more comfortable in gay culture than lesbian for whatever reason. All the more reason to seek it out and try new things.

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      1. I’m not sure if I have a comfort zone where romance is concerned; though it took me a long time to realize it, I’m asexual (though I find both sexes attractive, so I’m like a-bisexual or bi-asexual or something) so all romances are alien to me, outside the realm of fiction. I think it’s sort of telling that a lot of my favorite books (“The Hobbit”, “The Last Unicorn”, “The NeverEnding Story”, “Slaughterhouse Five”) have either no romance or rank the love story much lower than other issues. It’s very rare that I’ve sought out books that center around love stories at all. I probably need to do so more often…

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        1. Hey, me too! Although I’m the sort of bi-asexual who’s slightly obsessed with sex in an anthropological sort of way. Fortunately that’s a thing the internet was aware of or I would’ve been confused for a very long time. But my interest in romance books is only a few years old, born out of a fascination for genre conventions as a study.

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