By: Julia Agris
As we reach the middle of Pride Month, it is important to highlight the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. So, I wanted to share some of my favourite fictional reads that have LGBTQ+ representation. I enjoyed, felt all kind of feels, and now want to re-read these books after writing this.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship… (Read more on goodreads)
I definitely got major feels (see: very teary-eyed) while reading this book back in 2015 because the characters felt so real. Dante is the right amount of opinionated sass and Ari adds the needed teenage angst. Their relationship and dynamic with their families are realistic and moving.
The plot is simple: Ari and Dante are struggling to figure out who they are and learn about the important role that relationships play in finding that out.
“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get–and never would get.”– Benjamin alire sáenz, aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe
Kim Reaper Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley
Like most university students, Kim works a part-time job to make ends meet. Unlike most university students, Kim’s job is pretty cool: she’s a grim reaper, tasked with guiding souls into the afterlife. (Read more on goodreads)
This pick is for my graphic novel fans!
I actually laughed out loud quite a lot while devouring this volume that is everything I’ve ever wanted about a cute emo reaper. You can peep my full review here.
“Girl, you can slay, but you need to get it under control.”sarah graley, kim reaper vol. 1
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. (Read more on goodreads)
This book took me on an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. Then the movie destroyed me – thanks Timothée Chalamet!
Elio’s inner thoughts (and sometimes turmoil) as he pines over Oliver are so unfiltered that I felt like I was reading his diary. It’s so personal that I felt like I was either: a) his closest friend or b) totally invading his privacy. Aciman’s writing makes this journey so beautiful but also sad as hell.
This is a dreamy coming of age story about a young boy’s sexual awakening set against an alluring Italian summer.
“This felt special. Like showing someone your private chapel, your secret hunt, the place where, as with the berm, one comes to be alone, to dream of others. This is where I dreamed of you before you came into my life.”andré aciman, call me by your name
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. (Read more on goodreads)
I finished this read so quickly because it was just that enjoyable. Don’t even get me started on how much I enjoyed the movie as well!
Some parts were a bit cheesy but I guess that’s high school romance for you. It’s also realistic in the characters and their relationships. They are messy, dramatic, scared and sometimes selfish but that’s adolescence for ya.
“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”becky albertalli, simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. (Read more on goodreads)
Some of the story is a bit predictable but Ben is what carried me to the end. These two are sweet, as friends and on their date do-overs, and left me smiling throughout a lot of their journey in NYC.
However, while I loved everything about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda I did not enjoy the pettiness and insecurities in The Upside of Unrequited (felt so problematic!). I feel that aspect of Albertalli’s writing really showed in the character of Arthur.
“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”– becky albertalli, what if it’s us
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. (Read more on goodreads)
If you haven’t read the Six of Crows duology yet… what are you HONESTLY doing?
“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”leigh bardugo, crooked kingdom