June is Pride Month – an opportunity for us to shout about some fantastical LGBTQ+ books that you’ll find on our library shelves and in our BorrowBox collection. In our post today, staff from our libraries have hand picked their favourites and we throw the spotlight on some recently arrived titles and some you might have missed.
For even more reading recommendations, visit our Inclusive Reads page or explore our eMagazine collection for titles such as Diva and Gay Times.
For Young Adults, Olivia has chosen three titles:
When Aideen agrees to help ambitious class swot Maebh Kowalski deal with her crazy workload, she doesn’t expect to end up reluctantly pushing Maebh down the stairs. With this, Aideen becomes the school ‘fixer’: any problem a student has, Aideen will sort it out, from stealing confiscated mobiles to breaking into parties. All she asks for is a favour in return.
But Aideen’s own life is a mess – her mam’s drinking again, her BFF Holly is avoiding her and she’s skipping school. Spending more time with the uptight (but annoyingly cute) Maebh and chatterbox Kavi, Aideen starts to wonder: can every problem be solved?
You’re the One That I Want by Simon James Green
Freddie is unremarkable – too unremarkable. He doesn’t stand out in any way, and in fact teachers and fellow students keep forgetting who he is. Even his mum thinks he’s a disappointment, and spends almost all her time at work, producing a TV show.
After a particularly awful night when he embarrasses himself in front of Jasper Perry (the gorgeous teen star of his mum’s new show), Freddie decides to follow a new, proactive philosophy designed to transform his social and romantic life: saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity. It works!
Freddie finds himself auditioning for the school musical (Grease), actually going to parties, and flirting with hot new boy Zach! He’s becoming a whole new Freddie – maybe even one that his mum might be proud of. But the path to love is never smooth, and sometimes getting things very wrong is an important part of figuring out what – and who – you really want.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl’s body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents – all while trying to come out as transgendered.
An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.
And in adult fiction, two titles:
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued.
After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
The New Woman by Charity Norman
Luke Livingstone is a lucky man. He’s a respected solicitor, a father and grandfather, a pillar of the community. He has a loving wife and an idyllic home in the Oxfordshire countryside. Yet Luke is struggling with an unbearable secret, and it’s threatening to destroy him.
All his life, Luke has hidden the truth about himself and his identity. It’s a truth so fundamental that it will shatter his family, rock his community and leave him outcast. But Luke has nowhere left to run, and to continue living, he must become the person – the woman – he knows himself to be, whatever the cost.
Little Boxes by Cecilia Knapp.
‘Little Boxes’ is a coming-of-age story about friendship and love, loss, and survival. After Matthew’s grandfather dies suddenly, four friends struggle to face the trauma of their pasts in the wake of this fresh tragedy.
Leah and Jay, a couple since their school days, find their relationship tested, while Nathan deals with a vast and unrequited love, and Matthew grapples with his sexuality. In the days that follow, Matthew begins to unearth his grandfather’s past. He finds a different life, full of secrets, and discovers that he and his grandfather may have had more in common than he once thought.
Set in Brighton, after years of close childhood friendships these four friends begin to see they have different views and ambitions in life that they want to achieve, and they must find their own strength however hard it may be to follow their head not their hearts to find their own happiness whatever people around them say or think, even if it means leaving their old friends behind to explore a different life outside of Brighton.
Recently arrived titles and a few you might have missed
Imagine a cabbage: at its centre is North London’s Turkish heroin trade, and the overlapping leaves are the stories of its players. There’s Damla, a Turkish-Cypriot girl growing up in Tottenham, and her mother Ayla, who moved there from North Cyprus in the aftermath of the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots. There’s Mehmet, a mover in the trade, and Ali, who’s got big hopes for Ayla.
A bewitching debut that lifts the lid on a covert world, ‘Keeping the House’ is a totally fresh take on the drug trade and its machinery, and the story of a young woman coming into her own.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
1902, Brookhants School for Girls: students Flo and Clara are madly in love with each other, as well as completely obsessed with ‘The Story of Mary MacLane’, the scandalous debut memoir by 19 year old MacLane. A few months later they are found dead in the woods, after a horrific wasp attack, the book lying next to their intertwined bodies. Within five years the school is closed. But not before three more people die on the property, each in a troubling way.
Over 100 years later, Brookhants opens its doors once more, when a crew of young actresses arrive to film a high-profile movie about the rumoured Brookhants curse. And as past and present become grimly entangled, it’s soon impossible to tell quite where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt
Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future.
Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.
But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.
Queer: a collection of LGBTQ writing from Ancient Times to yesterday edited by Frank Wynne
Drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Rimbaud to Anais Nin, and from Armistead Maupin to Alison Bechdel, translator Frank Wynne has collected a hundred of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.
With stories, poems, extracts and scenes from countries the world over, Queer is an unabashed and unapologetic anthology, which gives voice to those often silenced.
In Bi Julia Shaw explores how people have defined and measured bisexuality during its long and important history. She looks at behavioural bisexuality in animals, and investigates whether there is a bi gene. She introduces some famous bi activists and scholars whom everyone should know.
She examines the latest research on bisexual kids, parents and grandparents, and explores bisexual identities across the lifespan. She asks why so few bisexual people are out, and examines the mental and physical health consequences of this. She also questions societal reactions to bisexuality (are bi people more promiscuous? No). She explains the visual language of bisexuality, about bi visibility on screen and the colourful world of bisexual communities.
The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer.
The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants. Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years – if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space.
The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean
Bea’s family are happy. Like, really happy. Like, kind of gross but also cute happy. So when they visit London Pride together and have the ultimate day out, Bea doesn’t think her family could possibly get any happier.
But a year later, a grey cloud is following Bea’s family around. Dad has passed away, and without him around they have no choice but to pack their bags and move to the countryside to live with Gran. With Bea’s big sister, Riley, taking the news hard, Bea will do anything to cheer her up. So with the help of new friends, The Secret Sunshine Project is formed – Bea’s plan is to bring Pride to the countryside and a smile back to Riley’s face.
Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?
After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.
But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.