2020 Rainbow Reading List: 23 LGBTQ+ Books for Pride Month

I’m just 1 person who read a lot of LGBTQ+ books by people of color during Pride Month in 2020. Given the #BlackLivesMatter protests and the state of the world, I used my Pride Month reading project to read mostly books with Black and Brown characters and by Black and Brown authors. 

Books I Finished

These are the books I finished during the month.

  1. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender – This is one of a few books where a character says something I’ve been thinking and feeling and have never seen represented on the page before. Needless to say, I cried a lot as Felix went through the motions of discovering more about his gender identity. There’s also a great story in here, involving love and secrets and crushes and friendship and revenge and pride. This is a book I’m glad I bought and intend to reread. 
  2. Slow Dances Under an Orange Moon by V.L. Locey – Part of the Colors of Love series, this is a light, enjoyable romance between a professional hockey player who’s retiring and the man who was his high school crush. So many years have passed since their first kiss, but the desire to rekindle the flame and make up for lost time is strong.
  3. Naturally Tan by Tan France – I love the new cast of Queer Eye, so I was sure I would enjoy this memoir by one of them. Tan did not disappoint. With great wit and honesty, he covers everything from the racism he experienced in his childhood to how he met his husband.
  4. Red: a Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall – This is a book that was read to us during a church service this month, but I’m counting it because a book is a book! And this was a great story about accepting who you are, even if you’ve been mislabeled by the world.
  5. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera – I read this for a young adult book club for adults that I lead, and we had an excellent though emotional discussion about it. I loved 
  6. A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – I had really hoped for more LGBTQ+ representation, but I did enjoy the strong Black heroine in a fantasy/supernatural story.
  7. Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett – I got this book as an ARC years ago, not really knowing what it was about. But I love the musical RENT and having it as a central focus for the story was great. But I quickly felt for the main character in her struggle to have a real, full relationship despite her HIV+ status. I was also presently surprised by some ace representation in her friends group!
  8. Guru by RuPaul – I bought a signed copy of this book at B&N on Black Friday and never got around to reading it. I enjoyed the variety of photos, quotes, and inspiration from RuPaul and even learned a few things I didn’t know (despite having watched so much Drag Race).
  9. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert – I enjoyed the characters and getting to know them through their struggles and passions. The undercurrent of how much Suzette loves her brother was so strong, even when she doesn’t make the right choices.
  10. Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro – I don’t know how to feel about this one, honestly. When the two main characters meet on a subway car, discuss Star Wars, and then one supports the other through a panic attack, I fell hard for this book. But it’s full of strong emotions, difficult twists, and tragic events that are all too realistic. It has diverse representation regarding race, sexualities, and genders. But it also focuses on social justice, racial inequality, and police brutality (including toward minors). I cried during at least half of this book.
  11. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta  – I loooooved this book about a boy using drag to show the world who he truly is. It was great to see him discover himself and find pride.
  12. Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith – I have read several of Danez Smith’s poetry collections and have even hosting a poetry discussion about them. This one was the most powerful yet, touching on subjects from their identity to what being Black in America means today. It is painful and honest and beautiful.
  13. You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson –Everyone reading this book has to root for Liz to win the title of prom queen, because it’s her ticket out of her small town and to the future she dreams about. But you also can’t help but fall for Mack, the new girl in school who Liz falls for… and who is also running for prom queen. 
  14. Moonstuck Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, others – What a quirky, fun cast of characters! I love their magical world, their coffee shop, and their devotion to each other.
  15. Queer Poets of Color by Various Poets – I bought this book at a conference, and it took me a while to get to it, but I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a fantastic anthology of diverse poets spilling their hearts and minds onto the page for us.
  16. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – This was a reread for me, as I was doing another reading challenge at the time that required a book with a map in it. But I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first time. I often call this the book I wish I had written, because it has everything I love from a strong woman who loves science to a love story that overcomes all.
  17. Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner – This is a collection of romances: M/F, M/M, and F/F that connect to Alexander Hamilton in one way or another. As a Hamilton musical fan, I had to give this one a read, even though I don’t read a lot in the romance genre outside of hockey.
  18. No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal – I was hoping to like this one a little more than I did. It was good, and I felt for the main character, but it left me wanting more.
  19. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson – This book takes us through George M. Johnson’s childhood, adolescence, and college years. There is so much insight and honesty in this young adult memoir.
  20. Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender – I started this month with a book from the same author, so it was a nice way to end my month. This book was short but full of heart. 

Books In Progress

These are the books I started during the month but didn’t finish before June 30.  

  1. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus – The stories of Audre in Trinidad and Mabel in Minneapolis collide in the best way possible. Their love story is strong and bright like two stars, but also heart-wrenching when Mabel starts feeling ill. 
  2. Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver – I read this for my asexual meetup group’s discussion. I enjoyed the fantasy, but a world in a sort of post-apocalyptic lockdown wasn’t really what I wanted to be reading in 2020. And the asexual representation wasn’t what I had been hoping for, either. I do really love a good amnesia story, however, and there was great drama, adventure, and suspense as the characters find each other and struggle to survive.
  3. The Walls Between Hearts by L.A. Witt – I was coming in on the middle of a series, but this was all right as a standalone as well. I took fencing classes when I was young, so it was great being in that world during this story. I loved the concept of two older men who had both had former loves and weren’t looking for anything serious eventually realizing they were falling for each other.

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

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