2019 Rainbow Reading List: 21 LGBTQ+ Books for Pride Month

I’m just 1 person who read a lot of LGBTQ+ books during Pride Month in 2019. Honestly, I read a lot of LGBTQ+ books throughout the year, but I decided it would be fun to see how many I could get through in just a month. Pride Month was the perfect excuse for me to read so many wonderful books. I even found myself waking up a little earlier than needed some mornings to get some reading in before work. 

Books I Finished

These are the books I finished during the month.

  1. Taproot by Keezy Young – A gorgeous graphic novel that is sweet, heartwarming, charming, and full of natural world goodness as well as tough choices. It is the story of Blue, a ghost, who is in love with his best friend, Hamal (who, luckily, has the power to see the dead). Blue is protective of Hamal, whose supernatural gift is putting him in danger. Even though the plot is fantastic, it’s the characters and the gorgeous botanical details that really shine.
  2. My Brother’s Husband Vol 1 by Gengoroh Tagame – Living in Tokyo, Yaichi is a single dad to an adorable little girl named Kana. His somewhat estranged twin brother Ryoji passed away recently, and Yaichi is taken by surprise when Ryoji’s husband, a large, hairy, Canadian man shows up at their house for a visit. This graphic novel covers prejudices, family drama, and generational perceptions. 
  3. My Brother’s Husband Vol 2 by Gengoroh Tagame – The story of Yaichi, Kana, and Mike continues as all characters get used to each other. We get more glimpses into the life Ryoji and Mike shared and how their love for each other helps build the bonds of family now. When Mike has to go back to Canada, it’s an emotional experience for everyone, Yaichi included. 
  4. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters – After Alix’s girlfriend, Swanee, dies, she discovers text messages between Swanee and another girl who were apparently in love. Alix holds back the truth as she investigates, and falls for the mystery girl. There was a little too much drama for my liking, and emotions definitely ran at a high teenage level. But it was a good examination of what it really means to be in love and to lose it.
  5. Some Girls Bind by Rory James – I loved this story in verse about a girl exploring her gender identity. As someone who identifies as genderqueer, I could understand and sympathize with Jamie. I loved watching her make discoveries and find the courage to come out to her family. It was a quick but emotional read for me.
  6. Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – I love a good hockey romance and had been wanting to read this one for a while. It’s one of those books I was made at myself for not having read sooner, because I loved it so much. It’s the story of Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley who met at a hockey summer camp and had secret crushes on each other. Now, as adults and on the cusp of professional careers, they’re returning to instruct at the camp. All their feelings rush back, but of course they’re too nervous to tell each other how they have always felt… but all that changes. I loved Wesmie so much by the end of this book I of course went on to read Us and Epic.
  7. Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings – I listened to this memoir about Jazz on audio. Having never watched the show, I was glad for the full introduction of Jazz and her situation. Being so brave as to come out as transgender and share her story with the world is inspiring. I enjoyed hearing about her struggles and successes both. 
  8. StoryCorps: Outloud by Ari Shapiro – I stumbled upon this short recording from StoryCorps in my library’s digital offerings. Members of the LGBTQ+ community share freely what their experiences have been like across different generations. We get stories of coming out, reclaiming pride, and living authentically. 
  9. When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockman – This was a short novella that’s part of a larger series with which I was unfamiliar. So this story didn’t strike me as particularly powerful. It was a light read with a lot of romance packed in.
  10. How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune – I read this book for a book discussion hosted by the asexual meetup group I’m part of. There isn’t a lot of asexual representation in fiction, but this was a great example of it done well. The characters are extremely kooky and unique, and you really can’t help loving them. It was wonderful to see how two people with compatible dynamics find each other and fall in love. 
  11. The Pants Project by Cat Clarke – How a middle school’s dress code (girls must wear skirts, boys must wear pants) inspired a child to become an activist at a young age. Though the world sees Liv as a girl, Liv knows he’s a boy. He wants to wear pants like all the other boys at school; thus, the pants project is born. I love juvie fiction about transgender and gender non-conforming kids. It’s so important for kids to know there are others feeling the way they do. This was a fantastic execution. 
  12. The Best Man by Richard Peck – Apart from the narrator mispronouncing the name “MacLeod” the entire time, I enjoyed this book about a young boy named Archer whose uncle marries Archer’s favorite teacher. Again, it’s great to see such stories aimed at a younger audience who needs to see how there are all sorts of people in this world. And I loved seeing how all the adults in Archer’s life inspire him in different ways; they’re fantastic role models and a great support system for him. 
  13. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis – I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I selected this book off the LGBTQ+ display in my local library. I wasn’t prepared emotionally for the story of three high schoolers who barely knew each other but all shared the same best friend. And when that best friend dies… they lean on each other in unexpected ways to get a complete picture of him. 
  14. BearCity 2.5 by Doug Langway, Joe E. Amorin – The BearCity movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve seen the first one an uncountable number of times. This is a graphic novel set between movies 2 and 3 that explores a bit of the story for the characters off camera. Of course I loved seeing more of these characters and filling in the blanks. 

Books In Progress

These are the books I started during the month but didn’t finish before June 30. I often have a dozen books in progress at a time, so the length of this list is pretty typical for me. 

  1. Adam & Steve by Craig Chester – I have seen the movie for this a number of times, and I started reading this book on the Metro (subway) on the way to the Pride Parade in DC. It was fun seeing the characters again.
  2. Bite Me by Beth Bolden – I’m not a foodie, so a good portion of this book about a YouTube chef wanting to make a name for himself and falling in love was a little lost on me. I thought it was good but not great. 
  3. Luna by Julie Anne Peters – The second book by this author I read during the month, this one dealt with a character transitioning, becoming Luna, and her protective, supportive sister who keeps her secrets for her. 
  4. Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault – Another read for my asexual meetup group, this story drips with inclusion and diversity. Set in a universe with a bit of magic and where it’s a social faux pas to not use the right pronouns for someone, we meet a police officer who ends up falling for the local baker. The problem is not that the baker is aromantic or that the baker is literally gender fluid and can magically transform from one person to another, it’s that the baker seems to be the thief the police officer is after.
  5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst – A third read for my asexual meetup group, this book oozes fantasy and adventure in a world of royalty and expectation. 
  6. Comfort and Joy by Jim Grimsley – First published in 1995, this book reads like a product of its time. The hospital administrator and the doctor love each other but don’t know how to be out and navigate that love. It’s a slow burn for them both, trying to figure out how to be who they are and how to be who they are together. Throw in family drama during the holidays, painful childhoods, HIV, and the fact that neither man is good at communicating. This one took me many months to get through.
  7. Odd One Out by Nic Stone – I lam going to start out saying that I ultimately loved this book. However, I really wish it had ended differently. Courtney Cooper, Rae Evelyn Chin, and Jupiter Charity-Sanchez find themselves in a love triangle where each one of them loves the other two. As I got to know all three characters, I genuinely wanted them all to be happy, so I wanted to shove them all together at the end, but the YA world didn’t seem ready for a polyamorous relationship, and maybe the characters weren’t either. Still, I really loved seeing what made each of these pairings special. Plus, there was so much Queen music!

Photo by Garmin Bao on Unsplash

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