Five Terrific LGBT Books to Celebrate Pride Month
To commemorate the famous “Stonewall Riots”, which triggered the push for equality in June 1969, the month of June is celebrated as LGBT Pride Month. To mark this celebration, we’ve put together a list of some fantastic LGBT books that put gay, lesbian or non-hetero-normative relationships front and center.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
With the Montague Siblings series, author Mackenzi Lee introduced us all to what Teen Vogue called “the queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.” The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the first book in the series, and follows young nobleman Henry “Monty” Montague as he embarks on the traditional 18th century “grand tour” of Europe; as eager to explore his burgeoning bisexuality as the cathedrals and museums of Paris and Rome.
In her 5-star review, Azia writes: “This book is undoubtedly one of the most humorous and entertaining YA historical fictions I’ve read, beside My Lady Jane of course. The Gentleman’s Guide is filled to the brim with comedic moments that are balanced out by surprisingly serious topics introduced throughout the characters’ long and arduous journey. Not only does Mackenzi Lee create a fun adventure filled with witty dialogue, bouts of debauchery, and intrigue, she also does an excellent job in exploring the human experience by providing situations and character relationships that inspire deep conversation.”
Reviewer Sissy Lu writes: “This novel tackled everything that would have been controversial for its time period, disorders, infidelity, rakish behavior, child abuse, piracy, homosexuality and…. wait for the most absurd of them all – a brilliant female. One who can think, read and perform better than a male? Say it ain’t so! It was an adventurous trip from the start, truly. I think so far this is my favorite read of the year. It was pure heart-wrenching entertainment, a trip in every way. Monty’s narrative was utterly ridiculous, humorous and glorious! From the start we know his relationship with his father is taxed, he must act accordingly so that he may keep the honor that surrounds the title and estate that will one day belong to him. Except, Monty has other ideas of how he should act and while dear o’l daddy has planned this Grand Tour – leave it to Monty to somehow cast everything into chaos. Each of the characters had personality bursting at the seams, Percy was a complete darling, his story and the twist along the way, Felicity was a fierce, witty young woman. The banter provided between Monty and Felicity had me giggling out loud – actually – the entirety of the book had me giggling out loud.”
This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
A lot of members of the LGBT community agree that when they first started exploring their sexuality, they had a million questions – but nobody they felt safe in asking them of. In This Book is Gay, author Juno Dawson attempts to provide that safe, trusted voice and go through a myriad of questions and queries about alternative sexuality that people might have. From the ins and outs (literally) of sex, to politics and ‘coming out’, there are answers here to questions young LGBT people might not even know they wanted to ask; and a warm, accepting writing style that makes the book a delight to read.
Reviewer Julie Smith praised the book for covering “all types of sexuality openly” and wrote about how appreciated it was by a family processing their teen coming out. “Helped teen who is trying to figure out ‘things.’ Helped parents understand current terminology. Not for the faint of heart – but if you are going to explore your sexuality, its better to do so than skirt around the issue. Teen really appreciated being given the book as a show of acceptance.”
Amazon Customer appreciated the witty, frank style of the book: “This book is funny as Hell, and packed full of good information. It says it’s the gay handbook, and it’s right! I love the sarcastic writing style and the great points and opinions in the book.”
When She Thaws by Lily Craig
In regular romantic fiction, the “stern-parent-falling-for-the-babysitter” trope is pretty well-grounded; but it gets a whole new twist with this queer romance from Lily Craig. Bright-eyed and caring Sadie crosses the Atlantic to act as an au pair for stern single mother Inga… only to find a connection between her and this frosty Austrian woman that neither of them had anticipated.
Reviewer The Old One praised how relatable the character of Inga was, writing: “I felt sad for Inga because she had missed so many things about her children growing up. She was such a good person but faced with some difficult choices and a difficult past. I absolutely recommend this book as it left me feeling fulfilled by the story. This is truly a great author and I look forward to reading many more by her.”
Hapetobme gave the book 5-stars, writing: “I loved the beautiful way that the story was written. The age gap was pretty sexy for anyone who has ever fantasized about a May/December romance. The characters were well rounded and lovable, and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. The story line was entertaining and I’d love to see a part two to this book.”
Backwards to Oregon by Jae
This book really took me by surprise – the touching love story between two women in the time of the Oregon trail! It’s the tale of cynical Nora, who leaves behind her degrading life in an old-west brothel and enters a marriage of convenience with the mysterious ‘Luke.’ As the two of them brave the perilous path to Oregon, they discover they’re both keeping secrets from themselves and others; not least of which being that Luke is really a woman!
Reviewer Hayde prefaces their review by saying they’re not a fan of historical fiction – and yet: “I will openly admit I was kicking myself for not reading this book sooner! Nothing like spending all night reading a novel because you can’t put it down. You know you got a good one. I enjoyed the relationship between Luke and Nora and It was interesting to see them evolve separately and jointly during this journey and all they had to go through on the trail to Oregon. They started with a marriage of convenience for reasons of their own, but ended up learning and leaning on one another for support and strength while doing all this with secrets that could destroy all they dreamed of for their future.”
GTeller gave the book 5-stars, writing: “Jae weaves magic with these books, these characters. I wanted to go on their journey, live in their wagon on the Oregon Trail, live in their cabin in Oregon and work on their ranch. I wanted to witness their lives, firsthand and in real time. Luke and Nora. Tess and Frankie. Amy and Rika. Nattie and Phin. And all the marginal characters and their lives and loves were each their own stories that melded together with the stories of the other characters.”
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
By picking this title for her book club, Hollywood celebrity Reese Witherspoon drew national attention to the bold and controversial tale of a 5-year-old little boy who likes to wear dresses and dreams of becoming a princess. With so much to unpack about this issue – including, not least of all, the question of “when is a child old enough to make decisions about their sexual identity?” it’s a book that’s caused a huge stir; winning fans and detractors alike.
In her 5-star review, Melissa Leatherwood writes: “This book is powerful, heartbreaking, beautiful, timely, and critically important. I am so grateful it was recommended to me. For the first time in my life, I wept openly on the pages of a book…over and over again. My heart hurt and it rejoiced. It felt trapped and it soared…along with Rosie and Penn and their brood of spunky kids. These are people I want in my life…overflowing with patience, kindness, and unconditional love. The author’s note mentions the book may be controversial; I couldn’t even begin to care. I choose to embrace the message, love the story and all the love it shares, and be a part of the solution, rather than the problem. There needn’t be any controversy in doing what’s best for your child. This is easily one of my top five most impactful books, and it’s hard to imagine that anything will take its place. As a bonus, this author is extremely talented. The writing is quick, meaningful, sharp and so touching. Very well done.”
L. Williams wrote a similarly effusive review: “Laurie Frankel has crafted a magnificent book with a poignant story, wonderfully developed characters, and valuable lessons. When I finished the book, I knew that I would be processing the emotions it evoked for quite some time and carrying the priceless lessons it taught much longer than that.”
Curiously, even the 1-star reviews seemed to praise the book, if not the subject matter, with reviewer Mike B. writing: “As a open-minded adult, you read this story with interest. As a parent you read it glad you didn’t have the same challenges or hoping you don’t have them. As a caring person, you feel the pain on all levels and recognize that all of life has its challenges, hoping you can work yours out as well as these characters do.”