Hello everyone, today I have a post I couldn’t be more excited to share with you all today! I got this idea a couple of weeks back and started emailing some of my favourite queer authors to be a part of it and I wasn’t sure it would work out but it has and today I have 9 book recommendations for you all form 9 of my favourite queer authors of all time and I can not wait to read the books they’e recommended! I hope you all find a new book to read among these as well!
Recommended by C L Clark,
C.L. Clark is the author of The Unbroken, the first book in the Magic of the Lost trilogy. She graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. She’s a former co-editor of the Hugo-nominated and British Fantasy Award-winning PodCastle, and her work has appeared in Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fantasy Magazine and more. She’s represented by Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron and Associates.
City of Lies and The Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke
They follow two characters, an apprentice of poisons and his sister, trying to keep the heir to the city’s power alive amidst treachery within the city and a siege without. The characters are excellent, especially as we get to watch them grow from book to book. I’m also a sucker for a good mystery wrapped in intrigue, with just enough battle scenes. 😉
Poison. Treachery. Ancient spirits. Sieges. The Poison Wars begin now, with City of Lies, a fabulous epic fantasy debut by Sam Hawke
I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…
Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.
Moving from poison and treachery to war and witchcraft, Sam Hawke’s Poison Wars continue with Hollow Empire, a fabulous epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, and Scott Lynch.
Poison was only the beginning…. The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills as proofer and spy to save their country when witches and assassins turn their sights to domination.
Recommended by Emery Lee,
Emery Lee is an author and artist whose love for chaotic and morally gray characters started at a young age. After graduating with a degree in creative writing, e’s gone on to author novels, short stories, and webcomics across a variety of genres and demographics, though YA fiction has always held a special place in eir heart. Drawing inspiration from Eastern media, pop punk music, and personal life experience, eir work seeks to explore the intersections of life and identity in fun, heartfelt, and inventive ways. In eir downtime, you’ll most likely find em marathoning anime or snuggling cute dogs.
A Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
A book I can’t recommend enough is The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes. Expertly balancing some heavier topics while still making room for humor, community, and love, this book is a shining example of contemporary YA. I absolutely loved the characters, the voice, and all of the swoony—and sometimes chaotically funny—romance scenes. Absolutely a great read for Pride or any other time of year, really
Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.
After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.
The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?
Recommended by Adiba Jaigirdar,
Adiba Jaigirdar is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed and bestselling author of The Henna Wars, Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating, and A Million to One. A Bangladeshi/Irish writer and former teacher, she has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she is probably ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, or expanding her overflowing lipstick collection. She can be found at adibajaigirdar.com or @adiba_j on Twitter and @dibs_j on Instagram.
How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi
How It All Blew Up is one of the first times I saw queer Muslim representation in a book. It’s a story about a boy named Amir who is blackmailed with his sexuality. Fearing that he’ll be outed to his family, he ends up running away to Rome where he meets a whole group of queer people who help him discover who he is. I loved this book because so many parts of it really resonated with me, and I loved the way it explored queer Muslim identity. Not just some of the difficulties and obstacles of this identity, but also some really wonderful parts of it. It’s a wonderfully honest and real book that celebrates queerness, even in its complications.
Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?
Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a U.S. Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom.
At turns uplifting and devastating, How It All Blew Up is Arvin Ahmadi’s most powerful novel yet, a celebration of how life’s most painful moments can live alongside the riotous, life-changing joys of discovering who you are.
Recommended by Misa Suguira,
Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Her first novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, won the Asian Pacific Islander American Librarians’ Association’s Award for Young Adult Literature; her highly acclaimed second novel, This Time Will Be Different, made the Best of 2019 lists of YALSA, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Her short story, “Where I’m From” appears in Come On In, a young adult anthology of stories about immigration. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters has been praised by the American Library Association as “hilariously awkward” and “honestly poignant.” You can find her online at misasugiura.com and @misallaneous1 on Twitter and Instagram.
Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth
One of my all-time favorite LGBTQ books is NOT MY PROBLEM by Ciara Smyth. It’s about an Irish teen who starts a little business solving other people’s unsolvable problems for them. Because of the nature of these problems, she has to take some wild and hilarious risks to pull off her solutions, and in the process, she builds a group of loyal friends—and falls in love. At he same time, she beings to realize that solving other people’s problems is really a way to avoid dealing with her own problems, which slowly become too large to ignore. A cross between Netflix’s SEX EDUCATION and DERRY GIRLS, and television’s COMMUNITY, this book is hilarious, whip-smart, and deeply poignant all at once.
Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE.
But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs.
Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.
Recommended by Tanya Boteju,
Tanya Boteju (she/her) is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She completed her English and Education degrees at the University of British Columbia, then spent time in New York attaining her Master of Arts through Columbia University’s Teachers College. Most recently, Tanya received a Creative Writing Certificate through Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio. Her writing life has mostly consisted of teaching writing in Vancouver, where she has continually been inspired by the brilliant young people in her midst.
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Tom
So many books I could recommend, but today, I will champion Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom for its deeply flawed protagonist you can’t help but love, queerness as the norm, the feminine as powerful, lyrical prose, and an inventive, glorious (but often brutal) landscape. Fierce warrior trans femmes who are depicted as mythical, powerful creatures…what more could you want?
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom is the highly sensational, ultra-exciting, sort-of true coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a group of larger-than-life trans femmes who live in a mysterious pleasure district known only as the Street of Miracles. Under the wings of this fierce and fabulous flock, Dearly blossoms into the woman she has always dreamed of being, with a little help from the unscrupulous Doctor Crocodile. When one of their number is brutally murdered, the protagonist joins her sisters in forming a vigilante gang to fight back against the transphobes, violent johns, and cops that stalk the Street of Miracles. But when things go terribly wrong, she must find the truth within herself in order to stop the violence and discover what it really means to grow up and find your family.
Recommended by Nghi Vo,
Nghi Vo is the author of the novels Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful, as well as the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Locus and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award and the Hugo Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind.
The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate
The Route of Ice and Salt, by José Luis Zárate is not a happy book or a comforting one. It relates the story of the captain of the Demeter, the ship that brings Dracula to London, and given that the captain ends the story dead and lashed to the Demeter‘s helm, there’s no place for joy here. Instead The Route of Ice and Salt gives us something terrifying, a terror that resonates for anyone who has ever been caught out as too different to be tolerated. This is not a happy book, but it is an important one, vital as the sea and as cruel and unmerciful. Sometimes, the stories we need are very dark, and sometimes, we need to hear the echo of our own screams.
It’s an ordinary assignment, nothing more. The cargo? Fifty boxes filled with Transylvanian soil. The route? From Varna to Whitby. The Demeter has made many trips like this. The captain has handled dozens of crews.
He dreams familiar dreams: to taste the salt on the skin of his men, to run his hands across their chests. He longs for the warmth of a lover he cannot have, fantasizes about flesh and frenzied embraces. All this he’s done before, it’s routine, a constant, like the tides.
Yet there’s something different, something wrong. There are odd nightmares, unsettling omens and fear. For there is something in the air, something in the night, someone stalking the ship.
Recommended by Adib Khorram,
ADIB KHORRAM is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, which earned the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades. His followup, DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER, received three starred reviews, was an Indie Bestseller, and received a Stonewall Honor. His debut picture book, SEVEN SPECIAL SOMETHINGS: A NOWRUZ STORY was released in 2021. When he isn’t writing, you can find him learning to do a Lutz jump, practicing his handstands, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person.You can find him on Twitter (@adibkhorram), Instagram (@adibkhorram), or on the web at adibkhorram.com.
Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min
This book has stuck with me since I read it several months ago. It had so much that spoke to me: the way internet friendships allow you to be your most honest, vulnerable self; super-queer found families; the pressures of deciding how much of yourself to share with the world; the way that our fear and anger can explode outward and hurt the people that love us (and that we love in return) the most. BEATING HEART BABY is like listening to your favorite album for the first time.
When artistic and sensitive Santi arrives at his new high school, everyone in the wildly talented marching band welcomes him with open arms. Everyone except for the prickly, proud musical prodigy Suwa, who doesn’t think Santi has what it takes to be in the band.
But Santi and Suwa share painful pasts, and when they open up to each other, a tentative friendship begins. And soon, that friendship turns into something more. . . .
Will their fresh start rip at the seams as Suwa seeks out a solo spotlight, and both boys come to terms with what it’ll take, and what they’ll have to let go, to realize their dreams?
Recommended by Sonora Reyes,
Born and raised in Arizona,
Sonora Reyes is the author of the forthcoming contemporary young adult novel, THE LESBIANA’S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL. They write fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in a variety of genres, with current projects in both kidlit and adult categories. Sonora is also the creator and host of the Twitter chat #QPOCChat, a monthly community-building chat for queer writers of color.
Fifteen Hundred Miles From The Sun by Jonny Garza Villa
I highly, highly recommend Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun, by Jonny Garza Villa. It will make you laugh and cry with every emotion under the sun (pun intended heh) in the best way possible! Not only was there a swoon-worthy romance for the ages, but every character shined in their own way. Jules’ friend group especially had me cackling in public. If you like books that tug at your heartstrings every which way, you’ll love this one!
Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.
Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.
Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.
Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.
Recommended by Raquel Marie,
Racquel Marie grew up in Southern California where her passion for storytelling of all kinds was encouraged by her friends and big family. She received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. Racquel primarily writes YA contemporaries starring queer Latine characters like herself. When not writing or reading, she loves practicing beauty and special effects makeup, watching and producing YouTube videos, and teaching herself to play ukulele in spite of her extremely long nails. You can learn more about her writing and love of books through her Twitter, @blondewithab00k.
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
I’d love to recommend one of my favorite books that I read last year—The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson! It’s an adult science fiction novel focused on parallel worlds and all of the choices—both big and small—that we make that define our lives and selves. The prose, world-building, and themes are all deeply moving on their own, but the author also weaves a beautiful sapphic romance between the Black main character and her Japanese-descended co-worker throughout the narrative that I found especially compelling. It perfectly balanced the grittiness of reaching your lowest points with the hopefulness of always striving to do and be better for the sake of yourself and the people around you. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone given the universality of its message, but I’d especially recommend it to people looking to branch into reading science fiction who feels slightly intimidated by the genre.
Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.
On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.
But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.
What is a queer book you would recommend? Further, have you read any of the books these authors have recommended and what id you think about them? Let me know!
14 thoughts on “Queer Book recommendations from Queer Authors”
AHHH I LOVE THIS!!! i adored Not my problem so much and I can’t wait to read the others!!💗
Thank you!! hope you enjoy them!
What a great post!! I’m so glad so many authors were able to participate.
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Thank you!! and so am I!
AHHHHH THIS IDEA IS JUST ABSOLUTE PEFECTION AND I AM IN LOVE WITH THE POST OKAY??? 😭😭❤
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I love, love, love lists like these because all these wonderful authors highlight books that I don’t normally see on social media. Not a blog post, but here’s a similar list published by EW that includes a new favorite: Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin!
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Thank you! glad you liked this list and I’ll be sure to check that out!
Aw… I love this post sooo much! This is such a lovely idea and it was great to hear queer book recs from queer authors! Especially as I spy some authors I love, Adib Khorram recommending Beating Heart Baby has instantly made me interested in it! I hadn’t even heard of that book before but I love that! I literally just finished The Unbroken yesterday and I LOVED it, so I am also eyeing up City of Lies now. And all these books basically. I really loved this post, thank you for making it!! 🥰🥰
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Thank you so much!! I’m also so glad to have done this since I’ve added all these new books to my TBR which I cannot wait to read! Hope you enjoy them!
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i love this idea so much ahhhhh!!!
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