LGBTQIA+ Books We Think Deserve More Recognition
By Carly Bennett, Rhys Wright, Emily Myhill and Becca Binnie
This week, we want to spotlight some fantastic queer reads that have gone under the radar. Exhausted your to-be-read (or just want to add even more to the pile) and looking for something fresh and impressive? Check out our list of LGBTQIA+ books that deserve more recognition to get some inspiration!
Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper is a cute, light-hearted contemporary romp with excellent bisexual representation and a loveable cast of characters that draws deserved comparisons to Netflix’s Sex Education.
Protagonist Darcy runs an anonymous love and relationships advice column in her school and has no plans on letting her own lack-of-a-love-life stop her. However, when the anonymity of her business is threatened, she strikes up a deal to keep her secret – all she has to do is help irritating Alexander Brougham win his ex back. Easy, right? It should be. But when feelings begin to creep in from all sides, Darcy has to learn to take her own advice to discover what she truly wants.
It is always refreshing to find joyful depictions of queer lives and Perfect on Paper absolutely lives up to that. That said, the story isn’t plain sailing from start to finish; the characters Gonzales creates feel like real people and, like real people, they make mistakes, they grow, they learn and it’s a joy to be along for the ride.
Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Rhys)
For any fan of The Song of Achilles, Mary Renault’s Greek novels are essential reading. Written in the mid-to-late twentieth century, they represent a landmark not only in queer historical fiction but in historical fiction as a whole. While each of these novels deserves more recognition, the best starting point for any first-time reader would be 1969’s Fire From Heaven, the first in a trilogy about Alexander the Great.
Fire From Heaven depicts Alexander’s youth, beginning with childhood traumas and turbulent family dynamics that could make Sigmund Freud raise an eyebrow, then following him into early adulthood as he navigates a labyrinth of political intrigues.
What was truly ground-breaking about Renault’s depiction of same-sex relationships in Fire From Heaven and her other Greek novels is just how normalised they are. Renault immerses you in ancient Greek culture, and that includes the reality of same-sex relationships as a totally ordinary facet of life. The ancient setting comes alive through endless attention to detail, constructing a real, tangible world where historical figures are believable people yet also very much figures of their time.
She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott (Emily)
A spell-binding nominee for Best Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2022, She Gets The Girl is a loveable, slow-burn romance with plenty of heart. Molly has moved to college, thinking this will finally be the push she needs to spread her wings and become a social butterfly, so she can impress cool-girl Cora. Alex, on the other hand, is a confident, troubled teen escaping her rocky homelife for a slice of financial security. Together, they hatch a plan to bring Molly out of her shell to finally impress Cora – and ‘accidentally’ find a little chemistry along the way.
Perfect for fans of I Kissed Shara Wheeler and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating, this heart-warming lesbian YA is impossible not to fall in love with. Alex and Molly, through layers of sarcasm, develop a brilliant friendship that goes far beyond the plan to reduce Molly’s anxiety. Another unmissable read from the fantastic co-author of Five Feet Apart, Rachael Lippincott is one to watch.
Looking for an emotional, lively and unexpectedly heart-wrenching queer romance? Well, look no further!
Coming Up For Air by Tom Daley
Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley wrote his autobiography in September 2021; it was published by HarperCollins and longlisted for Autobiography of the Year, Sports Book Awards 2022.
In the book, Daley explores the mental and emotional pressures of being a professional athlete. He delves into the personal struggles he’s faced within his career and gives the reader a moving insight into the importance of mindset. Daley discusses reclaiming the narrative around his sexuality and his relationship with his family.
A candid and inspirational autobiography is definitely worth adding to the TBR (to-be-read) if you haven’t already, especially from one of the most loved athletes, Tom Daley! If you have already read Daley’s autobiography, at the end of 2022 he released a guide to knitting and crocheting called Made with Love. The step-by-step projects are meant to inspire crafters and introduce a new audience to the enjoyment of the hobby!
It should be noted, these are merely a few of the team's favourite picks; there are countless others. TBR lists should be full of exciting, moving, inspiring and entertaining LGBTQIA+ inclusive novels!