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LGBTQIA+ Reads for the Winter Holidays

By Rhys Wright, Shan Heyworth and Rosie Green

 

It’s that time of year again when the snow starts to fall and books start making their way from the shop shelves to underneath your tree. With so many gift ideas to choose from, we’d like to make things easier by recommending some festive books with LGBTQIA+ representation to make you laugh, cry and swoon. Whether you’re making some last-minute additions to your Christmas list or looking for the perfect stocking filler for someone you care about, here are a few LGBTQIA+ books we think would make for heartwarming reading material throughout the winter season.

 

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

 

A riveting bisexual romcom from the author of The Charm Offensive, Alison Cochrun’s festive romance is a light and breezy winter warmer to keep your spirits up throughout the holidays.

 

Ellie Oliver is a bisexual, demisexual, anxiety-riddled barista down on her luck and on the brink of being evicted. Last Christmas she had a whirlwind romance that ended in tears and since then she’s lost her dream job and plans to spend this Christmas on her own. But when Andrew, her coffee shop’s painfully gorgeous landlord, asks her to be his fake fiancée so they can access his inheritance, things seem to be looking up – until she meets his sister Jack, the woman who broke her heart last Christmas. Classic romcom antics ensue.

 

Cochrun writes Ellie’s narration with a very contemporary humour that never lets up, but it never stands in the way of her more emotional passages. Ellie’s perspective as a demisexual protagonist adds a welcome twist to the romcom formula that’s only complicated by her social anxiety getting in the way of forming the strong emotional connection she needs to feel attraction. It’s a refreshing spin on a well-trodden genre that really engages with how the different facets of someone’s identity can radically change how well they fit into the standard romance narrative.

 

As well as being a love letter to Portland, Oregon, Cochrun’s novel is a queer love story tender enough to make anyone’s heart grow three sizes. Replete with heartwarming romance, biting wit and enough snow day settings to make you nostalgic for past Christmases, Kiss Her Once for Me will be sure to keep you cosy and thoroughly entertained this Christmas.

 

Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night by Iona Datt Sharma and Katherine Fabian

 

Set in a London where ponds are gateways to magical worlds and Thames Water hires magicians as consultants to maintain the Thames Barrier, Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night is a magical, wintry, polyamorous captivating self-published novella that explores the different ways to love and be queer.

 

Layla is a pathologist with a wife, two kids and PTA responsibilities. She also has a boyfriend, Meraud, whose boyfriend, Nat is a blue-haired, nonbinary musician who seems to be the antithesis of herself. Layla and Nat do not get along, but they have to team up on a bizarre and magical scavenger hunt when Meraud suddenly goes missing.

 

Layla and Nat’s respective romantic relationships with the mysterious Meraud are revealed in glimpses and flashbacks but Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night is not a Christmas romance – it’s a story about love in its many forms, between people with various religions and ways of celebrating and experiencing the winter season.

 

Despite the high stakes – if Layla and Nat can’t solve the trail of clues by the Winter Solstice, Meraud will die – this is a cosy, witty and very queer celebration of community and the different types of family.

 

Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson

 

After the chaos of last Christmas, this year must be perfect. All three of the McAllister siblings are home, back from university and the inpatient unit, and Fern is determined to revive every tradition and celebrate Christmas with the excitement befitting the most wonderful time of the year, introducing her boyfriend to her family as she does so.

 

What she doesn’t realise – and no-one does until a chance encounter on the landing – is that while she and her boyfriend were broken up last Christmas, he was having a magical time at a ski resort with her twin brother. Catastrophic coincidences are stashed away with other secrets, waiting to be unwrapped and processed after the festivities are over. Or that was the plan.

 

Dawson shakes up the picture-perfect snow globe of what life ‘should’ be and as the drama unfurls, gradually we see each of the characters think about what it is they really want, learning to overcome the intrusive thoughts of mental illness, the trappings of heteronormativity and the framing of an ‘Instagrammable’ life.

 

Both a cheesy Christmas romcom and an emotionally touching story about recovery and self-exploration, Stay Another Day is a lovely book to curl up by the fire with on Christmas Eve.



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