Happy Pride Month, friends! While planning this month’s posts I went looking for Pride-themed book tags and only found a couple, so today I’m bringing you an original set of prompts that I hope you’ll enjoy, regardless of whether you identify as LGBTQIA+ (including questioning, that’s completely valid) or are “just” an ally.
This tag is based on the Progress Pride Flag (shown in the post header) and the meanings of different rose colors (as compiled from multiple sources), because why not?
- Link back to the person who tagged you
- Credit & link back to the creator: Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen
- Each book you pick should have an LGBTQIA+ main character and/or an LGBTQIA+ author. Try to include diverse books: different romantic/ sexual/ gender orientations, different ethnicities, etc.
RED: A book that gives you courage or is about courage.
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo is a relatively recent read that I really enjoyed, featuring the underutilized setup of the main character — nonbinary cleric Chih — telling a story to stay alive. Though they are one of my favorite animals, tigers can be pretty scary, especially when they want to eat you … and when they disagree vehemently with the version of events as you’ve been telling it.
ORANGE: A book with a passionate/fierce protagonist.
It doesn’t get much more passionate than Noam Álvaro of the Feverwake duology by Victoria Lee, considering how much of his story, as the son of undocumented immigrants, is about activism and reform/ revolution. Lee’s scientific approach to magic makes for fascinating worldbuilding, as well as a chance to show off Noam’s cleverness and fierce loyalty to his principles and his people. (Don’t even get me started on Dara, I love him too!) I will say that I enjoyed the second book, The Electric Heir, a bit more, but both books are solid reads.
YELLOW: A book that celebrates friendship.
Summer sports story? Summer sports story. Running with Lions by Julian Winters has a diverse and delightful ensemble cast, a band of brothers who are some of the most supportive shit-talkers you’ll meet. This was a comfortable read with some fun tried-and-true tropes, including the endlessly delightful estranged childhood best friends (but make it gay, obviously).
GREEN: A Middle Grade book and/or a book featuring kids.
I had to go on a bit of a search for this one because I don’t read much MG anymore, but Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff absolutely stole my heart. The summer before middle school, Bug is dealing with the passing of out-and-proud gay Uncle Roderick and best friend Moira’s new intense interest in girly things like makeup and boys and new girl friends. Also, Bug’s house is definitely haunted, and Uncle Roderick seems to be trying to communicate an urgent message …
BLUE: A book which includes a wedding or an already-established LGBTQIA+ couple.
Okay yes fine, Opal by Maggie Stiefvater is a pretty short novella, and the titular character is not part of the already-established couple, but cut me some slack here, would you? I revisit this one often when I want to hang out with these characters without investing in a complete Raven Cycle reread marathon; of course, though it’s not all rainbows and (dreamed) unicorns, there really is something special about such a raw and real slice-of-life story. (You’ll probably want to read the main Raven Cycle books first, though, if you haven’t already.)
PURPLE: A book featuring love at first sight.
How perfect would it have been if I could use The Color Purple for this one? Alas, I don’t consider it love at first sight. It’s a fine line between instalove and love at first sight, but after a quick re-read of their first meeting, I think Tea and Kance from The Bone Witch trilogy by Rin Chupeco could qualify. (I have finished the trilogy, but several of my friends haven’t yet so please no spoiler-y arguments about my pick.) While neither of them is explicitly LGBTQIA+ as far as I recall — though there is a line in The Bone Witch suggesting Tea could be demisexual/ grayace — the author is LGBTQIA+ and there is other LGBTQIA+ representation in the series.
🔗 RELATED POST: [Book Recs] Demisexual Protagonists
BLACK: A book centered on an antihero or villain.
The titular Bone Witch was a strong contender for this prompt as well, but was equally matched by the traitor/ monster/ tyrant/ etc. Baru Cormorant of The Masquerade series by Seth Dickinson. Admittedly this isn’t an easy read, as it engages unflinchingly and thoughtfully with colonialism-slash-imperialism and politics and economics, morality and strategy — I would caution you to check the content warnings if you need to — plus the first book covers a relatively long time span, but it’s quite smartly constructed and a very compelling narrative.
BROWN: A book that celebrates family, chosen or given.
Even just from the title, you can probably guess that The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid involves lots of different relationships: marriages, yes, but also secret romances, friendships, family ties, even complex working partnerships. (Seven degrees of Evelyn Hugo!) There’s glamor and drama and feels galore. And it’s become popular enough that it probably doesn’t need me to hype it up much; I’ll just add my recommendation to the existing chorus.
LIGHT BLUE: A book about star-crossed lovers.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone is one of those books I legitimately have not been able to stop thinking about. You’ve likely already heard great things about this sapphic sci-fi enemies/ rival-agents-to-lovers novella: the prose is gorgeous, the two main characters (and their relationship) captivating, the plot arc twisty and turn-y and epic. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, now is as good a time as ever to get on that.
PINK: A book as sweet as cotton candy.
If you know me at all, you already knew Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston was inevitably going to show up on this list at some point. This is one of my favorite books not just of 2020 but of all time, with one of the absolute fluffiest romances I’ve ever read. I relate absolutely way too much to the walking-disaster bisexual known as Alexander Claremont-Diaz and I would die for Prince Henry Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor of Wales; and I love my friends, but I honestly don’t know that any of them are quite as cool as Nora or June or Pez or Bea.
(Casey McQuiston’s new book One Last Stop would also be a good fit for this one! Mostly I picked RWRB because the cover is pink all over so it’s visually more appealing in a rainbow tag.)
WHITE: A book that isn’t focused on romance.
Although it was not a huge hit among reviewers, Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp is a Quiet (Contemporary) YA novel centered on two best friends, one of whom has died under circumstances that their insulated Alaska town refuses to divulge. The development is gradual, more creeping than thrilling, but it’s a very atmospheric read. It has asexual, pansexual, and mental health representation written by an author who identifies as nonbinary, queer, and disabled.
🔗 RELATED POST: [Book Recs] Quiet YA & NA
RAINBOW: Free choice! Recommend any LGBTQIA+ book that you love.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I loved Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert, about a gay Chinese-American boy from Cupertino, CA (i.e., the Silicon Valley) bound for RISD, up against anxiety about his friend group’s impending separation and some dark family secrets. Obviously I loved and related to the NorCal and queer East Asian-American and mental health representation, as well as the fact that romance is less of a focus than the friendships and familial relationships, but overall it’s just a really well-told story with nuanced characters and poignant insights.
Read the Rainbow Tag: PROMPTS
- RED: A book that gives you courage or is about courage.
- ORANGE: A book with a passionate/fierce protagonist.
- YELLOW: A book that celebrates friendship.
- GREEN: A Middle Grade book and/or a book featuring kids.
- BLUE: A book which includes a wedding or an already-established LGBTQIA+ couple.
- PURPLE: A book featuring love at first sight.
- BLACK: A book centered on an antihero or villain.
- BROWN: A book that celebrates family, chosen or given.
- LIGHT BLUE: A book about star-crossed lovers.
- PINK: A book as sweet as cotton candy.
- WHITE: A book that isn’t focused on romance.
- RAINBOW: Free choice! Recommend any LGBTQIA+ book that you love.
Matching the cover to the prompt is not at all necessary — I just like to make things difficult for myself for no real reason. You can interpret the prompts however you like; you can pick and choose from the list if you can’t fill or don’t like all of them. Also feel free to use my post header, as long as you give credit, and make sure to tag me so I can see your responses!