Apparently I somehow missed this Pride book tag in my search earlier this month, but luckily I was tagged by the creator, V @ The Sassy Library Fox! As always, I’m going to make things more challenging for myself — this time, by not repeating any of the books I used for my (original) Read the Rainbow tag.
- Thank whoever tagged you and link to their blog post.
- Link to the original creator: The Sassy Library Fox! And please credit The Sassy Library Fox if you use (copy & paste) the artwork/ graphics.
- Match books with the given prompts.
- Tag as many people as you like!
- Post the rules and the list of prompts in your tag post.
FEMALE STRENGTH: A book with a lesbian heroine
I don’t read a ton of MG, but Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake is really something special. The plot is charmingly straightforward, a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance for a twelve-year-old girl who likes drawing … and maybe her classmate and new friend, who is also a girl. And making things more complicated, as the middle child she feels unwanted in the aftermath of the tornado that destroyed her family’s home. Seriously, my heart hurt for Ivy as I rooted for her to find happiness.
CINNAMON ROLL: A book with an adorable gay character
My review of Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales actually opens with the note that the main character, Ollie, is an absolute cinnamon roll: “a fiercely loyal and supportive friend, a patient and helpful big cousin/nephew, and he makes the dorkiest jokes” though he sometimes displays teenage snark and cynicism. You’ll love him, if you still have yet to read this book (go do it).
BOYS & GIRLS: A book with bi rep done right
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan remains one of my favorites — not just a favorite book featuring a bisexual protagonist, but honestly a favorite book of all time. I related a lot to Elliot, the aforementioned bisexual protagonist, being awkward and sarcastic and bookish and maybe just a little obsessed with mermaids. While there’s nothing wrong with sexuality-discovery narratives, I really appreciate that bisexuality is matter-of-factly shown to be just one aspect of Elliot’s identity; he confidently challenges biphobia and bi erasure, but it’s not a source of internal conflict. None of his romances or crushes are portrayed as superior or inferior to others, regardless of gender or whether they’re endgame.
THE BODY & THE SOUL: A book with a transgender character
Did you know that Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas has ownvoices queer Latinx representation? (If you keep up with recent releases, probably yes. But in any case, you do now!) It’s got an interesting exploration of how the trans protagonist Yadriel fits into a binary gendered magic system and cisheteronormative community, plus spooky Día de los Muertos vibes.
WE’RE ALL QUEER: Queer rep you’d love to see more often in books
Although I managed to find enough titles to fill a book recs post, I will never say no to more demisexual rep, like in Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. It’s gradually becoming better-known and better-accepted, especially compared to when I first realized I was demisexual, but there’s still a ways to go. (Though at the same time, I appreciate that Radio Silence really focuses more on friendship than on romance — I’m into platonic queer solidarity too.)
ALL ABOUT PRONOUNS: A book with a non-binary character
Though they aren’t the main character, Loki Sun-Wagner — nonbinary and Chinese-Canadian, with two dads — is a main character in A Hundred Names for Magic by Rin Chupeco, which has a broadly diverse cast who are super supportive of each other. They’re awesome and badass and funny. And I mean, in case you missed it, their name is Loki, which is absolutely and delightfully perfect.
A ROMANTIC ACE: A character that belongs to the aro/ace spectrum
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee features a romantic ace protagonist navigating newfound Internet fame for her role in a web series adaptation of Anna Karenina (hence the book title). The book features lovely friendships and familial relationships, a knowledgeable portrayal of fandom culture, and well-meaning callouts of problematic beliefs.
ONE BIG FAMILY: A book that features lots of different LGBTQ+ rep
The prompt asks for a single book, but I don’t think it’s cheating for me to pick the whole Sidekick Squad series by C.B. Lee since although each book centers on a different character, the diverse main cast appear in every book. Not Your Sidekick is mostly about Jess (bisexual; Chinese & Vietnamese American), Not Your Villain about Bells (trans; Black American), Not Your Backup about Emma (aroace/questioning; Latina American); Not Your Hero will be about Abby (Jess’s girlfriend).
SAPPHIC LOVE: Your favorite F/F couple
You know what’s really hard to find? Major characters who are queer and non-stereotypically neurodiverse. So I was so grateful to discover that the sapphic main pairing in Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant includes an explicitly autistic young woman with social anxiety. Olivia and Tory’s relationship is based on hard-earned mutual trust and respect, which I rarely find to be so satisfyingly well-developed, especially in a standalone novel.
BOYS LOVE: Your M/M OTP
Since I am — by my own unnecessary rules — not allowed to reuse Red, White & Royal Blue to say FirstPrince, I will go with Pynch (Parrish x Lynch, aka Adam x Ronan) from the Raven Cycle and the Dreamer Trilogy. What can I say, I just love a pairing that are each brilliant in their own ways but bring out the dumbass in each other but also balance each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Really hoping to see more of them together in the latest installment, Mister Impossible (preordered & own it, haven’t read it yet, please no spoilers).
SIDEKICK: Your favorite LGBTQ+ side character
This one took me a while to be able to answer, honestly, because I’ve read so many LGBTQIA+ main characters that it doesn’t leave much memory space for the side characters. But I guess Vivi from The Folk of the Air by Holly Black stands out somewhat, as a protective, supportive, and casually bisexual older sister. She’s pretty freaking great, I’d love to grow up to be like her.
STEALING THE SHOW: An LGBTQ+ side character couple that rocks your socks
Considering they appear in the background of so many of Rick Riordan’s Greek & Roman mythology series (plural) — Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, Trials of Apollo — Solangelo (Will Solace x Nico di Angelo) really deserve to be the center of their own series. They’re a literal sunshine/ shadow (or yin/ yang, if you prefer) match, totally perfect for each other.
(Official character art by Viktoria Ridzel, aka Viria!)
STRONG BELIEFS: An LGBTQ+ book that deals with religion
I think Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown is a pretty standard pick for a prompt like this, but honestly the only other example that comes to mind is the Raven Cycle and the Dreamer Trilogy, which I’ve already used in this tag. What makes Georgia Peaches relatively unique is that the protagonist is out-and-proud at the beginning but returns to the closet because her evangelist father moves them to a conservative town, but of course you can’t turn off attraction to other girls.
RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE: A book with an unapologetic cover
There could hardly be a better match for this prompt than Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan; there’s absolutely no mistaking this for an allocishet book. Although admittedly it has been a very long time since I read this book, I originally gave it a full 5 stars and noted that I really liked the scope of the narrative, with multiple gay characters and experiences beyond the titular premise.
FUTURE GENERATIONS: Your most anticipated LGBTQ+ release
I can only pick one??? But there’s so many!
Well, I already mentioned Not Your Hero as part of the Sidekick Squad series, so probably A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee, author of the Feverwake duology: it’s sapphic dark academia, compared to Wilder Girls and Ninth House, about witchcraft and mysterious deaths and boarding school. (Expected publication: August 2021.)