It’s that time of the month again…
…and by that I mean it’s time for me to list some book recommendations for Pride Month and beyond!!
I made a similar post last year, about books with intersectional queer rep, but a few of those were by white authors. Because of semi-recent discourse on book twitter concerning bad QPOC rep by a white author, I decided that this time I’d focus on books about QPOC by QPOC, because it can’t get better than that!! The QPOC experience is often hard to understand unless you’ve lived it yourself, so these ownvoices stories are incredibly important.
I haven’t read all of these books, but my point in including all of them is to show that there’s a wide selection of books that you can pick from that aren’t by white authors and aren’t about white people. And especially during Pride month, when people will pick up white m/m and ignore everything else—by ignoring QPOC, specifically Black trans people, you are ignoring the very origins of Pride.
When I began reading LGBTQIAP+ books, I started with a lot of white m/m books. These were books that were heavily promoted and hyped in the community, and though it was on me to put in the effort to find more diverse books, it was also on all the people hyping those books who refused to branch out. So I hope this post can help you to find new books that will add a lot more variety (and actual flavor) to what you read. It’s never too late to start diversifying your reads!!
This took me like 10 hours to put together, and though I’d appreciate whatever support you give me personally, I’d love for you to consider donating to one of these Black trans funds/organizations to show support for actual queer Black people in need! <33 Click for more BLM resources.
- sign petitions
- text/call/email people
- stream this video (ad revenue will be donated, don’t skip ads!)
- donate to the George Floyd gofundme
- donate to the Gianna Floyd (his daughter) gofundme
- donate to the Breonna Taylor gofundme
- donate to the Ahmaud Arbery gofundme
- donate to these bail funds, research local ones near you too
- donate to these organizations
- donate to small Black businesses that were destroyed
- donate to protesting youth on the frontlines
- buy from Black-owned bookstores
- protest, if you can be safe/healthy! wear a mask, tips on overall safety
- I put together a list of just a few YA books by Black authors to read on Goodreads
In case you want to quickly scan the list for certain types of representation (keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily the same identity as the author), I’ll be using the symbols below. If I get anything wrong, particularly for the books I haven’t read, please let me know! I probably spent at least 2 hours looking for specific rep notes for these books so my brain is fried lmao.
🖤 unspecified LGBTQIAP+ identity/queer used as a label
🌷 Latinx (not all Latinx people are POC, so if one of the books in this list actually has a white Latinx character, please let me know!)
🌹 unspecified POC
/ to distinguish between multiple QPOC main characters
(+) QPOC love interest
*** I didn’t include pansexual and aromantic because unfortunately I only had one book for each of those identities :(( but they are mentioned in the post!
LIST LAST UPDATED: JULY 27, 2020
(will be adding more books when possible)
READ AND RECOMMENDED
- Darius the Great is Not Okay: 💝🌼 This is one of my favorite books, and it’s about depression, identity, and friendship and family. Its messages and themes are just so heartwrenching and well-written, and I may or may not have cried reading it!!
- When the Moon Was Ours: 🖤🌷/💙🌼 (m/f) I desperately need to reread this book, but this is my favorite from Anna-Marie McLemore (who is one of my all-time favorite authors). It features a queer Latina girl and a trans Pakistani boy!
- Wild Beauty: 💜🌷 (m/f + side f/f) Yes another book by them… It’s called Anna-Marie McLemore supremacy baby!! All of the Latina Nomeolvides women are bisexual so it’s just one big bisexual family and I love it. And of course the writing is gorgeous as always.
- The Stars and the Blackness Between Them: 💗🌻x2 (f/f) This is a book I will shout about until the end of time until more people read it, because though the homophobia and illness can be heartbreaking, it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read. And the f/f romance is so tender!!
- The Weight of the Stars: 💗🌻 (f/f) This was one of my favorite books last year, and… let me tell you I have extreme taste because: butch lesbians in love, found family, and space!! Gays in space!!! The endings is one of my favorite endings ever, and I cried so much over it.
- The Wicker King: 💜🌹 (m/m) Another book by K Ancrum (who is a Black intersex author!) because she is superior and I will read everything from her. This one is darker, with an exploration of mental health and codependency, and it’s so GOOD. *I saw that it said “mixed” for one of the MC’s race in a report thing in the book, but I’m not sure which races specifically.
- Beneath the Citadel: 💜🌹/💚🌹 (m/m) I’m saddened by how few people have read this, but I love it so much! It features heists, found family, and so many good plot twists. Also to be clear: the romance is between a bisexual POC boy and a gay white boy! The asexual girl is not in a relationship.
- Anger is a Gift: 💝🌻(+) (m/m) This book is about police brutality, which is always significant but especially so right now. I was also sobbing non-stop for 30 minutes when I read this, so that’s exciting! It’s a brutal yet beautiful story to get through.
- The Henna Wars: 💗🌼 (+💜🌻🌷) (f/f) I still get warm feelings in my stomach when I think about this one, its sweet romance, and its excellent QPOC rep! It features a Bangladeshi Muslim lesbian and an Afro-Brazilian bisexual girl, and I adored it so much.
- You Should See Me in a Crown: 🖤🌻 (f/f) If you want a book that’ll make you smile, this one is for you!! I loved all the relationships in this book: the sweet f/f romance, the family vibes (which… I may or may not have cried a bit over), and the really lovely friendships.
- The Grief Keeper: 💗🌷 (f/f) This book does a fantastic job of exploring trauma and grief, and I adored it with all my heart. I thought the buildup of the story (and the !!romantic tension!!) was so well-done, and I convinced my English teacher to buy it after she read my 1600-word long written analysis of it, so you should buy it too.
- Felix Ever After: 🖤💙🌻(+🖤🌻🌼) (demiboy/m) This was such a gorgeous, moving book about self-love and identity, and I love Felix with my entire heart! I love how messy teens making messy decisions, coming-of-age it feels, and for once I did not hate the love triangle!
- Full Disclosure: 💜🤍🌻 (m/f) The romance in this book made me YEARN so much, and I loved the friendships just as equally!! I thought this was such a beautiful story that simply feels like such an authentic teen experience (I mean, the author is super young!).
- The Black Flamingo: 💝🌻 I just finished this one, and it was absolutely amazing. It follows a Black gay boy from his years from primary school to university as he comes to terms with his identity, and it’s written beautifully in verse!
- They Both Die at the End: 💝🌷/💜🌷 (m/m) If I say this book pulled off insta-love, to the point that it made me cry, then you Know it’s good. It’s just such a heartbreaking story with beautiful messages about what it means to live life and find love while you’re still alive.
- More Happy Than Not: 💝🤍🌷 Yes, another Adam Silvera book, and it of course made me cry too! This one is much heavier with a focus on mental health, sexuality, and what it means to be happy, but it explores these things so well, complete with an intriguing futuristic setting.
- Final Draft: pan 🌷 (+💗🌼) (f/f) This book is on the quieter side, with a focus on the characters and their relationships, and I adored it. The main character is also a writer, which I especially loved to read about, and there’s a great exploration of mental health!
- Summer Bird Blue: aro-spec 💚🤍🌼 (m/f) I related so much to Rumi’s questioning, in a way that I didn’t expect, so I’ll always love this book for that! Though it’s a beautiful book, it’s also absolutely heartbreaking because it deals with the grief of losing a sister. (It made me cry so much!!)
- Girls of Paper and Fire: 🖤🌼x2 (f/f) This book has been tainted by my low opinion of its sequel but… ignoring that, this was the first book I saw two Asian girls in love, fighting oppression, and it meant the world to me! I also loved reading all the various Asian cultures included.
- Not Your Sidekick: 💜🌼 (f/f) Reading this was such an enjoyable experience (I binged it!), and if you’re looking for a fun superhero book with a cute f/f romance, this is it. Also finally a Southeast Asian (specifically Chinese-Vietnamese) bisexual girl!!
- We Set the Dark on Fire: 🖤🌷(+💗🌷) (f/f) The writing in this is beautiful, and the concept is, taken from my Goodreads review, “imagine being a weak straight man and your two wives don’t love you, and instead fall in love with each other. instantly crushed.” (I also convinced my English teacher to buy this one too, so follow her suit!!)
- Girl, Serpent, Thorn (Jul 7): 💜🖤🌼 (f/f) While there was more I wanted from this book, I still enjoyed it! The writing is absolutely exquisite and reads just like a fairy tale, and it really is a beautiful story about loneliness, self-loathing, and what it truly means to be a “monster”.
- Aristotle and Dante: 💝🌷x2 (m/m) I’m including this book because it holds a lot of personal significance to me. But it’s truly is like the only ownvoices QPOC book that people will pick up before calling it a day, so be sure to also pick up the other equally amazing books I listed above!! Note that in the past the author has harassed reviewers, and the main character’s brother assaulted a trans woman and this act is not condemned for being transphobic.
ON MY TBR
- All Boys Aren’t Blue: 💝🌻 This is a memoir about being Black and queer, and I feel like it’s going to be one of those books that’s required reading for everyone!
- The Sound of Stars: 💜💛🌻 (m/f) First of all, the cover is so gorgeous, second of all, this is a sci-fi love letter to books and music, and I love that concept so so much.
- I’ll Be the One (Jun 16): 💜🌼x2 (m/f) A Korean (fat) bisexual girl and a Korean bisexual boy in a romance!!! Asian bisexual me is thriving.
- Cinderella is Dead (Jul 7): 💗🌻 (f/f) I would already read this for the pretty girl on the cover, but a Black lesbian in a Cinderella retelling overthrowing the patriarchy is another great reason!!
- The Black Veins: 💜🌻x2/🖤🌷 Found family made up of multiple people of color and/or queer people go on a road trip in a world full of magic?? Yes please!!!
- Tell Me How You Really Feel: 💗🌼/💗🌷 (f/f) Hate to love lesbians of color yes please!!! And I know it’s been a year but I’m still in love with this cover.
- Pet: 💙🌻 Honestly this book just sounds so unique, discussing the presence of evil when no one else will acknowledge it. Also a Black trans girl MC!! I love her already!!
- Juliet Takes a Breath: 💗🌷(+🖤🌼) (f/f) This is about figuring out what it means to be a Puerto Rican lesbian and features discussions about intersectional vs white feminism!
- This is Kind of an Epic Love Story: 🖤🌻(+💝🌷) (m/m) Cute best friends to lovers romance between two boys of color (and one has a hearing disability!).
- Scavenge the Stars: 💜🌹/💛🌹 I have never read the Count of Monte Cristo, but this is a retelling of that and it’s about getting revenge which I ADORE in books!!
- The Good Luck Girls: 🖤🌻 This is another book that sounds so unique!! It involves Black girls searching for freedom and revenge in a world that refuses them these things.
- Shatter the Sky: 💜🌹/🖤🌹 (f/f) I only know that this is about a girl going to save her girlfriend with a dragon and that’s also all you need to know too.
- A Line in the Dark: 💗🌼 (f/f) I’m so mad at myself that I still haven’t read this, because it’s a thriller with (Asian) lesbians, and that is legitimately all I’ve ever wanted.
- The Never-Tilting World: 💗🌹/💜🌹 (f/f) I’ve gathered that this is f/f with the bodyguard trope and also goddesses and also based on Filipino culture so how could I have not read this yet!!
- Don’t Date Rosa Santos: 💜🌷 (m/f) This seems to have a cute romance plus a focus on family (grandmother and mother) and it’s just adored by all my friends!!
- This is What it Feels Like: 💗🌻 (f/f) I’ve been meaning to read this for so long: A soft contemporary about recovery and connection through music? With a pretty girl on the cover??
- Let’s Talk About Love: 💜💚🌻 (m/f) This features a cute romance, lots of friendship, and also that gorgeous girl on the cover! (Hoping to read this soon and if I don’t love it I’ll be so sad.)
- If It Makes You Happy: 🖤🌻 (m/f) The Goodreads blurb says “the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes” and all I have to say to that is: yes.
- Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel: 💗🌼 (f/f) Someone told me this was friends to enemies to lovers and I don’t know if it’s true but [eye emoji x 10].
- We Are Totally Normal: 💝🤍🌼(+🖤🌼) (m/m) There was discourse on book twitter about this one and its questioning rep… Some of my friends love it, others hate it, and somehow that just makes me want to read it more to see how I’d feel about it!
- Cemetery Boys (Sep 1): 💙💝🌷(+💝🌷) (m/m) I am so, so excited for this one. I mean, trans Latinx brujo and a boy whose ghost he accidentally summons! (And the author is so funny on twitter, I love them.)
- The Summer of Everything (Sep 8): 💝🌻(+🖤🌷) (m/m) A bookstore, (annoying) sibling relationships, and alt rock… sounds like my kind of jam.
- Each of Us a Desert (Sep 15): 🖤🌷 (f/f) F/f Latinx excellence! This is set in a desert, and I’m actually really excited to see how Oshiro’s writing will work in a fantasy!!
- Miss Meteor (Sep 22): 🖤🌷 (f/f) More f/f Latinx excellence with the amazing author duo of Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia… I love it.
- How It All Blew Up (Sep 22): 💝🌼 Even though he had to run away to avoid messy things, the main character gets to chill in Rome with gays and I personally would love to live that life.
- Last Night at the Telegraph Club (Jan 19): 💗🌼 (f/f) I’m not usually the biggest fan of historical fiction but… lesbian nightclub… in San Francisco…
- Bruised (Mar 23): 🖤🌹 This coming-of-age story follows a girl after her parents die in an accident as she navigates grief, first love, and strength (featuring roller derby!).
- Afterlove (Jun 10): 💗🌷🌼 (f/f) The blurb says “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read,” and it also talks about the afterlife… lesbians in the afterlife!!!
[no covers yet]
- The Mirror Season (Mar 16): 🖤🌷 (m/f?) Any book from Anna-Marie McLemore is going on my TBR, okay? This one about trauma is going to ruin me, though.
- Ace of Spades (2021): 💝🌻/💗🌻 This is a thriller featuring a Black gay MC and Black lesbian MC, and I’m a sucker for thrillers and also wlw/mlm soldarity!
- Rise to the Sun (2021): 🖤🌻 (f/f) I will read anything by Leah Johnson now, and this next book features another f/f romance but this time with a music festival involved!
- This is Why They Hate Us (2022): 💜🌷 (m/m?) The Goodreads blurb sounds absolutely amazing (and I already see some bi boy/bi girl solidarity happening and I LOVE it).
PERSONALLY DIDN’T LIKE BUT YOU MIGHT
This section has very few books (which is great!), but I still wanted to include them. While I personally may not have liked these books, someone else might love and find themselves represented in them!
- Like a Love Story: 💝🌼 (m/m) My 2-star rating of this is probably my most unpopular opinion ever, because pretty much everyone loves this, so there’s a very strong chance you will too! I was annoyed by it and had a few issues with the actual craft of it, but I do think it’s a great story about queer activism, specifically with the AIDS crisis.
- Odd One Out: 💗🌻/💜🌼/🤍 This was a miss for me since I remember reading a few biphobic and transphobic things that weren’t called out. But I’m still including it because 1) I read an ARC, so those things might have changed, and 2) I know that this is a book that a lot of people loved for its questioning rep. So this is totally a “definitely not for me, but it might mean everything for you” book!
- The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea: 🖤🌼/💙🌻 (f/genderfluid) I didn’t particularly care about the characters or romance in this book, but it does have great things to offer with its representation and also messages about colonialism, imperialism, and misogyny. So maybe you might like it more than I did!
- How to be Remy Cameron: 💝🌻(+💝🌼🌷) (m/m) I enjoyed this better than the author’s debut, but the writing still wasn’t my favorite, and I didn’t really care about the characters. But if you enjoy character-driven stories about self-discovery and identity, try this one out!
have you read any of these? do you have any books to add to my list, especially any upcoming releases? what are some of your favorite QPOC books??