June is Pride Month, and there are so many incredible books that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. From heart-warming YA reads, moving memoirs and contemporary fiction, here are a few that we think should immediately make their way onto your TBR list!
All Boys Aren’t Blue (George M. Johnson)
This is a series of personal essays by journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist, George M. Johnson. He explores his childhood, adolescence and college years. Covering topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy, this book both educates and celebrates. This story is raw, powerful, extremely honest and absolutely fascinating.
Clap When You Land (Elizabeth Acevedo)
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance and secrets, the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. When it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. This book has such a diverse ensemble of characters, it’s brilliantly written and the concept is so unique.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
Aging and reclusive movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her life. She chooses unknown Monique Grant for the job, and regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her, Monique is determined to use this as a way to kick start her career. Evelyn shares her life story, revealing ruthless ambition, true friendships and a forbidden love, and Monique begins to connect with the actress. But as her story continues, it becomes clear that the two lives are woven together in tragic and irreversible ways. This is one of my all-time favourite books, and although it’s fiction, it touches on many real events, including the Stonewall riots.
Red, White & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston)
What happens when the First Son of the United States falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Starting off despising each other, their relationship grows and turns into a secret love – a romance that could upend two nations. Can they find the courage and the power to be the people they are meant to be, and can they let their true colours shine through? This story is one that has appeared a lot over Instagram and on book blogs, and I can see why it’s so popular. I’ve listened to the audiobook of this, and it’s funny, entertaining and great escapism
This Is How It Always Is (Laurie Frankel)
Meet Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
The family wants Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.
This book is beautiful, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. With a big, warm family at the heart of it all, This Is How It Always Is follows how the family deals with this, and their journey, and it’s wonderful to read.
Swimming in the Dark (Tomasz Jedrowski)
Set in 1980s Communist Poland, Swimming in the Dark is Jedrowski’s debut novel about a forbidden love between two men. University student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, and he is fascinated, though wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair.
Call Me By Your Name (Andre Aciman)
Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
We Have Always Been Here (Samra Habib)
Samra Habib’s memoir is a story of faith, hope and love, and starts with her growing up as part of a threatened minority sect in Pakistan, and follows her arrival in Canada as a refugee, before escaping an arranged marriage at sixteen. When she realised she was queer, it was yet another way she felt like an outsider. So begins a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. We Have Always Been Here shows how Muslims can embrace queer sexuality, and families can embrace change.