16 wonderfully queer books that you’ve probably never heard of (AND WHY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!)

Celebrating queerness* and supporting our friends in the LGBTQIAP+ community is something we definitely ought to do all year round, but it doesn’t hurt to cheer a little louder and to go the extra mile whenever our calendars hit the month of June!

Otherwise known as Pride Month, June is an incredibly meaningful time for several reasons. It is a celebration of three of the most beautiful things: love, identity, and expression. It recognizes the many hard-earned triumphs of the LGBTQIAP+ community and its allies. Most of all, amidst all the parades and colorful festivals, Pride Month is a continued protest that seeks and clamors for true equality. Lest we forget, the month of June was selected to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, which have played a very pivotal role in the progress we’ve made as a society in dismantling the prejudice, discrimination, and oppression experienced by our LGBTQIAP+ friends.

Needless to say, as someone who believes in the importance of diversity and representation in all forms of media (including books and literature), I just could not let this month pass by without writing at least one tiny tribute to the historical relevance and meaningfulness of Pride — and what better way to do that than to share a list of wonderfully written stories spearheaded by queer characters?

For this list, I’ve selected a whopping total of sixteen (16) queer books that, in my opinion, need to be picked up by more readers! Undiscovered, underrated, or underhyped — call these titles whatever you like, but one thing is clear: y’all better stop sleeping on these hidden gems and start reading.**

* Just a quick note that “queer” is a reclaimed umbrella term, but I don’t mean to individually label all LGBTQIAP+ members as queer, especially if it causes them discomfort.
** Admittedly, I am calling myself out on this, too, because some of these books are still gathering dust on the top of my mountainous TBR pile.

Start Here anthology edited by Brigitte Bautista & Ronald S. Lim

🌟 Start Here anthology edited by Brigitte Bautista & Ronald S. Lim

Me being me, I just had to… start here. All my terrible attempts at making jokes aside, Start Here remains to be my all-time favorite release from the #romanceclass authors. Comprised of delightful meet-cute stories with Filipino characters (all #ownvoices!), this anthology is proudly queer and guaranteed to make even the coldest of hearts melt. It features F/F, M/M and F/NB pairings — all of whom get the beautiful happy endings they deserve! I honestly cannot recommend this anthology enough times.

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The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

🌟 The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

I have read several books authored by Elise Kova, but I definitely love The Alchemists of Loom the most! This action-packed steampunk fantasy is set in an entirely pansexual society*. If that little tidbit completely blew your mind the way it made mine explode in the most wondrous way, here are some other elements to look forward to: dragons as cruel oppressors, an engineer-turned-thief as a heroine, alchemy and clockwork machinery, heists pulled off by unlikely allies, and ridiculously magnificent world-building. (If you need further convincing, may I just add that this book is on sale on Amazon Kindle? Buy it for only $0.99!)

* According to the author’s tweet: “Fenthri on Loom have no notion of families/marriage as we do. So they’re romantically/physically involved with whoever they want to be with – man, woman, otherwise.”

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Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth

🌟 Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth

Honest to all the gods out there, whenever I encounter a person whining about “too much” or “forced” diversity in books (and yes, this does occasionally happen, I regret to say), my knee-jerk reaction is mentally slapping them in the face. Hard. With a paperback copy of this book.

LISTEN UP! Secondhand Origin Stories has given the world a truly tremendous gift: teenage superheroes of color, with disabilities, and fall within the beautiful queer spectrum. I won’t be delving into the specifics, but I will say that there’s a certain gender-fluid shapeshifter who will steal the heck out of your hearts!

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Related: Unveiling the cover for Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (ft. an INT’L giveaway!)
No Two Ways by Chi Yu Rodriguez

🌟 No Two Ways by Chi Yu Rodriguez

No Two Ways follows the story of a STEM heroine who somehow ends up on national television, where she is reacquainted with a previous one-night stand and an ex-boyfriend who still thinks she left him because she’s a lesbian.

I am ashamed to say that this has been gathering virtual specks of dust on my Kindle reader, but I am very excited to eventually pick this #romanceclass novel up! I mean, we’ve got a bisexual Filipino woman as our main character! Y’ALL I’M HYPED AND READY FOR THIS. (By the way, this little beauty of a book only costs $1.99 on Kindle! Buy it and let’s do a buddy read!)

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Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera

🌟 Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera

Another #romanceclass title that I haven’t read yet? Oof. But in any case, Another Word for Happy is a poignant story that deals with a young gay boy learning about his sexuality and the hardships come with it, especially in an extremely conservative, predominantly Catholic community. Knowing how deeply rooted these prejudices are in the Philippines, I believe that this short novel is extremely important and would touch the hearts of so many people.

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Soft on Soft by Mira Waheed

🌟 Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

Soft on Soft is Mira Waheed’s debut novel and it follows the lives of an anxious, pansexual, Middle Eastern makeup artist rising to Instagram fame and a black demisexual model with her own established following.

This is a contemporary novella about two fat, queer women of color falling in love with each other in a delightfully soft and fluffy way. With Soft on Soft, you get exactly what the title suggests — a light story you can easily sink your teeth into. (Have I mentioned that this sweetness in book form only costs $2.99? What a steal!)

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Related: 21 Sapphic romances that’ll make your heart soft on Valentine’s Day
Come Drink with Me by Michelle Kan

🌟 Come Drink With Me by Michelle Kan

Among all the titles on this list, Come Drink With Me is the book I know the least about. I only know vague elements that this quaint novella has: a dragon, a phoenix, and an opera house. STILL. Described as an “aromantic Chinese fairytale” written by a Chinese author, I was immediately intrigued and added this to my TBR without any further questions. It does not hurt that Michelle Kan’s Come Drink With Me has been highly praised by my good friend and trusted source of quality recommendations, CW @ The Quiet Pond.

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Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss

🌟 Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss

Learning Curves is a New Adult novella that revolves around the love story between two graduate students — a biracial lesbian of color and a panromantic asexual diagnosed with ADHD. Both remarkably career-driven and ambitious, these two women slowly go from studying together in the library to becoming permanent fixtures in each other’s story. This is a lighthearted Sapphic romance I definitely don’t want to miss out on!

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She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya

🌟 She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya

Written by a South Asian trans woman, She of the Mountains is an award-winning illustrated novel that tackles two main narratives, namely, a nuanced queer love story and a reimagining of Hindu mythology. This book really delves into the damaging effects that stem from policing gender and sexuality, which remains to be a very timely and relevant discussion in this day and age.

I think it is also worth noting that She of the Mountains has been selected as one of the 2019 Year of the Asian Reading Challenge recommended reads for June!

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Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

🌟 Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

This book was personally recommended to me by Laura @ bbliophile, whom I trust for soft and light romance recommendations. Knit One, Girl Two is described as a “fluffy Jewish f/f contemporary set in the author’s childhood home of South Florida.” Its story revolves around two artists, namely, a yarn dryer seeking inspiration and a passionate painter. Art has always been an interest of mine, and I love that it plays such a huge role in this Sapphic romance.

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In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard

🌟 In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

When I first heard of In the Vanishers’ Palace and I learned that it’s a Vietnamese-inspired fantasy reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a wonderful Sapphic twist, I immediately seized the opportunity to read it! Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I hoped I would — which might make it seem weird for me to include this title on my list.

However, although I am personally not a fan of this story, I did appreciate how intuitive and well-integrated the diversity is (if that makes any sense). Aside from two queer women falling in love, it also features non-binary characters of color. I do think that In the Vanishers’ Palace would highly appeal to a niche audience, especially to those who are interested in a read that’s speculative, no-holds-barred, and unapologetically unconventional.

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The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

🌟 The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

If there’s anything you can count on from Amy Rose Capetta’s work, it’s unapologetic in-your-face queerness. I recently added one of her latest novels, The Lost Coast, into my TBR after reading the first sentence of its synopsis: “The spellbinding tale of six queer witches forging their own paths, shrouded in the mist, magic, and secrets of the ancient California redwoods.” Just like that, I was completely, utterly sold and I look forward to picking this one up!

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Graham's Delicacies by Mina Waheed

🌟 Graham’s Delicacies by Mina Waheed

This contemporary novella revolves around six queer characters and tells a total of three love stories that happen inside the same bakery. This small collection of stories features F/NB, M/M, and M/NB pairings that are sure to have you cheering them on!

Much like her debut Soft on Soft, Mina Waheed’s Graham’s Delicacies promises nothing but light and fluffy, sweet and syrupy romance-y goodness.

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Falling into Place by Sheryn Munir

🌟 Falling into Place by Sheryn Munir

To put it simply, Falling into Place is a slow-burn contemporary Sapphic romance set in urban Indian. In less than 60,000 words, we witness a convincing romantic development between two South Asian women, namely, a semi-closeted lesbian sports journalist and a bisexual commissioning editor with a larger-than-life personality.

I vaguely remember Falling into Place being recommended to me, but it’s high up on my TBR and I can’t wait to give Munir’s debut novella a go!

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Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough

🌟 Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough

When I first glanced at its book cover, I cringed so hard. The colors are spectacularly awful, if I may say so quite bluntly. However, Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here was another case of read-the-first-sentence-of-the-synopsis-and-I-just-had-to: “A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can’t stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.”

Give me my wonderfully Sapphic enemies-to-lovers who are both highly passionate about dismantling the sexist, misogynist and generally prejudiced cultures in elitist academic institutions!

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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

🌟 Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

When I learned that Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens follows the journey of a perpetually awkward half-Indian queer girl who stumbles into the exhilarating world of drag culture, this immediately became a 2019 release I greatly looked forward to. I am stunned and disappointed to see that this title sort of flew past a lot of readers’ radars. I really cannot wait to pick this up!

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I’d love to hear from you!

🌻 Did you find any new queer titles featured in this list? Which ones are you adding to your TBR?

🌻 What are some well-written books with LGBTQIAP+ representation that you think deserves more attention? Recommend them below so I can check them out!

🌻 How are you celebrating this year’s Pride Month?


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20 thoughts on “16 wonderfully queer books that you’ve probably never heard of (AND WHY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!)

  1. Thank you for this list!… I’m slowly working my way outside of my comfort zone when it comes to the books I read so this post is really helpful for me. πŸ™‚

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  2. Ah, I’m really glad to say that I’ve heard about half of the books on this list (and will definitely check out the ones I haven’t!). I’m super excited about the Lost Coast because I’ve heard it’s super super diverse (beyond queer rep!), and also queer witches sounds absolutely amazing!

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  3. This is SUCH a good list!! Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful books. I am super excited to read Soft on Soft now (I can hardly ever find books with demisexual representation!) and I’ve also added Knit One, Girl Two to my TBR. I mean, I love knitting, art, and girls, so it just makes sense!
    I’m celebrating Pride month by writing lots of blogs about it, and reading lots of blogs by wonderful people like you! Thank you so much for sharing this list with the world ❀️

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  4. Ahhh what a fantastic, fantastic list, thank you so much for putting it all together. Only a couple of titles here were familiar to me, but I’m definitely adding more books to my TBR now and keeping this post close-by, thank you for this! ❀

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  5. Love this! I’m familiar with a couple titles but most of these are new to me. I tend to read too much MM, so the sapphic reads on the list are a nice addition to my TBR

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  6. I love this post! I’ve read and adored Come Drink With Me and The Alchemists of Loom, and it always makes me sad to see how little buzz they get. This is a great reminder for me as well, since I haven’t finished the Loom Saga yet.
    Someone recently suggested I should read anthologies to get out of a reading slump, so Start Here seems like the perfect read for me πŸ™‚

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  7. This is such a great list! I’ve been super interested in Mina Waheed’s books because I feel like I see them on twitter all the time (at least Soft on Soft, anyway) and they sound so good. I’m also curious about The Lost Coast because QUEER WITCHES OMG.

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  8. Thank you for making this post– it is great to hear more about some unappreciated books!! The alchemists of loom sounds amazing and I want to read it immediately!! And also secondhand origin stories sound wonderful– I love superheroes and wow I need to read this ASAP as well!!
    Great post!!! πŸ’›

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  9. OMG Shealea this us such a wonderful post! I’m happy to say I knew at least a few books on this list and also I just finished reading She Of The Mountains less than an hour ago! It’s such a beautiful book, I’m sure you’ll love it!
    Thank you for this list ❀️

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