Six for Sunday: Favourite LGBT Books
Welcome back to another week of #SixforSunday
The theme for this week is favourite LGBT books. As always, when I first heard the theme I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with enough books for the prompt, but once I got started I managed it quite quickly!
I tied to focus on books that had LGBT issues as a main theme, rather than simply featuring a character or characters who identify with a non hetero-normative sexuality. Here are a few I have read and enjoyed!
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Lie #1: I’m not afraid
Lie #2: I’m sure I’m doing the right thing
Lie #3: I don’t care what they think of me
It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist.
Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore.
Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.
‘The main characters are terrific in what is a moving YA novel. And an important one.’ – The Telegraph’
This is so thought-provoking it almost hurts to read it, yet every word is needed, is necessary and consequently this is a novel that lingers long after you’ve finished it’ – Lovereading
‘This is an emotional and compelling read that I did not want to put down. It is […]beautifully written and the tension just simmers on the pages.’ – Bookbabblers
‘This book packs a very powerful punch’ – Historical Novel Society
‘With great characterisation, tough issues covered, and a plot which had me guessing right up until the last pages, this is a must-read. Massively recommended!’ – The Bookbag
‘This exceptional novel of first love and sexual awakenings is set against a backdrop of shocking racism and prejudice. It is incredibly well written as the tense, riveting story seamlessly combines fiction with historical fact.’ – Booktrust
‘Every now and then a Young Adult book comes along that I want to push into every readers hands both young and old and Lies We Tell Ourselves is that book for 2014’ – Jess Hearts Books
‘Talley has mixed two controversial topics together to create a firecracker of a story’ – Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog
I picked this up from my library knowing nothing about it and was completely blown away by the way it transported me into a period of history, highlighting issues I hadn’t known much about and making me care so deeply about Sarah and Linda. I would highly recommend this book!
Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.
But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
May and Nell’s relationship in this is so sweet and realistic, particularly as they have to overcome their differences of class, political views and upbringing as well as allowing their relationship to develop in a time and society where views are still largely hetero-normative.
Death in the Spotlight (Murder Most Unladylike #7) by Robin Stevens
Someone will take their final bow . . .
Fresh from their adventure in Hong Kong, Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are off to the Rue Theatre in London to face an entirely new challenge: acting.
But the Detective Society is never far away from danger, and it’s clear there’s trouble afoot at the Rue.
Jealousy, threats and horrible pranks quickly spiral out of control – and then a body is found.
Now Hazel and Daisy must take centre stage and solve the crime . . . before the murderer strikes again.
I hesitated about including this one in case I am spoiling anyone, but the author has done numerous interviews on this topic so I had heard about the reveal of Daisy’s sexuality before I read the book. There have been a number of hints dropped in earlier books – I remember being surprised at how openly two of the female school teachers talked about living together in Book 1. It’s so important that discussions about sexuality and representation happen in books aimed at younger readers as well as in teenage and adult literature. I love Daisy and Hazel and I love how they have developed as characters over these seven books. The way Daisy comes out and the way Hazel handles it is just perfect and I cannot wait to see what these two do next!
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.
I loved the idea that the princesses can save themselves and loved the image of Snow White swapping her wedding dress for armour to set off on an adventure.
Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
Poor Noah Grimes!
His dad disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran isn’t herself anymore. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL.
Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light?
But Noah’s plans for romance are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to
worse utter chaos.
I was really glad to see a UK YA book dealing with coming-of-age and coming out, but I have to admit that I found reading this book painfully awkward – the situations Noah gets himself into, the silly things he says all conspire to make this a book that I cringed throughout! However, that doesn’t stop it from being a great book!
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
I couldn’t make this list without including Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda as it has been one of the most popular and influential LGBT books in the last year, especially with the movie coming out.
What are some of your favourite LGBT books?
Would knowing that a book is LGBT make you want to read it?
What are some of your favourite tropes in LGBT books?
Let me know in the comments!
#SixforSunday is created by Steph from A Little But a Lot.
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Thanks for reading!