Staff Picks: Best LGBTQ+ Books We've Read

Submitted by Megan Hicks on Thu, 06/13/2019 - 11:00 AM

Colorful painted wooden surface red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet paint pigments laying on top symbolizing the Pride Month Rainbow

June is finally here! This year, June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a monumental part of LGBTQ+ history. Observe Pride Month (aka LGBTQ+ History Month) with these stories featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists recommended by your San José Public Library bloggers.


A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi LeeCover of the novel "The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue" by Mackenzi Lee

I LOVE a good time period piece, and this one was extremely funny! Monty, the main character, is meant to be a well-bred Aristocrat, but he finds his life of upper class parties with socialites BORING! There's nothing Monty enjoys more than misbehaving, drinking a little too much and causing the most scandalous scenes. His father detests this and sends Monty away on a Tour of Europe so he can receive a bit of "refinement." Monty brings his best friend and secret crush Percy along and wants Europe to be their last great adventure before  settling down and behaving like an adult.

This was such a good LGBT+ book! Monty is bisexual and Percy is gay; they both harbor secret feelings for each other but neither can tell for certain how the other feels. Set in a time period where being LGBT was EXTREMELY frowned upon, they both are completely terrified of coming out to each other. This sets the basis for really cute flirting, testing boundaries, and getting a feel for how the other one is feeling. - Penelope G.

The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh LanyonCover of the novel "Hell You Say" by Josh Lanyon

My favorite LBGTQ+ author is Josh Lanyon, and my absolute favorite of Lanyon's series is The Adrien English Mystery Series. ​​​​​​Adrien English is a mystery writer and bookseller who owns a mystery bookstore in Los Angeles. He has, like most protagonists in every mystery series, a habit of tripping over bodies with alarming regularity. By his side (usually grudgingly) is hot LA cop Jake Riordan -- a guy with lots of issues.

This is actually a fairly standard cozy mystery series (albeit somewhat steamy). What I love about it is how real the characters are, and how much I came to care about them over the course of the series. Adrien is funny, smart, and lovable. Jake is... well he's a bad boy crying out to be fixed by the right guy. What's not to love? There's a cast of quirky supporting characters, including Adrien's slightly overbearing mother, that adds a layer of fun. - Stacy T.

Raven the Pirate Princess by Jeremy WhitleyCover of the graphic novel "Princeless vol. 2: Raven the Pirate Princess" by Jeremy Whitley

A spin-off of the amazing series, Princeless, Raven is a skilled pirate captain whose father intended to leave her with his fleet of ships and crew. But after the pirate king died, Raven's brothers locked her up and stole or burned everything dear to her. After her escape, Raven gathers her own all-female pirate crew and takes the seas by storm with the help of her childhood best friend/navigator/crush, Ximena, and first mate and muscle, Katie.

This series is centered around women of diverse backgrounds, skills, and body types, and features several cute queer romances (and love triangles) aboard the ship. Full of action, humor, romance, justice and revenge, this comic has everything you could ask for! Note, SJPL has the first two volumes, the rest can be requested via Link+. - Jessica N.

Less by Andrew Sean GreerCover of the novel "Less" by Andrew Sean Greer

The best LGBTQ+ book I've read recently is Less by Andrew Sean Greer. When I travel, I like to read humorous books about people who are traveling. I selected this book for my 10-hour flights to and from England last month. In the book, Arthur Less, a gay novelist who is about to turn 50, is facing a conundrum. His ex-lover is getting married and he has been invited to the wedding. Less decides the best way to gracefully avoid attending the wedding and survive his 50th birthday is to accept every literary and professional invitation he has received. This takes him on a several months long journey which begins in New York City then on to Mexico, France, Germany, Morocco, India and a few places in between.

The book is full of satirical humor, but also gently and realistically addresses issues such as love, aging, self-worth and the growth that happens when we travel outside of our comfort zone. It was a great travel read and I'm glad I selected it to kick off my summer reading list. - Dana L.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, et al.Cover of "The Bane Chronicles" by Cassandra Clare & other authors

The Bane Chronicles is a collection of eleven short stories, previously published online, that illuminate the life of the enigmatic, flashy, and flamboyant High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane, a character in The Mortal Instruments series.

Why I like it: Experience the life of Brooklyn's (possibly the world's) most fabulous High Warlock, who's exciting life spans centuries in this companion novel to one of my all-time favorite series, the Mortal Instruments. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you may develop a liking to glitter to one of the most beloved LGBTQ+ character in YA fiction. - Alyssa M.

Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and Haden BlackmanBatwoman by J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman

Described as the highest-profile gay superhero to appear in stories published by DC, meet Kate Kane, a Marine who was dishonorably discharged due to Don't Ask Don't Tell after being confronted about her sexuality. With a military background, enough firepower to give the Batcave competition, and occasionally teaming up with Wonder Woman; Batwoman is someone you don't want to miss or mess with. All while keeping her identity a secret from her girlfriend, Commissioner Maggie Sawyer.

Drenched in mythos and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, the Williams and Blackman's run can't be beat. You can also find Batwoman in the fun Bombshells series, which has several queer romances in a retro WW2 alternate universe. Additionally, Batwoman will be getting her own TV series on the CW, played by queer actress Ruby Rose. - Jessica N.

Theft by Finding by David SedarisCover of "Theft by Finding" by David Sedaris

I am listening to this eAudiobook that inspires me to start keeping a journal. This gay author has recorded daily interactions and things that people say for nearly four decades. In this book, you will find intimate thoughts and musings that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh again. Not many people would actually print their innermost thoughts or stories about their lives, but David Sedaris is an open book. His parents were not accepting of his sexual orientation, but thank god he did not let this phase him: else we would never know the honest, witty, and hilarious writer that he has proven himself to be.

Cue music: "Be yourself is all that you can do"- Chris Cornell off of Out of Exile

- David F.

Blog Category
Adult Fiction
Graphic Novels
LGBTQ+
Teens

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