One of the most interesting things about being a lifelong avid reader is seeing the way book trends change over time. As a committed member of the Goodreads community, a website and app for reviewing books, I’ve watched happily as books about LGBTQ people have become more popular.
Books about LGBTQ women, however, have historically been a little hard to come by. Thankfully, in this day and age, there are so many wonderful authors who have written entertaining and heartfelt books about queer women. Here are four you should check out as Pride Month rolls around this June.
“The Midnight Lie” by Marie Rutkoski is a novel about a young woman named Nirrim, who has grown up under the iron fist of a cruel upper class. She and her family struggle to get by in a city where inequality is rampant, with people being forced into strict social classes and legally prevented from moving upward. Nirrim soon discovers, however, that there might be a hidden truth about the city that could allow her to gain power.
Highlights of this book include a beautiful fantasy world and diverse characters, with the main character being a woman of color. Nirrim and her snarky love interest, Sid, have instant chemistry, and their allies-to-lovers romance was, for me, the best part of the book.
“We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour might be one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read, so fair warning to keep a box of tissues around if you decide to pick it up. This book’s strength lies in its characters: the confused, struggling Marin, her best friend and former kind-of girlfriend, Mabel, and Marin’s grandfather.
It's Marin's grandfather who drives much of the book’s plot, as she struggles to come to terms with his death and the delicate and difficult truths that surround it. This book is a loving, heartfelt portrait of a family, as well as a study into the relationship between Marin and Mabel, who must face hard truths themselves when Mabel comes to visit her friend in college during a harsh, lonely winter.
“The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon is the longest book on this list, clocking in at a pretty huge 848 pages, but don’t let that put you off. Shannon’s standalone fantasy novel is just as worthy of a read as “Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones.”
This book is told from four perspectives, allowing for a layered plot to form. One of the main characters, Ead Duryan, is a secret bodyguard for Queen Sabran, posing as the Queen’s lady in waiting. These two form a complex and rewarding relationship that morphs from friendship into epic romance. And across the sea, Tané hopes to become a dragonrider, discovering along the way secrets that threaten to throw the whole realm into chaos.
With three out of the four narrators being people of color, as well as wonderful romance and high stakes, this fantasy epic is one of the best books I’ve read in the genre.
“Her Name in the Sky” by Kelly Quindlen is a fantastic coming out story set in Louisiana. It is told from the perspective of Hannah and focuses on her circle of friends during their senior year in high school. What starts off as a typical year at a private Catholic school, however, turns into something else entirely when Hannah and her best friend Baker start having feelings for each other.
This is a book that’s less driven by plot than it is by character development. It's a lovingly crafted picture of a relationship between two young women who long for something more but struggle to come to terms with their sexualities due to anti-LGBTQ sentiment present in their school and hometown.
There are many excellent books about queer women that don’t get the attention they deserve. Luckily, readers have the power to change that. As you celebrate Pride this June, consider adding these novels, as well as novels about other members of the LGBTQ community, to your summer reading list.
Molly Hayes (she/her) is a rising junior studying English. She plans to earn a Master of Library Science.
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