A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
As I Descended by Robin Talley
Trust Me, I’m Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Assassins: Discord by Erica Cameron
This is one of my favorite posts (courtesy of Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner) to do on my personal blog, and I thought it’d be fun to bring it here, using just the LGBTQIAP+ books I’ve read this year, and hear what your answers would be in the comments! (Note: a few of these answers on my personal blog were LGBTQIAP+ books anyway, so those have been copy-pasted here.) So, let’s see how this goes:
2016 Reading Stats
YA Fantasy: And I Darken by Kiersten White
YA Contemporary: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
YA Thriller: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
YA Sci-Fi: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
NA Romance: Hold Me by Courtney Milan
Adult Romance: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Pretty much any book I expected/hoped would have better representation than it does.
Best surprises are the ones that had queer POVs in books I definitely did not expect to see them in, and wouldn’t necessarily have read this year (if ever) if bloggers didn’t push me to! So: Cherry by Lindsey Rosin, Winning by Lara Deloza, and This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin.
Series Started: Five Boroughs by Santino Hassell and Cyberlove by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell. I’m much worse about reading YA series than I am about Romance series, but I’m super excited to read the sequels to And I Darken by Kiersten White (i.e. Now I Rise), Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (i.e. Not Your Villain), and The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (i.e. The Edge of the Abyss).
Sequel: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey
Series Ender: Pretty sure Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo’s the only one I read with any queer POVs!
Santino Hassell – picked up one book, continued to read four more of his throughout the year.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie! I know that conceptually that book is so many people’s dream, but it’s not my usual thing and I found it totally unputdownable. And Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee – not usually a superhero-book reader but this was so much fun, and I’m so psyched it’s gonna be a continuing series.
Apparently The Abyss Surrounds Us!
Uhhhh definitely at least the opening of Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell. I don’t get much time to reread, but.
Perfect Ten by L. Philips, which is fun since that was revealed here!
Juliet from Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. Honestly, in any given year she writes a book, that book’s gonna be the answer.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis. That’s one of my favorite LGBTQIAP YAs of all time now and people were talking about its greatness for SO LONG, but I was slow to it for no good reason.
To the boys who get called girls,
the girls who get called boys,
and those who live outside these words.
To those called names
and those searching for names of their own.
To those who live on the edges,
and in the spaces in between.
I wish for you every light in the sky.
~the dedication of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith, both because of how scarily compelling I found it and because it’s kinda dark and terrifying.
Oof, this is tough. I think maybe Kai and Garrett from Strong Signal? I am bad at choosing these.
Frances and Aled in Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.
Published in 2016: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Coming in 2017: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
But it feels like a lie not to mention Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake, coming in 2018
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis, which thank God Becky Albertalli finally got me to read. Should also mentioned that I would never have picked up This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin if not for Rachel G. telling me it had an ace MC.
I am not good at this. Can I pass?
I mean, Leigh Bardugo’s pretty unbeatable here, right? Although definite shoutout to Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. It didn’t even happen immediately, but as the book sank in, I just completely lost it.
I feel like in LGBTQIAP+ lit almost everything is a hidden gem because they rarely get decent marketing budgets, but I have such a soft spot for Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, for quietly delivering both (explicit) pan and (implicit) ace rep in a mainstream YA. While both of those words pop up a bunch in 2017 YA, 7WWL was the only mainstream 2016 YA I saw to contain either one. (And yes, it’s also a good book!)
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.
For sheer standout beauty, When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore.
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith, which is definitely by design and which I utterly loved.
Queer Lit on my Mind, which isn’t exactly a book blog but it’s a (now-) friend’s Tumblr I think posts great reviews.
I’m actually a terrible reviewer, and since I keep needing to remind people this isn’t a review site, I’m going to abstain from this question so I don’t send the wrong message!
Not that I can take any credit for it, personally, but gotta go with Casey Lawrence’s “Goodbye, Bad Bi“!
Only did one LGBTQ panel this year – with Adam Silvera, Jenn Marie Thorne, and Kenneth Logan – but it was great! Also attended a good one featuring Rebecca Podos, Kenneth Logan, Cordelia Jensen, and I.W. Gregorio.
Kicking off this site, I’d say!
Thank you to guest-posting author Casey Lawrence, whose “Goodbye, Bad Bi” was by far the most popular post on the site this year.
I did hope more people would share the post of Trans Lit Under $5 – most of those books are #ownvoices titles that could definitely use some love!
The LA all-Romance bookstore The Ripped Bodice is amazing, and so great for queer romance. And I’m not just saying that because they made Out on Good Behavior their book club pick one month, but I’m also not not saying that? Because choosing an f/f NA for book club is pretty damn awesome.
Finally launching this site! (And my personal Goodreads challenge of reading 175 books.)
So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon – I’ve been saving that series for myself forever!
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. I freaking loved Pointe and this character is bi and Jewish, so, no-brainer! But absolutely highly anticipating Noteworthy by Riley Redgate and Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, both of which sound super clever and fun, and by authors I’m really curious to see more from as well. Redgate did something really fantastic for YA by bringing it its first mainstream on-the-page pansexual character, and Tash reportedly contains fantastic on-the-page ace rep, so, lots to look forward to!
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura, hands-down.
Series Ending: The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey
Sequel: The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie (which is also a series ending)
Companion: YA: Not Your Villain by CB Lee; Romance: Hard Wired by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Actually have a new “Better Know an Author” up every month. (And yes, I have ones scheduled for January and February!)
There are actually a lot of these, which is delightful! How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake, Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley, and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee are three I loved, blurbed, and definitely recommend. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is fantastic, Perfect Ten by L. Philips and Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde are so delightful, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is beautiful and emotional and makes you scared to love anyone but also so grateful that you do, and…I could probably go on forever, so I’ll shut up, but you’ll see plenty more in discussion soon!
That’s my year! How was yours?
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Bonus: I’m never really sure what genre A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith is, but Fantasy’s one of the ones I juggle, so, let’s put that here
Double Bonus: Coming in 2018, Garden of Blood and Dust by K.K. Pérez
Finishing out October, here’s what should be on your rainbow radar for the rest of the month!
The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.
David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.
The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.
A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.
No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.
There once was a boy who was made, not created.
In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever.
His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin.
An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.
Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination.
He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future.
To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable.
Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death…or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.
Eighteen months ago, Maria Lopez felt an unexpected spark with Jay, a hot, tattooed, motorcycle-riding bad boy who checked off every item on her fantasy list. But “too good to be true” never ends well. So when he asked for her number, she walked away.
When she runs into him again, she discovers that Jay is a different kind of trouble than she’s imagined. He’s a demanding, driven genius, and once he’s set his sights on something, he does not give up. Now that their paths have crossed once more, he’s not going to let her get away until he knows exactly what’s on her fantasy list…and he figures out how to make her embrace it.
After graduation, Kieran expected to go straight into a career of flipping burgers—only to be offered the internship of his dreams at a political campaign. But the pressure of being an out trans man in the workplace quickly sucks the joy out of things, as does Seth, the humorless campaign strategist who watches his every move.
Soon, the only upside to the job is that Seth has a painful crush on their painfully straight boss, and Kieran has a front row seat to the drama. But when Seth proves to be as respectful and supportive as he is prickly, Kieran develops an awkward crush of his own—one which Seth is far too prim and proper to ever reciprocate.
Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.
Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.
A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending
Buy it: Amazon
Huntress by Malinda Lo (B, Chinese)
Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (L, Korean)
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace (B, Chinese)
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (L, Chinese)
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (B, Japanese)
Bonus: out in 2017 – It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (L, Japanese)
Double bonus: graphic novel – Skim by Mariko Tamaki (Q, Japanese)
For those of you who feel like you’ve already read every LGBTQIAP+ book in existence, not to worry – there’s plenty still to come! Every TBRainbow Alert will have a mix of five LGBTQIAP+ titles to make sure are on your radar, along with three reasons why you should know them. If you missed the first alert, you can check out those titles here. And now, a few more coming up in 2016!
Title: Fast Connection (July 11)
Authors: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
Rainbow details: m/m, both bi
Why put it on your radar?
1. This is the follow-up to Strong Signal, which was so hot my brain combusts just thinking about it.
2. Bi rep! In m/m!
3. Megan Erickson. Santino Hassell. Writing together. I mean, hi.
Title: Of Fire and Stars (November 22)
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Genre/Category: YA Fantasy
Rainbow details: f/f – one lesbian, one bi
Why put it on your radar?
1. f/f Fantasy is one of the rarest things in YA, and if you’ve been desperately waiting for the answer to “What do I read after Ash?” Ta da!
2. Horses! If you are a horse person (as I know the author is), this book is seriously gonna be your jam.
3. Cute, hot, sexy…Coulthurst gets in all of it between Mare and Denna, and the thought of teen girls finally getting a romance this sweet between princess made me hug this book when I was done.
Title: A Darkly Beating Heart (October 4)
Author: Lindsay Smith
Genre/Category: YA Time-Travel Fantasy
Rainbow details: bi female MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. The code phrase for this book before it had an official title was “Angry Bisexual Japanese Revenge Fantasy.” If that’s not the best “Describe your book in 5 words” you’ve ever heard…
2. This is Smith’s first novel with a queer main character, but you may already know/love her from “City of Angels,” her contribution to A Tyranny of Petticoats, which featured a Native lesbian MC.
3. It’s so. Freaking. Good. Dark and brutal and raw and honest and compelling and page-turning and awesomely infused with Japanese culture/food/setting.
Title: Girl Mans Up (September 6)
Author: M-E Girard
Genre/Category: Contemporary YA
Rainbow details: butch lesbian MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. I honestly didn’t register how unheard this POV was in YA until I read the book, and I suspect it’ll be one lots will be grateful to finally see.
2. Gamer girls! Both the MC and LI!
3. I think this may also be the first Portuguese MC I’ve read in YA, and the book is heavily infused with culture and language.
Title: Not Your Sidekick (September 6)
Author: C.B. Lee
Genre/Category: YA Sci-Fi
Rainbow details: bi female MC
Why put it on your radar?
1. The main character is an intern. To a super villain. Like. Come on.
2. Queer girl of color by queer author of color! Queer girl of color by queer author of color!
3. I’ll just direct you back to that premise. I cannot imagine what else is needed here.