I decided to look back on 2018 and write about all the great LGBTQ books I read this year, except I found a bit of a problem with this. I read so many many that the resulting blog post would be longer than anyone wants to read!
This means I’ve had to do the painful task of trying to whittle it down to a top 10 – this was painful, but after weeks of agonising I’ve finally managed it.
If you got some book vouchers for Christmas and don’t know what to spend them on, have a look at the books below, you can’t go far wrong with these. I’ll also be posting my preview of books to look out for in 2019, so if you’ve already read all the books in this post, come back soon for another round of suggestions.
Top 10 (in no particular order)
Jack of Hearts (and other parts)
L. C. Rosen
Yes, I’m definitely cheating by including this one, as the paperback is still due for release in the UK, but you can buy the US hardback, and get hold of the ebook easily, and you definitely should.
Full of positive representations of gay sex, explorations of the desexualisation of LGBTQ people in order to make them acceptable to a straight cis audience, and a smattering of stalker drama, this YA contemporary novel is perfect to get you thinking, laughing, and being shocked (if you get shocked by descriptions of threesomes). My full review is here. You can preorder the paperback now.
The Wicked Cometh
This gothic historical novel is out in paperback very soon, so I’ll be reviewing it in full in the new year to coincide with that. A story set in London in 1832 about women pushing themselves out of their confined roles, investigating crimes, and loving each other.
You can still get hold of the stunning hardback copy in some places, but you can preorder the paperback now.
Heart-warming, heart-breaking, brilliantly realistic and honest. Skylarks deals sensitively with poverty, class, and social injustice whilst giving us a slow-burn romance between two teenage girls.
And what’s not to love about a romance that blossoms while working in a library? I honestly couldn’t put this down and was gripped from the first page. Available to buy now.
A novel of the First World War, set in the immediate years after but travelling back to the trenches to tell the story of 20-year-old Tristan and his life, love, and the trauma of war.
It is predictably depressing, as so many historical novels about gay men are, but the realities are handled sensitively and with compassion. Available to buy now.
Noah Could Never
Simon James Green
If you’re looking for a break from all the misery of the historical novels I’ve recommended so far, you can’t do better than Simon James Green’s absolutely hilarious novels.
If you’ve not yet read it, get hold of the first book Noah Can’t Even, before moving on to the second instalment in the life of poor Noah Grimes. The YA book is a mystery, an adventure, a romance, and is (of course) full of embarrassing conundrums that Noah will once again fail to deal with very well, it’s available to buy now.
Now we’re back to the depressing historical novels, sorry. Set in Italy in 1939, this is a fictionalised account of the true story of an island where gay men were imprisoned. A thriller as well as a deeply moving account of the realities of being a gay man in the 1930s. It is well written and impeccably researched, and is available to buy now.
Running With Lions
Let’s move right back to the more cheerful contemporary novels, but with no less an important point to make. This YA novel, set in a US soccer summer camp, is a brilliant exploration of the role sports can play in bridging differences, celebrating diversity, and providing the space for a queer summer romance. I can’t wait to read Julian’s next novel, because this debut is outstanding – you can buy it now.
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
This 2007 novel was recommended to me by the author of the next book in my list (thanks Sophie!) and quickly became a favourite read this year. Set in the monsoon season in Sri Lanka in 1980, this novel is about a young boy trying to find his place in the world, while falling in love with his Canadian cousin, to the backdrop of the school production of Othello.
This is a tale about family, friendship, sexuality, identity, loyalty, and first love. Selvadurai captures the atmosphere of a time and place perfectly and writes with heartbreaking honesty. It’s available to buy now.
Out of the Blue
Set in Edinburgh during the festival, when angels are falling from the sky (not figuratively), this book is about grief, love, friendship, obsession, and gives great instructions on how you might go about hiding an angel you who’s fallen to earth. A beautiful novel that I can’t recommend more – buy it now.
My final recommendation has to be included because everything Kirsty Logan does is exquisite. A magical tale of love and grief, full of fairy tales. The novel also explores family relationships and tensions, it gives a haunting portrayal of the ties that bring us home and those that push us away, and it delves deep into grief. A truly magical tale of love available to buy now.
I’ll be posting again in the next few days my anticipated reads of 2019 – they won’t all be new releases because older books deserve some love too, come back soon for more LGBTQ reads.