LGBTQ+ Fiction: June 2018

Happy Pride Month!

Before I get to the reviews I have for you, I would first like to tell you what’s going on at the Boston Public Library during Pride Month! Every June, the Boston Public Library puts out its annual We Are Pride book list, which includes LGBTQ+ fiction and nonfiction for children, teens, and adults.

The BPL’s We Are Pride webpage also includes:

  • Links to other related book lists, such as all the books that couldn’t fit on the official list that we still love, and guides to both M/M and F/F Romance.
  • Links to any and all pride programming happening at the BPL this month.
  • LGBTQ+ resource guides such as an LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Resource list and an LGBTQ+ History of Boston.

Boston Reads One Million Minutes Challenge

Can the city of Boston read one million minutes in three months? During the summer months of June, July, & August, log in your reading minutes to help us reach one million minutes! At the same time you can also participate in our Adult Summer Reading Bingo game for cool prizes! Note that one of the bingo squares is labeled “LGBTQ author or main character” and therefore can be completed by reading something I’ve recommended on this blog. Find out more about these, and other programs, at our Summer Reading page.

Books I’ve Read Recently

The first book I’ve reviewed below is one that didn’t make it to the official We Are Pride list. That said, it’s still a fantastic book and I wanted to make sure it got on everyone’s radar. The second book I reviewed is a March 2018 release I mentioned as wanting to read in my May 2018 post

Title/Author: Read My Mind by Kelly Haworth

Summary: Scott Kensington lives happily without magic; prayer is all he needs to worship the gods. Then he starts his studies at the University of Frannesburg, and his latent ability starts taking over his life. Nick Barns is grieving for his lost mother and desperate for distraction—usually in the form of limited-edition action figures. As a telekinetic, he’s no stranger to magic, so he offers to help Scott adjust to his new powers. They quickly learn how their magic powers interact and their shared passions soon grow beyond superheroes and immortals.
Series/Standalone: Under the Empire #1
Genre/Sub-Genre: New Adult*/MM Romance/Paranormal
Book Format: E-book
Length: 294 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Abuse/Rape: No
Violence: No
Ratio of Sex/Plot: Heavy on the plot
Well-Written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Re-Read?: Yes
Personal Thoughts: Kelly Haworth knows how to build interesting, thought-provoking worlds and well-rounded, believable characters. I don’t normally read New Adult unless it’s an author I’m already into, but I loved Kelly’s previous book, Y Negative, so I thought I’d give this a try. Turns out, I loved it! I really enjoyed the way the mythology (there are ten gods) was created and used here, where Scott felt comfort going to church to talk to the Gods and Nick was more into the general popular culture which had derived a lot from the original mythology. The relationship between Nick and Scott was great. They had other outside complications with family that they had to deal with, but they also helped each other learn about their interests. When they had problems, they talked them out, like real adults. They understood how important and huge it was to be in a romantic relationship with someone else, and they didn’t take that responsibility lightly. They were great characters to read about, and I liked that one of them was biracial too. Overall, this was a fun read, and I would highly recommend it, if you like YA fantasy, or even adult fantasy. You won’t be disappointed.

*What is New Adult? It is an emerging genre specifically written with people aged 18–25 in mind, or, depending on who you ask, the age range might extend from 18–30. It’s similar in the way the Young Adult genre caters to teenagers aged 12–18.

Title/Author: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Summary: Bound for Harvard in the fall, Niru’s prospects are bright and he seems to be leading a charmed life. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/sub-genre: Fiction
Book Format: Paperback
Length: 207 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Violence: There is some, but it’s swift and over before you know it’s happened.
Well-written/Editor Needed: Having read the uncorrected proof edition, I’m assuming any and all errors were corrected before the book went to its final printing.
Would I Recommend?: Yes, though this book certainly won’t be for everyone.
Personal thoughts: This was an interesting read because of the formatting. There are no quotation marks or paragraph breaks for any of the dialog, so it can be hard to know who’s speaking at any given time, until you get into the flow of the book. It took me a bit to get into it, and then I found it hard to put down. This is an ambitious book for one so slim. It covers several topics including: coming out as gay, conservative religious beliefs, and what it means to be a person of color in today’s violent America, especially a first generation American. This is a mirror of real life for some as there is no happy ending here. I had been hoping for one, and yet I am reminded that for many queer people around the world, and indeed, in America, there isn’t one. I do think, however, that some of what happened might have been avoided if Niru had explained what was actually happening to him, how his father and the priests had reacted, and how this was affecting him emotionally. But he wouldn't even tell his best friend who kept insisting that her problems were worse. 

Books I’m Looking Forward To

Title/Author: Moonstruck by Grace Ellis

Summary: Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it's up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it's too late.
Series/Standalone: Vol. 1 contains the first five issues
Genre/Sub-Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Paranormal
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
Reasons I’m Excited About It: Just looking at the cover, the artwork makes this look adorable! Even though I’m not a fan of coffee, there’s something about a cute werewolf barista that screams “read me!” Also, from everything I can gather, this looks like a very diverse cast of characters, which is awesome. I can’t wait to dive right in!

Books Mentioned Above

Title/Author: Y Negative by Kelly Haworth

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian/MM Romance
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay/transgender/gender queer