Queer Fiction: January 2019

Welcome to the new year and a new LGBTQ+ Fiction blog! We are changing things up here with a new blog name, "Queer Fiction." Two other librarians are joining me this year: Veronica and Kirsten, both from the Reader Services Department. They introduce themselves below with some fast facts and their favorite queer fiction. And last, but not least, you will find my book review for a fantastic urban fantasy at the very bottom.

Veronica's Fast Facts

• I’m a Reader Services Librarian, and before that I was a Teen Librarian for several years.
• Before I went to library school, I was in graduate school for Classics. I miss reading Latin all the time, but I don’t miss Greek at all!
• I volunteer with More Than Words on my day off, so even when I’m not at work, I’m always surrounded by books. I’ve got more than a thousand in my apartment.
• I use the pronouns she/her/hers and I’m ace and biromantic! (Or a “hypothetical bisexual” as I used to call myself back before I knew there was actual terminology for that.)

Veronica's Favorite LGBTQ+ Books

Title/Author: The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Series/Standalone: Second book of the Turner series; can be read alone, but characters from The Soldier’s Scoundrel (book one) make appearances.
Genre/Sub-Genre: Romance/Historical
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
One Sentence Review: An incredibly fluffy but satisfying story about two people who’ve been rejected all their lives making a home for each other (and their surprise kid) in whatever ways feel right to them.

Title/Author: Hana & Hina After School by Milk Morinaga

Series/Standalone: Three volume series.
Genre/Sub-Genre: Manga/Contemporary Romance
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
One Sentence Review: A sweet and endearing tale of first love between two very different girls who work together in a toy store.

Title/Author: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: YA/Fantasy
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Bisexual
One Sentence Review: An antisocial, pacifist thirteen-year-old crosses a wall into a magical kingdom, falls in love with a bloodthirsty misandrist elf princess, thoroughly misunderstands the nature of his rivalry with her best friend, and just might end up saving the world.

Title/Author: Hold Me  by Courtney Milan

Series/Standalone: Second in the Cyclone series; read Trade Me first
Genre/Sub-Genre: Romance/Contemporary
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Trans & Bisexual
One Sentence Review: When Jay meets Maria, he sticks his foot in his mouth in the worst possible way, and that should be the end of that – but neither of them knows they’ve already fallen in love with each other anonymously online through his comments on her blog.

Title/Author: The Backstagers by James Tynion

Series/Standalone: Two volume series so far (ongoing)
Genre/Sub-Genre: Comic/Paranormal
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Queer ensemble
One Sentence Review: A supernatural love letter to drama club and all the weirdness that happens backstage.


Kirsten's Fast Facts

• I am a Reader Services librarian at the BPL, and I love creating themed booklists.
• I'm an amateur genealogist and am currently working on transcribing my ancestor's Permission to Emigrate papers, which are written in kurrentschrift.
• Sometime in January or February, I plan on adopting my first ever cat!
• I identify as a lesbian and my preferred pronouns are she/her.

Kirsten's Favorite LGBTQ Books

Title/Author: The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Science Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
One Sentence Review: A gory and intense space opera that depicts a complicated relationship and an ending that I, personally, found satisfying due to its realistic nature.

Title/Author: My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kabi Nagata

Series/Standalone: First in a duology
Genre/Sub-Genre: Graphic Memoir
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
One Sentence Review: This raw, honest biographical manga is absolutely gut-wrenching, and such an accurate depiction of mental illness and the struggle to "perform" as a lesbian.

Title/Author: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
One Sentence Review: I am a shameless Jodi Picoult fan and was so thrilled when she wrote a book about a bisexual (even if the novel doesn't use that word to describe her) and a lesbian and the nature of family; I admired her approach on the subject and her ability to pack an emotional punch.

Title/Author: Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
One Sentence Review: I outright sobbed when reading this book and wished I'd had it when I was in high school; seeing the characters work through their own internal questioning, self-loathing, and compulsory heterosexuality would have legitimatized my own personal struggles and made me feel so much less alone.

Title/Author: I Felt A Funeral, in My Brain by Bill Walton

Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
One Sentence Review: This is one of those books that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since I read it -- I loved how it played with stream-of -conscious prose and poetry, as well as how it handled grief, turbulent teenage emotions, and relationships.


Jordan's Recent Read

Title/Author: The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

Summary: Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment's missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, which was once called Nantucket. With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam's relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune's Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family's death and the torments of his past?
Series/Standalone: The Tarot Sequence 1
Genre/sub-genre: Urban Fantasy
Book Format: Paperback
Length: 363 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Abuse/Rape: It’s suggested that one character had an abusive childhood, and another was raped, and does mentally relive the experience for a moment.
Violence: Yes.
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Recommend?: YES
Personal thoughts: The world-building, the characters, and everything are so amazingly rich and detailed without being overwhelming. I love that New Atlantis is made up of abandoned buildings from around the world, giving the place a rich history. I love the strong, caring relationship between Rune and Brand, his bodyguard. While they have a Companion Bond, it is not a romantic one, which was a refreshing change. Brand is purely human and can use no magic, so he wields modern human weapons such as grenades and knives, to protect Rune, while Rune can do magic. Considering this, they work well together to save each other and others in danger. There is also a love interest for Rune in another male character, though I won’t spoil it and tell you who, because it does take a while for the romance to really bloom, which I also appreciated. The culture of New Atlantis is very open to all types of relationships, though this book seems to focus in on one gay couple. This is definitely more about the fantasy plot than the romance and there is plenty of action and adventure here. The humor here is spot on and well done. I am seriously looking forward to book two in the series! This is also a strong read-alike for anything by Ginn Hale, opens a new window!