Oct 8th, 2019, 05:18 PM

LGBTQ+ and Book Releases

By Samira Safarzadeh
Image credit: Samira Safarzadeh
Representation is Rising, Let's Read About It

Over the years the LGBTQ+ community has been getting a lot of representation in media and culture, albeit not always positive. The community has been present in our society for decades, yet strangely it never gets the representation it deserves, constantly failed by historians, writers, producers, etc... Needless to say, the community is tired. However, a new wave of writers are doing their best to give the community representation. When before we would have a gay sidekick character, now we have books with many books with protagonists who belong to the LGBTQ+ community. 

October has many book releases in different genres, although more than 200 books are being released this month less than 30 have LGBTQ+ representation.  Not so surprisingly most of those books are YA, a very popular genre among teenagers nowadays. It is safe to say that this new generation is consuming more LGBTQ+ content than any generation before, which makes them more accepting and makes those who are part of the community feel represented. In 2019, 227 LGBTQ+ YA books were published/are set to be published by mainstream American publishers, there is an increase in numbers compared to 2009, where only 27 were published. 

Here are some of the LGBTQ+ YA book releases in October to get excited about. 

Crier's War by Nina Varela

Nina Varela is a queer nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood. With Crier's War as her debut novel, she hopes to bring light to adding LGBTQ+ characters into her future writing. 

Crier's War. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will. Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

rep: lesbian mc, bi mc, wlw relationship

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard

Holden Sheppard is an award-winning author from Western Australia. His newest young adult (YA) novel is Invisible Boys following his other two books, The Scroll of Isidor and The Black Flower.  Invisible Boys is the only book of his that features an LGBTQ+ character. 

Invisible Boys. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

Invisible Boys is a raw, confronting YA novel, tackling homosexuality, masculinity, anger, and suicide with a nuanced and unique perspective. Set in regional Western Australia, the novel follows three sixteen-year-old boys in the throes of coming to terms with their homosexuality in a town where it is invisible – and so are they. Invisible Boys depicts the complexities and trauma of rural gay identity with painful honesty, devastating consequence and, ultimately, hope.

rep: gay mcs

Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry

Brynne Rebele-Henry writes poetry and fiction that has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Rookie, and Blackbird, among other places. Orpheus Girl is her first novel and features a lesbian relationship through the inversion of a myth.

Orpheus Girl. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a powerful inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.

ep: lesbian mcs, trans side character, gay side character


The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif 

Shamim Sarif is a UK born award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and director.  Her debut novel, The World Unseen won a Betty Trask award and the Pendleton May First Novel award, being followed by many more awards for varies writings. Much of her work includes aspects of identity with race, gender, and sexuality drawing from her own experiences. 

The Athena Protocol. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.

Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.

Jessie needs to right her wrongs and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.

rep: lesbian mc


Master of Restless Shadows by by Ginn Hale

Ginn Hale is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy works. Her debut article Wicked Gentlemen includes steampunk, suspense, and gay romance, this novel went on to be nominated for two awards and won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award in 2008 for the best novel that year. 

Master of Restless Shadows. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capital of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.  What Narsi―and most of the larger world―can not know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.  After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives

rep: mlm relationships, side trans character


Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby

Ginny Robry is an American award winning author of five novels for Middle School and Young Adults readers. During her career as a Pan American flight attendant, she lived in Miami, where she also studied biology. She also received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University. 

Freeing Finch. Image credit: Goodreads 

Publisher's synopsis:

When her father leaves and her mother passes away soon afterward, Finch can't help feeling abandoned. Now she's stuck living with her stepfather and his new wife. They're mostly nice, but they don't believe the one true thing Finch knows about herself: that she's a girl, even though she was born in a boy's body.

Thankfully, she has Maddy, a neighbor and animal rescuer who accepts her for who she is. Finch helps Maddy care for a menagerie of lost and lonely creatures, including a scared, stray dog who needs a family and home as much as she does. As she earns the dog's trust, Finch realizes she must also learn to trust the people in her life--even if they are the last people she expected to love her and help her to be true to herself.

ep: trans mc

Representation is changing, which is a good thing. More LGBTQ+ characters and relationships are being featured in books, so feel free to pick one up if it has peaked your interest!