It has only been in the last year or so that I really got into reading LGBT books. I had read the odd one or two but I pretty much used to stick to the age-old f/m pairing. I really got into reading the m/m genre after I finished reading Hushed by Kelley York. Last year I pretty much devoured as many m/m books as I could get my hands on.
Now I cannot imagine not reading m/m (it provides such a different perspective) and I am making an active effort to read a much more diverse range of books covering a wide variety of sexual identities. I have recently purchased several books featuring lesbian main characters and am also trying to read more with trans or intersex characters. I haven’t come across that many with strictly bisexual characters (this could be because these books get subsumed into m/m or f/f genres) but I have found a few I would really like to read sooner rather than later. There are also a few with asexual characters that look really interesting.
My last post detailed some of the books I am going to read as part of LGBT Month (an event hosted by Cayce at Fighting Dreamer and Laura at Laura Plus Books) but I also want to highlight some of the amazing authors/books I read in the last year that really affected me. Some of these books have pride of place in my all-time favourite reads and I wanted to share them with you. I have only included Young Adult and New Adult titles (though some cover a longer period of time) in this list. There are many (and I mean ‘many’) Adult titles which I really adore too but to list them all would take far too long! Be warned though, this list includes some had-hitting topics like abuse and suicide. I enjoy books with suffering MC’s – don’t judge me!!
So many people recommended this series to me I thought there was no way it would live up to all of the hype but it really did. It follows a set of characters through all four books. Something Like Summer is Ben’s book and it deals with him meeting and falling in love with the closeted Tim and the aftermath of the fallout of their relationship. Ben later meets and falls for Jace but Tim will always holds a special place in Ben’s heart. When they meet again it tests Ben’s relationship with Jace. Something Like Winter follows the same timeline as the first book but is told from the perspective of Tim (giving him a much-needed POV).
Something Like Autumn is Jace’s book and it details a young Jace’s life and shows how he had a great love before he met Ben which did not end well. Something Like Spring is the last book in the quartet (though the author has recently announced more books will follow – yay!!). It follows the perspective of a new character called Jason and the up and downs of his life in the foster care system and his trials in love. Jason eventually meets up with a certain favourite couple from earlier books. My favourite character in this series is probably Tim (even though he makes many mistakes through the series he is the one I connected with most) but the best book is arguably Something Like Autumn. I highly recommend this whole series (and anything else by Jay Bell for that matter!).
This is probably one of the hardest-hitting series I have ever read. Period. The first book is about a young man called Aaron who was the survivor of a brutal attack/rape by a gang who killed his best friend Juliette and left him for dead. This book deals with the aftermath of this terrible crime and Aaron’s struggle to try to regain something of a normal life. One of the first steps he takes is to sign up for classes at the local college where he is partnered for a project with a young man called Spencer. Spencer’s life has been full of difficult circumstances too. He lost his mother at a very young age and was born profoundly deaf. This book details Aaron and Spencer’s growing relationship from friendship to something deeper but it doesn’t try to sugarcoat the trauma that Aaron faced and still has to live with everyday.
The second book follows the perspective of Juliette’s brother Ben and how he uses BDSM to escape the torment he feels over his sister’s death. Not as hard-hitting as Aaron it was still a fascinating journey into the BDSM world. Ben’s relationship with Jude, his roommate, was also very sweet. The last book, Spencer, once again returns to Aaron and Spencer. It illustrates the love these two young men have for each but even that love is not enough to stop Spencer from feeling he is missing out on certain aspects of life by being involved with Aaron. This discontent leads to Spencer taking a job in the city leaving Aaron to try to deal with his troubles alone. Spencer’s intention is to build a life for the two of them but when Aaron’s attackers are caught and Aaron has to testify in court, their already fractured relationship threatens to fall apart for good. Words alone cannot describe how brilliant this series is. I would urge everyone to read this series (unless of course the subject-matter would be too heavy – it is not an easy read at all and could be triggering).
I really couldn’t decide which of these books I like best. Gone, Gone, Gone is a hard-hitting tale set not long after 9/11 and during the Beltway sniper killings. It is about Craig, a lovable 15 year-old, who loves animals and is devastated when his house is burgled and his myriad of pet animals escape. He is unable to properly search for them due to the panic and paranoia surrounding the shootings. He is also trying to deal with the fact that his boyfriend has been sent away following the loss of his father when the Pentagon was attacked. Craig has struck up a friendship with the quiet and reclusive Lio, who is a cancer survivor. The two boys grow closer over the course of the novel but can Craig get over his numerous losses and find love with Lio?
Teeth is a different kettle of fish (pun intended!). It is about a boy called Rudy whose family decamp to a mysterious island, where the surrounding waters contain fish that have the power to cure his younger brother who has cystic fibrosis. Only downside is that his family must remain there as only eating the flesh of these mythical fish will allow his brother to have a longer life – leaving the island is not a possibility. Still chafing from having to leave all of his friends behind, Rudy is desperately lonely until one day he sees an incredible sight – the fishboy. Half boy, half-fish, this strange creature lives in the waters surrounding the shores of the island and does everything he can to protect his ‘brothers’, that is the fish who many have sought out the island for. Rudy strikes up a friendship with this boy (who is called Teeth) and also encounters a young girl who may be connected to Teeth. There is a very subtle romance that plays throughout the course of this novel. Rudy finds himself falling for Teeth but although it is obvious that the fishboy does seem to care for Rudy, it is not overly clear whether his feelings are reciprocated. This is a thoroughly devastating and emotional tale but a beautiful one all the same.
Gives Light is about a boy called Skylar who was left mute after an attack left his mother dead and him with his throat slashed when he was only a small child. His father has moved them around from place to place ever since but when he disappears Skylar is placed in the care of his grandmother at the Nettlebush Reserve. It is here he discovers his mother’s killer left behind a son, who is the double of his murderous father. Yet Skylar is drawn to Rafael, who is sensitive and caring if a little antisocial and brusque in manner. Skylar soon settles into life at the reservation but when social services step in his life is upheaved once more and he is forced to leave behind Rafael – the boy he has come to love…
This series is fantastic. It starts off with Skylar as a teenager and follows him right through until he is an adult. Skylar’s relationship with Rafael is beautiful to behold and the series does an excellent job of depicting his cultural heritage. This series is simply incredible. I really cannot find the words that would do it justice. It is slow to build but at the same time it is a truly moving, beautiful story. Read it now (sorry – don’t mean to come across as bossy but this series is just so fantastic I want to urge everyone to read it)!!
Well that’s my first selection of LGBT favourites. There are more to come so watch out for my next post…
Click on above for link to LGBT Month schedule