Firsts & favourites: Books with LGBT+ themes

 

I T  P R I D E   M O N T H !

To celebrate, I am sharing some of my favourite LGBT+ books and those that played an early role in my LGBT+ reading experience. The first book I ever read with an LGBT+ character of any kind was City of Bones in 2009, when I was 15 (go Alec!). I didn’t read a book with an LGBT+ main character until several years later, but I have been hooked ever since!

 

RULES FOR THIS POST

The “rules” I have used to compile the lists in this post are:

  • Firsts: The very first few books I read within each category
  • Favourites: Books within each category that are either (1) CERTAINLY a favourite or (2) I have read SO MANY TIMES
  • Categories: LGBT+ supporting characters | LGBT+ main characters | Gender diverse main characters | YA & NA | Contemporary | Historical | Crime & thriller | Sci-fi | Epic & high fantasy | Low fantasy & paranormal | Top TBR
  • Rep: Indicated as per the key below; certain rep categories not included for no other reason than I haven’t read any books of that type
  • Selection: No two books from the same series can be placed in the same category (I’m all for variety!)

 

REP KEY

146px-Gay_flag.svg Gay*: Male attracted to other males (i.e. male same-sex attraction)

lesbianlgbt_large_480x480 Lesbian: Female attracted to other females (i.e. female same-sex attraction)

150px-Bi_flag.svg Bisexual: Male or female attracted to both males and females

330px-Polyamory-flag.svg Polyamorous: Intimate relationship between more than two people

150px-Transgender_Pride_flag.svg Transgender: Gender identity that differs from assigned sex

Bigender_pride Bigender: Gender identity that includes two different genders

150px-Genderqueer_flag-pride.svg Genderqueer: General term for non-binary gender identity

135px-Intersex_flag.svg Intersex: Person born with any variation in sex characteristics

*flag often used to represent the whole LGBT+ community; definition for the purpose of this post

 

Capture

 

LGBT+ supporting characters (any genre)

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg 150px-Bi_flag.svg City of Bones – Gay Shadowhunter Alec struggles with his feelings for Magnus, the flamboyant and openly bisexual High Warlock of Brooklyn, in a world where the archaic Clave disapproves of relationships between their two kinds.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Marked – Out-and-proud vampyre fledgling Damien Maslin is a close friend to MC Zoey and becomes one of her Circle when the goddess Nyx gifts him with the elemental Affinity for air.

150px-Bi_flag.svg Ink Exchange – Irial, the Dark King, and Niall, a powerful faerie currently serving the Summer Court, have a long and complicated history, made even more fraught now that they are both interested in the same mortal girl.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Nightshade – Guardians Mason and Neville face many challenges to their relationship, especially the fact it must remain a secret from their Keepers since it will prevent them from having children to expand their newly-formed pack.

 

FAVOURITES

150px-Bi_flag.svg 330px-Polyamory-flag.svg Darkest Mercy –  As war looms, Niall, now the Dark King, is desperate to help his two great loves: Leslie, the mortal girl who changed his life; and Irial, who after receiving a wound in battle finds himself on death’s door.

150px-Bi_flag.svg Lady Midnight – After years of riding with the Wild Hunt, half-faerie half-Shadowhunter Mark Blackthorn is returned to his family as a bargaining ship and finds himself torn between loyalty to his siblings and his faerie lover Kieran.

Bigender_pride The Art of Breathing – Ty Thompson, our panicked, passionate eco-terrorist-in-training, returns to Seafare with his new best friend in tow: Corey/Kori is bigender, flirtatious and meddling, but steadfastly loyal.

150px-Bi_flag.svg 330px-Polyamory-flag.svg Votive – The Bond-Riders are open to finding love and comfort wherever they can—same sex, opposite, couples, threesomes, or more. Katina draws strength from her lovers Debora and Alessandro as she braces for the trials ahead.

 

 

LGBT+ main characters (any genre)

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg Where You AreRobert’s life is falling apart, and the only place he finds any solace is with his maths teacher, Andrew. As the year progresses, their relationship deepens, edging into dangerous territory that holds incalculable risks for them both.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Finding ZachFor five years Zach was held hostage in the Venezuelan jungle, and now he must come to terms with the rift between him and David, his childhood friend and first (and only) love.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Christmas Throwaway – Thrown out of home for being gay, Zachary has no money and nowhere to go—until rookie cop Ben finds him sleeping on a bench on a snowy Christmas Even and shows him that some people do still care.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Sock it to Me, Santa! – Closeted Ryan has to make a handcrafted gift for his class’s Secret Santa exchange, and he is shocked to learn he has been assigned to the flamboyant and openly gay Jamie Peterson.

 

FAVOURITES

150px-Bi_flag.svg 146px-Gay_flag.svg Kings Rising – A kingdom, or this? All Damen has wanted is to escape Laurent and reclaim his throne, but now the time has come he finds his feelings for his former master may be too great to overcome.

135px-Intersex_flag.svg Sacred Fate – In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, the powerful sovereign Rohyr Essendri takes half-blood Lassen from his provincial town and makes him his paramour. Neither of them expected to fall in love.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Tournament of Losers – To pay off his father’s debts to the local crime lord, Rath enters the Tournament of Losers, where peasants compete for the chance to marry the youngest prince of the royal house.

150px-Bi_flag.svg Armed & Dangerous – Ty and Zane are partners, friends, lovers, and the FBI’s go-to team for unusual cases. Now they must deal with the lingering uncertainty between them as they are confronted with their most dangerous mission yet.

 

 

Gender-diverse main characters (any genre)

FIRSTS

Bigender_pride Static – Alex is a shift, part of a small percentage of the population that can switch between genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, he is suddenly stuck in his male body…and must come out to his heterosexual boyfriend.

135px-Intersex_flag.svg Sacred Fate – In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, the powerful sovereign Rohyr Essendri takes half-blood Lassen from his provincial town and makes him his paramour. Neither of them expected to fall in love.

135px-Intersex_flag.svg None of the Above – When schoolgirl Kristin visits the doctor, she receives a very unexpected diagnosis: she is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks (and feels) like a girl, she also has boy “parts” that have been hidden until now.

150px-Transgender_Pride_flag.svg The Art of Being Normal – David has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bullies think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David is really a girl.

 

FAVOURITES

Bigender_pride Static – Alex is a shift, part of a small percentage of the population that can switch between genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, he is suddenly stuck in his male body…and must come out to his heterosexual boyfriend.

135px-Intersex_flag.svg Sacred Fate – In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, the powerful sovereign Rohyr Essendri takes half-blood Lassen from his provincial town and makes him his paramour. Neither of them expected to fall in love.

150px-Transgender_Pride_flag.svg The Art of Being Normal – David has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bullies think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David is really a girl.

150px-Genderqueer_flag-pride.svg Uncovering Ray – Twenty-year-old college dropout Ray is genderqueer…and leery of starting up a new relationship after the last one crashed and burned. For me, this was an enlightening story about what it means to be gender non-binary.

 

 

LGBT+ novels for YA & NA (any genre)

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg Where You Are – Robert’s life is falling apart, and the only place he finds any solace is with his maths teacher, Andrew. As the year progresses, their relationship deepens, edging into dangerous territory that holds incalculable risks for them both.

146px-Gay_flag.svg 150px-Bi_flag.svg Surviving Elite High – Sixteen-year-old John is shy, lonely…and gay. When he is enlisted to tutor closeted bisexual Nick, the school’s star quarterback and hero, things start looking up, despite the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Gives Light – Skylar has been mute since the senseless murder of his mother eleven years ago. When he is sent to live with relatives on an Indian reservation, he finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Rafael. The son of his mother’s killer.

lesbianlgbt_large_480x480 Keeping You a Secret – High school life is going just fine for Holland, but everything is threatened when she develops feelings for the new girl, Cece…and she realises things aren’t actually as “fine” as they seem.

 

FAVOURITES

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Glass House – Self-destructive Sasha feels himself dying a little more every day. Until he meets Thomas. Thomas is shy but self-assured, and makes it his mission to prove to Sasha that he is worthy of love.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Not-so-openly gay Simon Spier starts an online “relationship” with an anonymous boy known only as Blue, which comes under threat when a classmate gets hold of their emails.

150px-Bi_flag.svg The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Bisexual rogue Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend (and secret crush) Percy, and the trials that follow test every facet of their burgeoning relationship.

150px-Bi_flag.svg Autoboyography – Tanner was happy enough to conceal his bisexuality when his family moved to Utah three years ago, but he starts to question everything when he finds himself falling for Mormon prodigy Sebastian.

 

 

LGBT+ contemporary (adult)

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg Finding Zach – For five years Zach was held hostage in the Venezuelan jungle, and now he must come to terms with the rift between him and David, his childhood friend and first (and only) love.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Christmas Throwaway – Thrown out of home for being gay, Zachary has no money and nowhere to go—until rookie cop Ben finds him sleeping on a bench on a snowy Christmas Even and shows him that some people do still care.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Curtis Reincarnation – Jordan has a good life, but he’s missing a man to share it with. The last thing he expects is an encounter with notorious rock star Tyler Curtis, but once he’s had a peek behind the bad body exterior, he doesn’t plan to let go.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Aaron – Psychologically traumatised Aaron is paired with Spencer, a precarious deaf boy, for his first college assignment, and the two gradually explore a new kind of understanding and normalcy within each other.

 

 

FAVOURITES

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Curtis Reincarnation – Jordan has a good life, but he’s missing a man to share it with. The last thing he expects is an encounter with notorious rock star Tyler Curtis, but once he’s had a peek behind the bad body exterior, he doesn’t plan to let go.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Bear, Otter and the Kid – Bear is struggling to raise his kid brother after their mother’s abandonment, and the last thing he needs is the homecoming of Otter, with whom he shared a forbidden kiss on that fateful day three years ago.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Falling Down – Closeted, former Marine Mark finds a homeless teenager sleeping under a bridge near his cabin. He takes Josh home and offers his a job, never expecting to fall for the young man with the dead look in his eyes.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Leo Loves Aries – Theo tries to set his sister up with Jamie, their new roommate, as her date to their exes’ wedding (to each other), and it will take all of Jamie’s patience to prove to the clueless Theo that he’s a better match for him than for her.

 

 

LGBT+ historical

I have only read ~4 proper “historical” novels with LGBT+ main characters:

146px-Gay_flag.svg Kindred Hearts – Nobleman Tristan Northwood only feels alive when he’s dancing on the edge…until his wife’s brother, Major Charles Mountjoy, returns from the wars and inspires feels of passion that Tristan assumed himself incapable of.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Lion and the Crow – In medieval England, knights Christian and William take up a quest to rescue William’s sister from her abusive husband, a partnership that will test their understanding of what duty, honour and love truly mean.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Gladiator’s Master – When Roman politician Caelius inherits a stable of gladiators, he finds himself drawn to Gaidres, the vengeful gladiator his family captured and forced into slavery.

150px-Bi_flag.svg The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Bisexual rogue Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend (and secret crush) Percy, and the trials that follow test every facet of their burgeoning relationship.

 

 

LGBT+ crime and thriller

FIRSTS

150px-Bi_flag.svg Cut & Run – After a series of murders that has stymied the FBI, they throw two of their best on the case: the cocky and abrasive Ty Grady, and sober, serious, focused Zane Garrett. It’s hate at first sight. Or is it?

146px-Gay_flag.svg Catch a Ghost – Opposites attract when Extreme Escapes’ bad-luck newbie, Tom, is partnered with Prophet, the most lethal and annoying operative, and they are assigned a case that is haunted by the ghosts of their pasts.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Evenfall – In the post-apocalyptic future, apathetic Boyd is assigned to be the handler of Sin, the Agency’s most vicious assassin, who due to his tendency to go off on unauthorised killing sprees has been locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years.

146px-Gay_flag.svg 150px-Bi_flag.svg Houseboat on the Nile – WBIS agent Mark thinks the CIA is full of amateurs. CIA operative Quinn thinks the WBIS are all sociopathic loose cannons. So they don’t get along. But that doesn’t mean they can’t play mind games on each other. Or more.

 

FAVOURITES

150px-Bi_flag.svg Armed & Dangerous – Ty and Zane are partners, friends, lovers, and the FBI’s go-to team for unusual cases. Now they must deal with the lingering uncertainty between them as they are confronted with their most dangerous mission yet.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Daylight Again – Prophet is a man on the edge, and he is pulling Tom, his partner on and off the job, right over with him. He must decide how much to reveal to Tom, and Tom must decide how far he will go to help Prophet lay his ghosts to rest.

150px-Bi_flag.svg 146px-Gay_flag.svg Six Degrees of Separation – Bisexual FBI agent Sam and gay bar manager Mac are exploring a new level of their non-relationship, but a break in Sam’s high-profile case reveals their lives are on a collision course…and it is too late to stop it.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Evenfall – In the post-apocalyptic future, apathetic Boyd is assigned to be the handler of Sin, the Agency’s most vicious assassin, who due to his tendency to go off on unauthorised killing sprees has been locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years.

 

 

LGBT+ sci-fi

I have only read LGBT+ “sci-fi” novels from ~4 distinct series:

146px-Gay_flag.svg Evenfall – In the post-apocalyptic future, apathetic Boyd is assigned to be the handler of Sin, the Agency’s most vicious assassin, who due to his tendency to go off on unauthorised killing sprees has been locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years.

146px-Gay_flag.svg My Fair Captain – Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes “undercover” on a Regency planet, where he finds himself falling for the king’s artistic son, Aiden, who must remain pure until marriage.

150px-Bi_flag.svg 330px-Polyamory-flag.svg Hers to Command – The sentient planet Verdantia is dying, and her salvation lies with the union of the Tetriarch: military commander, Ari, his contractual bride Princess Fleur, and his personal assassin and aide de camp, Doral.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Seven – Defective precog Seven has been running for his life since escaping the Sub-Floor. Love is nothing but a weakness that can be used against him, a luxury he simply can’t afford, but he just can’t stay away from his new neighbour Chase.

 

 

LGBT+ epic & high fantasy

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Devil’s Fire – Forced into an arranged marriage after the death of his true love, Gareth has no intention of giving Alric the light of day. But when Alric is gravely injured, Gareth discovers feelings for his husband he’s been trying to deny.

150px-Bi_flag.svg 146px-Gay_flag.svg Captive Prince – Damianos, rightful heir to the throne, is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a slave. He must never reveal who he is, for Laurent, his new master, has more reason to hate him than anyone else.

 146px-Gay_flag.svg True of Heart – A hundred years ago, the High Sorcerer almost destroyed the draegons. Now, his chief assassin Gaige infiltrates the draegon rebels’ camp to kill their leader, but the passionately captivating Keiran is nothing like Gaige ever expected…

135px-Intersex_flag.svg Sacred Fate – In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, the powerful sovereign Rohyr Essendri takes half-blood Lassen from his provincial town and makes him his paramour. Neither of them expected to fall in love.

 

FAVOURITES

150px-Bi_flag.svg 146px-Gay_flag.svg Kings Rising – A kingdom, or this? All Damen has wanted is to escape Laurent and reclaim his throne, but now the time has come he finds his feelings for his former master may be too great to overcome.

146px-Gay_flag.svg 150px-Bi_flag.svg Weregild – Fen is an Untouchable, on the brink of madness, and desperate to save his family. Malick wants to help, but he’ll have to devise a way to do his god’s bidding without breaking the laws that binding, or else sacrifice his own soul.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Tournament of Losers – To pay off his father’s debts to the local crime lord, Rath enters the Tournament of Losers, where peasants compete for the chance to marry the youngest prince of the royal house.

146px-Gay_flag.svg lesbianlgbt_large_480x480 The Dark Defiles – A dark lord must rise. But who? Ringil, cynic and unapologetic homosexual, and his half-human lesbian friend Archeth intend to find out…and stop the coming war, no matter the cost.

 

 

LGBT+ low fantasy & paranormal

FIRSTS

146px-Gay_flag.svg Falling – British mage Christian comes to the US, undercover as a detective, to solve a series of supernatural murders. He never expects to find himself intensely attracted to Alec, the enigmatic American cop in charge of the case.

146px-Gay_flag.svg The Long Way Home – Psychic Kevin Quinn is called in to help police with a number of disappearances, and forges a disturbing psychic connection with Conner Dougal, the newest detective on the force.

150px-Bi_flag.svg A Thread of Deepest Black – When his mortal enemy, the deadly shifter Colton, shows up on his doorstep asking an unspeakable favour, werewolf Killian finds himself understandably cautious…but also tempted beyond the limits of his constraint.

146px-Gay_flag.svg Secret – Nick Merrick has stretched to his breaking point. Those who hunt his kind are flooding the town, his secret may cost him his brothers, and he can’t keep his mind off Adam, the handsome, self-assured dancer he’s been sneaking out to see at night.

 

FAVOURITES

150px-Bi_flag.svg Half Lost – Seventeen-year-old witch Nathan, a Half Code and the Alliance’s most critical weapon, is losing his mind. His only solace is in Gabriel, whose love still may not be enough to save Nathan from the violent war and the person he has become.

146px-Gay_flag.svg SecretNick Merrick has stretched to his breaking point. Those who hunt his kind are flooding the town, his secret may cost him his brothers, and he can’t keep his mind off Adam, the handsome, self-assured dancer he’s been sneaking out to see at night.

146px-Gay_flag.svg 150px-Bi_flag.svg The Raven King – Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted. Adam’s life is no longer his own, and he doesn’t know what to do with Ronan’s feelings for him. Ronan, his friend. Ronan, who saved him. Ronan…who steals from dreams.

146px-Gay_flag.svg 330px-Polyamory-flag.svg Dragon’s Eye – Ushna has now lost his beloved Tristan and Brian, his Twin Flame, but he knows he must go on. What he doesn’t know is that a forgotten goddess has plans for them, and that Tristan and Brian are fighting to return to his side.

 

 

Top LGBT+ books on my TBR (any genre)

If I had to choose 4 “top” LGBT+ books on my TBR list, they would be:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual perspective. When the two meet, they kindle a special friendship that will reveal many truths about themselves.

Wolfsong – It’s been three years since the boy chased after the monster, leaving Ox to pick up the pieces. Now the boy is back, except he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

The Foxhole Court – Neil is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University team, but he’s not the only one with secrets. One of his new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time.

Six Degrees of Agony – The “conclusion” to Sam and Mac’s story…when it eventually comes out (been waiting FOREVER!!!!!).

 

 

rainbow

What are the first LGBT+ books you read? What are your favourites? Have you read any of those mentioned above?

 

 

RA_logo _backdrop-01_miniRebecca Alasdair

 

  One thought on “Firsts & favourites: Books with LGBT+ themes

  1. Ari
    15/06/2018 at 6:29 AM

    There are a few of these on my TBR list. Great post, very detailed.

    Liked by 1 person

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