Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, we’re rounding up our favourite books written from the perspective of a queer main character – many of which are also written by #OwnVoices authors. As we look to see ourselves reflected in the books we read, it’s more important than ever to lift up queer voices and celebrate LGBTQIA+ stories – so why not pick up one of these amazing reads this month?
Caldella is a sinking island ruled by witches. To tame the dark tide, Eva the Witch Queen must sacrifice a young male to the ocean every year. When Lina’s crush is chosen, she is determined to rescue him – but finds herself falling for Eva instead. Described by the author as an ‘enemies-to-lovers, unapologetically gay, hero and villain fall in love’ story, this is one queer debut you won’t want to miss in 2020. Did we mention it has witches!?
Themes: Bisexual love triangle, Australian author, thrilling fantasy, hero x villain romance, witches, spells, dancing, sea monsters
What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a 90’s rom-com! Bryson Keller has accepted the dare. He must date a new person every week – and it must be the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Kai Sheridan musters up his courage and puts his heart on the line. . . after all, Bryson never said it could only be girls who ask.
Themes: M/M romance, coming out, high school, secrets, total cuteness (!)
Leah is best friends with Simon Spier (star of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and as a drummer, she’s usually right on the beat. But it’s senior year and real life is getting a little harder to manage. Tensions are high, friendships are fracturing and prom and college are looming. Leah has some secrets of her own, too – so what if she likes girls as well as boys? Filled with tons of heartfelt moments (alongside Leah’s trademark sarcasm and well-meaning snarkiness, of course) Leah on the Offbeat is a must-read this Pride Month.
Themes: F/F romance, great banter, high school drama, body confidence, anxiety
Camp Outland is a summer camp for queer teens. It’s where Randy Kapplehoff has met all his best friends, and also where he met his crush, Hudson Aaronson-Lim. Unfortunately, Hudson only goes for straight-acting guys. Randy is determined to make Hudson fall for him, even if that means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets. But how much is he willing to change for love? A fun-filled romp that’ll give you teen movie vibes, the representation in this one is off the charts, and makes us feel very warm and happy inside.
Themes: M/M romance, entirely queer cast, toxic masculinity, multicultural representation, musical theatre
Simone is HIV-positive – but she’s positive that HIV won’t define her. Simone knows that celibacy is the best way to stay safe . . . Enter Miles Austin: intelligent, funny and way too sexy for her to resist. But her classmates don’t know that Simone is HIV-positive. What is the truth worth in the hands of the wrong person? Written by then-17 year old Camryn Garrett, Full Disclosure is authentic, honest and raw with moments of romance and levity amidst some very important discussions.
Themes: POC bisexual lead, gay parents, normalising HIV, queer support-characters, coming out, abstinence, sex positivity, questioning, musical theatre
Jack Rothman is seventeen. A solid student with a talent for art, he likes partying, makeup and boys. His active, unashamed sex life makes him a red-hot topic for the high school gossip machine, but Jack doesn’t really care too much about what the crowd says. However, when Jack starts writing a teen sex advice column online, he begins to receive creepy and threatening love letters from an ‘admirer’ who demands Jack to curb his sexuality and personality, or else. It’s up to Jack and his friends to uncover the stalker’s identity as the pressure becomes genuinely dangerous. This queer mystery, in the vein of Riverdale, is everything we love in a book – intriguing, suspenseful and full of deep characters you can’t wait to get inside the minds of.
Themes: Out main character, mystery, cyber-bullying and stalking, humour, sex positivity
Six Melbourne school friends in Year Ten navigate grief, friendship, heartache and adventure. Adie is struggling with her past and looking for life outside paintings. Wren is following crushes and looking after her best friend Milo. Milo is managing his autism and has a killer crush on Wren. Juliet remembers every detail and wants to break her silence. Ben is a bully dealing with the toxic masculinity endorsed by his parental figures. Hari is hiding in her relationship. This family saga-esque story from Emily Gale will make you feel ALL the feels.
Themes: Diverse and queer main characters, Australian author, cyber-bullying, autism, bisexual love triangle, family drama