Monday 22 June 2020

My 6 favourite books with LGBT+ representation

Representation is SO important to me; seeing yourself in the media and content you consume is so incredible, and something many people take for granted. I wrote a whole dissertation about the representation of transgender characters within post-modern fiction, and sadly it wasn't surprising to me that it was extremely lacking. Thankfully this is something that seems to be improving, and representation of LGBT+ characters within film and books is steadily growing and getting better. I wanted to add my recommendations to the many lists you'll have seen floating around - let me know if you've read any of these book with LGBT+ representation!

Lily and Dunkin

I read Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart as part of my dissertation research and I honestly absolutely loved it. A YA tale, this is a dual-narrative about a trans girl called  Lily and a boy called Dunkin who has bipolar disorder. It's a story about coming to terms with who you are, exploring how life changes during your formative years and how friendships can bloom in the most unexpected places. It explores family acceptance and mental health and gender issues and it's just so skilfully written. I adore this book, and it's a must-read if you want a good story with LGBT+ themes.

Here We Are Now*

Jasmine Warga's Here We Are Now is a story about a girl meeting her estranged father and his family, and while it doesn't focus on LGBT+ themes, one of the characters is in a same-sex relationship. It's dropped casually into the story, and I think this is the type of LGBT+ rep that is severely lacking: it's not a story about LGBT+ issues, it's just something that exists within the book. You don't get a lot of that, sadly! While this book might seem out of place on a list of stories that have much stronger LGBT+ themes, I just wanted to point out how important it is to seamlessly integrate LGBT+ characters into fiction about other topics, so people feel 'seen' as often as possible.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Another book I read during my dissertation research, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills is about a trans boy called Gabe, navigating the coming-out process in his small town. It weaves LGBT+ themes with music, telling the story through song choices and radio shows. It's a story about the importance of friendship, of being yourself and of how families don't always see eye to eye, no matter how much they love you.

Read with Pride*

This is a recent publication, and one I read in the space of about 2 hours. The sequel to Lucy Powrie's Paper & Hearts Society, it follows Liv as she campaigns against the new library system of students needing parental permission to check out books with LGBT+ themes and characters. It's a well-written story about small victories and revolution, and about how important it is to use your voice to ensure that those around you are able to be their true selves. There are characters from right across the LGBT+ community, and it's not a coming out story - it's something completely different, and so worthwhile.


Jackie Kay's novel Trumpet is incredible; detailing the life and death of Joss Moody, a fictional jazz musician, it deals with the concept of finding out someone you loved was trans - after their death. It comes as a shock to his son, of course, and the press don't take too kindly to it. This is a story about how intricate human relationships are, and about how love and deception can work hand in hand. I loved this book!

Crocodile Soup

Julia Darling's main character, Gert, is a lesbian - and the book is loosely about her falling in love with a woman called Eva. Again, this isn't a coming out story; it flits between her tumultuous childhood and her present day existence, and it's really a tale about the fragility of mental health and how our early life affects out future. But she just happens to be gay. So again, good representation without the book needing to focus SOLELY on sexuality.

So these are 6 of my favourite books that have good LGBT+ representation. There are more, of course, but I didn't want this to just be a list. I wanted to tell you WHY I love these books, and why I think they're worth reading. Let me know if you have any recommendations because I'm always adding to my TBR list...


  1. So excited for Read with Pride. The first book was my favourite of 2019 x

  2. My mate read Trumpet and did not stop going on about it for weeks, it's going to th top of my reading list!