2018 has been an incredible year in terms of new releases featuring queer characters! I say this every year, but I honestly think there have been more new books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters during 2018 than any year previously. It’s amazing! More queer novels, please!
I’m just so happy that this year, the majority of the books I’ve read have included explicitly queer characters, if these characters aren’t the protagonist. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to pick off more than a handful of these books off the shelves at stores – and look where we are now! My glittery rainbow soul is singing.
I’m already looking forward to all the glorious queer releases of 2019, but before then, I’d like to share my top 8 queer reads of 2018! I utterly adored all of these and I could have put 100 more on this list, but I had to narrow it down to my absolute favourites. I hope you loved these ones too!
I really should have been more prepared going into Summer Bird Blue, because I was NOT prepared for all those feels. I knew it was going to be a book about loss, and that it would explore the protagonist’s asexuality, but I didn’t know just how heartbreaking it was going to be. I really should have expected it to rip out my heart like Akemi Dawn Bowman did with Starfish to me. I also loved how the protagonist’s sexuality wasn’t the main focus of the story and how she did talk about it, but it was in no way a defining characteristic. It was just exceptionally well-written and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the feels. What a masterpiece.
Everyone knows I’m Alice Oseman trash, so of course I was desperate to get my hands on her latest release ever since it was announced—and it definitely didn’t disappoint! With a diverse cast of characters, most of whom are queer, I Was Born for This was like a hug in a book. This novel is about fame and fandoms and music and religion, but at the core of that is a story about the yearning to belong and to be who you are completely. This book just stole my heart.
When two of your favourite authors write a book together, you know it’s one you have to get your hands on ASAP! What if it’s Us is a book about two queer boys, coffee, and a series of failed dates set across the New York City backdrop. And it was just perfect! I saw so much of myself in What if it’s Us, especially in the characters’ obsession with musicals, and I just utterly adored it. I couldn’t have wished for a better book from Becky and Adam. What a treat!
Skylarks is another book I want to see get more love, because it was such an incredible read! What I loved most about it was that I wasn’t expecting it to have a queer romance—and for it to be set in a library! It was such a cute read, but it also dealt with deeper issues like those of poverty and privilege. And how gorgeous is that cover! Trust me when I say this book is just as magnificent.
When I heard about Let’s Talk About Love in 2017—the first book I’d ever encountered with a biromantic asexual protagonist—I knew it was one I was going to connect with instantly. I’d read books with bisexual characters, and books with asexual characters, but this was the first time I saw the entirety of my sexuality represented in a book. And it was just incredible! Let’s Talk About Love is such an adorable, fluffy book set in college that had me swooning the entire time.
This is the book everyone had been waiting for after reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—the book where Leah finally gets her bisexual justice! And it was the perfect timing for this one to be let loose into the world, what with the release of Love, Simon earlier in the year. Even though Leah wasn’t my favourite in Simon, I finally got to know more about her and see her live her best bi life. More Simon-verse stuff, please!
After reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, Felicity Montague quickly became one of my favourite female characters of all time. I mean, she’s a badass feminist who’s also an aspiring doctor, who’s also kind of a pirate? That’s my dream girl right there. And The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy definitely didn’t disappoint. I just had a smile on my face the entire time while reading it, and I can’t wait to see what Mackenzi Lee writes next.
Wow. It’s been months since I’ve read this novel, but I still can’t stop thinking about it. Girl Made of Stars is a book about sexual assault and friendship, and it’s one that will stay with you long after the final page. It’s also really heart-wrenching and hard-hitting. This isn’t an easy read, but it’s a necessary one. Mara’s sexuality isn’t the main focus of this book either, and that’s another thing I really liked about it. More queer protagonists in books that aren’t just about exploring one’s sexuality, please!
What are some of your favourite queer YA novels of 2018? Have you read any on my list? Which upcoming releases starring queer protagonists are you looking forward to reading? I’d love to know!