**Post written by Ashley from BooksByMigs through our collaboration**
Ethan messaged me last night with this wonderful idea. Because June is Pride month he was telling me how I should have done something special on the blog highlighting some of my favorite LGBT novels. I loved the idea so much we decided to collaborate and feature some of our favorites!
While not a member of the LGBT community myself, some of my closest friends are. Through them I have seen firsthand the struggles that those in their community have faced. The monumental movements and strides made this week will forever impact their lives for the better. It is with great honor that we support them here today. That being said, I was, understandably hesitant to read my first LGBT read. Especially an m/m read. It’s not something I have any experience with personally, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading one. I’m so glad I took a chance and read my first LGBT novel, as it definitely changed my life. Each and every one of the incredible novels I am featuring in my list has made a positive impact on my life in a variety of reasons. This is really a special thing for me to say, as romance is among my very least favorite genre. These novels have really changed the way I read. While I have only read a handful of novels that fit into this category, I know that there are many more that will touch me the way these stories have. In no particular order, here are my top four LGBT reads:
- Stolen by Becca Vincenza The very first LGBT book that I read. I remember I only took the plunge because it was a paranormal novel primarily. From page one I was hooked and couldn’t let go. The relationship between Drake and Xavier is also probably among the most unique I have ever read. While they don't "fall in love" in the traditional sense, the fall in love, nonetheless. They are 'life mates', each others' one true love. While they are both extremely resistant at first, their budding friendship and relationship is seriously a thing of beauty. Completely take the sexual element out of the equation and at its' base, their relationship is rock solid. It was really interesting to read about that. Becca opened my eyes to this sub genre and I am honored that her novel was my first read.
- The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen If you guys follow my blog, you know that I am a huge Sarina Bowen fan. Her Ivy Years series is among my all-time favorite NA Contemporary series. Each novel in this series hit me in a different way, but none hit me in the particular way that this one did. The relationship between Rikker and Graham was so incredibly hard for me to read. Their love story wasn’t an easy one. It was cringe-worthy at times and left me such an emotional wreck that few have topped since. Talking out the LGBT element out of the equation, you see two friends whose complicated relationship nearly cost them their happiness. To say it was emotional is a huge understatement. That being said, through this novel, I learned so much about what it means to be a New Adult member of the LGBT community. Sarina Bowen really helped to open my eyes to the issues faced by members in 2015.
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire-Saenz This one was strictly a recommendation from my good friend Christina over at LuLo FanGirl. This is one of Christina’s all time favorite reads, with great reason. Oh man, get ready to catch the feels, I know I did. While the LGBT portion of this novel doesn’t present itself until the last part of the novel, the budding relationship between the characters of Dante and Aristotle was nothing short of literary perfection. Their character development was among the best I have ever read. Their love story was truly one for the ages. Full of emotion and triumph, watching them come into their own was such a rewarding experience.
- Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson I only came across this novel thanks to the recommendation of our Ashley here from Books by Migs. She’s such a big Megan Erickson fan that I had been wanting to read one of her novels for months when I came across this one. I really didn’t know what to expect from the novel, but I can tell you that in the end I came out of it a better person. Justin and Landry’s relationship was one emotional roller coaster ride. And one that I really could relate to. They were both coming out of a very important part of their lives with some immense baggage on their shoulders. It was only through finding their relationship with one another that they were able to overcome their issues and make it through to the end. It was truly a beautifully crafter and incredible story of love, hope, and compassion. It was an honor to devour it.
- Focus on Me by Megan Erickson I love this book so much. Megan is so skilled in not just writing romance, but actually digging deeper into how people actually work. Focus on Me is no different. She created these two characters, Colin and Riley, and everything about them felt true and real. I lived their story with them and it wasn’t an easy one. Without getting into the story because it’s not out just yet (soon though! July 21st!) it’s not spoilery to say that mental illness plays a huge role in the plot of Focus on Me. That’s the big plot device on this story, not their being gay. I loved that. Both Colin and Riley were already out and proud and didn’t have any problems with being their true self. We need more of that in this world.
- Captive Prince & Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat There’s so much that can be said about these novels, and probably the third when it finally comes out. Damen and Laurent are everything. The series is a little bit fantasy, a little bit romance and a whole lot of awesome. Damen and Laurent’s being gay or bisexual have no bearing on the story at all. The story is about so much more than that. It’s about friendship and trust. It’s about fighting for what you believe in and making sure those you care for are taking care of. Thanks to my lovely friend, Lia Riley, I was introduced to this series and I love her immensely for it.
- Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler Lesbians! Do you know how hard it is to find good lesbian fiction? Especially in Young Adult? Very. But Dahlia did it and she did it so well. Vanessa and Brianna are amazing. I fell for them as they fell for each other.
- During the story Vanessa realizes she’s gay and needs to come to terms with that. And she tells her family and friends who she really is as well. This is so important to see in a book because there are so many kids out there who my feel like her and need to know that it’s okay to be true to themselves. And then there’s Bri. She’s bisexual and is not afraid to be herself. She’s not afraid to love who she falls for and that’s wonderful.
- Rush by Nyrae Dawn This book, you guys. This. Book. I cannot say enough about this book. It’s one of my favorites ever. I mean outside of it being about two guys. Brandon’s coming out and dealing with the fallout because he’s this big college football player and Alec’s standing by his friend and the man he loves. It’s beautiful. It’s not an easy story to read but one that many people live. And Brandon’s parents? I love them so much. They exemplify how parents should act. They love their child unconditionally and sadly that just seems to be rare these days.
Ashley really blew this post out of the water and I am so pumped to share it with you guys. Ashley is another amazing bookish friend of mine and this is our first official collaboration. We're so glad you stopped by to heard our take on LGBT reads! What are some of your favorites? Have you read ours? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Until next time, Happy Reading!