Bite-sized reviews of the LGBTQ books I’ve read in the past week. All titles are linked to their Goodreads page.
Between August 29th and September 4th, I read:
Erik the Pink by Matthew J. Metzger (2018)
Queer rep: One MC is pansexual and the other is a gay trans man
Thoughts: This is a cute slice-of-life story about parenthood. Erik grew up in foster care and always wanted kids and a family, but Andreas struggled through a pregnancy that sent his dysphoria skyrocketing, and is worried he’ll resent the baby as a result. This book shows both men coping with parenthood and forming a family during the first year of their daughter’s life.
Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie, Sungyoon Choi (2015)
Queer rep: The MC is gay, as is a secondary character
Thoughts: This was an absorbing family drama, centering around Walter, a teenager with a depressed father and a missing mother. We get parts of his parents’ stories, past and present, as well as Walter’s, and I was invested in every single thread. There are illustrations and a few beautiful graphic novel segments staggered throughout that really made everything feel so much more immediate.
Bend by Nancy J. Hedin (2017)
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: The MC is a lesbian, as is a secondary character
Thoughts: This started off as a coming-of-age novel with a lonely queer girl in a religious Southern small town dreaming of getting a college scholarship that will get her out. But then it turns into a family drama that goes increasingly off the rails. It was a little too much, too extreme, and there are some serious issues that are glossed over. In a nutshell, it was uneven.
Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott (1994)
Queer rep: The two POV characters are lesbians and essentially every character of note is gay or lesbian
Thoughts: This started a little bit slowly for me, but after the first chapter or so it picked up quickly. It’s cyberpunk and a lot of the narrative takes place inside the net, which Scott turns into its own detailed world. The tech elements in the story are a little bit dated, but the plot is still engaging and there are political elements and social critiques that are still relevant. I liked the characters a lot as well.
That Blue Sky Feeling, Vol. 1 by Okura, Coma Hasii (2018)
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: The MC is questioning and the most important secondary character is gay
Thoughts: This is a coming-of-age type story, with high school transfer student Noshiro finding himself fascinated by outcast Sanada. Noshiro is determined to bring Sanado out of his shell, only to learn that he’s a loner because of a rumor that he’s gay. Noshiro isn’t sure how to deal with that rumor or his own musings about what it means to “like” someone. The back copy calls it a romance but it really isn’t. I liked it for the most part, and liked that it was self-contained – one complete narrative arc. There were some awkward elements and scenes I didn’t really get, but it’s pretty solid and I’ll probably pick up the next volume when its published in English.
Bonus Book: Tuesdays Are Just as Bad by Cethan Leahy (2018) has a secondary gay character