Bite-sized reviews of the LGBTQ books I’ve read in the past week. All titles are linked to their Goodreads page.
Between March 24th and 30th, I read:
Frost and Raine by K.L. Noone (2021)
Queer rep: The MC and LI are gay, several queer secondary characters
Thoughts: This is incredibly sweet and a really nice bit of escapism. It’s set in a world where humans and magical personifications coexist, and the MC is a Frost spirit who is atypical: despite having powers involving ice, Don likes nothing better than spreading warmth–both literally, as the owner of a coffee shop, and figuratively through his relentless good cheer. Raine is another atypical personification: a Cupid who works as a divorce lawyer. The sarcastic Raine stops into Don’s coffee shop and is grumpily unimpressed by the welcoming atmosphere, sweet drinks, and frost-decorated windows. Don is relentlessly cheerful even in the face of Raine’s sarcasm, and soon makes it his personal goal to get Raine to smile at least once. The story takes place mainly through their coffee-shop interactions, so there’s a lot of banter and gentle slice-of-life interaction as they progress from strangers to acquaintances, to some kind of friend, to romantic partners. A nice bit of fluff that I enjoyed a lot.
Plenty of Hugs by Fran Manushkin (2020)
Genre: picture book
Queer rep: Features a family with two moms
Thoughts: This picture book follows a pair of moms and their toddler through a full day as they take a bike ride, stop by a farm stand, visit the zoo, and enjoy a bedtime story. I enjoyed the gentle illustrations, but the text fell a bit flat. It’s done in rhyme, but it’s a bit awkward and has unexpected syntax that I think could trip people up as a read-aloud.
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima (2018)
Genre: picture book
Queer rep: Harriet has two dads
Thoughts: This is a fun story about a little girl who loves to dress up. Harriet has a costume for every occasion and is looking forward to her costume-themed birthday party. When her two dads take her to the store for some party shopping, she dresses up in her penguin costume–and when she runs into a flock of penguins doing some shopping of their own, she ends up traveling back to the antarctic with them. As much as Harriet likes her penguin outfit, she’s not sure she really fits in. She has to use her creativity to get back to her home and her family. I liked this a lot.
The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (2020)
Queer rep: The MC is sapphic; multiple gay, bi, lesbian, and third-gender secondary and minor characters
Thoughts: This is the third book in The Masquerade series, which follows the machinations of Baru Cormorant, whose life was overturned in her childhood when the Empire of Masks came to her village under the pretense of trade and slowly took over. Baru became a star student, but she had an ulterior motive: to learn everything, find her way to the heart of the Empire, and take it down from the inside. There are plots upon plots and a very complicated web of factions and competing interests and I am so eager to see how Dickinson will manage to wrap everything up in the forthcoming final fourth installment. This is a really immersive, sprawling, complicated series that is so worth the investment.
~Bonus book: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart (middle grade fiction; 2019) has a secondary lesbian character