Pride Queer Reads
Recommendation

Celebrating Pride With Queer Reads

Welcome to June, the month of all things Queer in the United States. It’s time for another recommendation post this time with some of my favorite LGBTQIA+ reads. (I wanted to also do a rec post for Queer video games but I haven’t played the games in my backlog, so maybe next year.) As I went through the list of recs, I realized that they all have one thing in common. A theme of self-discovery. Learning and accepting who you are.

Comics

Goodbye, Battle Princess Peony

Goodbye, Battle Prince Peony

Battle Princess Peony’s royal destiny is simple: defend her planet from the evil Divine Lady Silkrose. But everything changes when she’s accidentally warped into Silkrose’s private academy for villains-in-training, where graduation is the only way out!

Peony throws her heroic heart aside and starts becoming the villain of her nightmares in her bid for freedom, but the dark side is full of secrets that could change her world forever. Will Peony escape Silkrose’s clutches? Or will she succumb to Silkrose’s dark charms for good?

Title Info

  • Creator: Mira Ong Chua
  • Publisher: Independent
  • Medium: Graphic Novel

When it comes to Sapphic comics, you can’t go wrong with works by Mira Ong Chua. The artwork is beautiful with its dark undertones. I need all the Peony and Silkrose art.

Alice in Leatherland

Aice in Leatherland

Alice, a young writer of children’s story books, is hurtled out of her fairytale-like life when she discovers her girlfriend has been cheating on her! Charmingly defiant, she leaves her small forest town and leaps into a new adventure to seek love (and find herself) in the fast life of San Francisco. There, her concept of pure, magical love will be completely overturned–but her biggest challenge won’t be reckoning with other people’s sexual drive, it’ll be getting a grip on her own! 

Title Info

  • Creators: Iolanda Zanfardino (Writer) and Elisa Romboli (Artist)
  • Publisher: Black Mask Studios
  • Media: 5 single comic book issues, 1 graphic novel

A beautiful story of self-discovery, friendship, love, and a side of kink! Alice puts her life back together after heartbreak while learning who she is, her wants, and needs. Her best friend Robin learns that her, albeit VERY SEXY, life also isn’t exactly what she wants and strives to get it.

Fence

Fence

Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut!

Title Info

  • Creators: C.S. Pacat (Writer) and Johanna the Mad (Artist)
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Media: 4 graphic novels (on-going), 2 novels

I love banter. Enough said. And Nicholas and Seiji’s banter back and forth is *chef’s kiss* LOL I also love the different characters’ expressions of identity.

Moonstruck

Fantasy creatures are living typical, unremarkable lives alongside humans, and barista Julie strives to be the most unremarkable of all. Normal job, normal almost-girlfriend, normal…werewolf transformations that happen when she gets upset? Yikes! But all bets are off when she and her centaur best friend Chet find themselves in the middle of a magical conspiracy. Will Julie and Chet be able to save their friends? Is Julie’s dogged determination to be normal a lost cause? Who’s going to watch the coffee shop while our heroes are out saving the world??

Title Info

  • Creators: Grace Ellis (Writer) and Shae Beagle (Artist)
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Media: 3 graphic novels

Coffee, magic, and mystical beings? Sign me up!! No, really, is there a portal to this magical world?!

Mooncakes

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods.

As a genderqueer werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Title Info

  • Creators: Suzanne Walker (Writer) and Wendy Xu (Artist)
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Medium: Graphic novel

“A witch and a werewolf walk into a bookshop” sounds like the makings of a bad dad joke. LOL Nova’s grandmothers are awesome and Nova and Tam’s relationship and they strive to learn who they are is beautiful.

The Prince & The Dressmaker

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. 

Title Info

  • Creator: Jen Wang
  • Publisher: First Second Books
  • Medium: Graphic novel

Prince Sebastian as his persona of Lady Crystallia is FABULOUS!

Covenant

Ezra, a powerful exorcist with no faith in God, is tasked to protect a seemingly normal human from rising demonic forces. With his church under scrutiny and the threat of war on the horizon, will Ezra find his conviction in time? Or will Sunny suffer the consequences? ​

Title Info

  • Creator: Explodikid
  • Publisher: WEBTOON
  • Medium: Web Comic (on-going series)

Queer priests who gain powers from gorgeous angels to fight sexy demons?! What more can you say?!?!

Manga

Boys Run the Riot

A transgender teen named Ryo finds an escape from the expectations and anxieties of his daily life in the world of street fashion. This personal, heartfelt, fictional story from a transgender manga creator made waves in Japan and will inspire readers all over the world!

Title Info

  • Creator: Keito Gaku
  • Publisher: Kodansha
  • Media: 4 manga volumes

Boys Run the Riot is Ryo’s journey to just be himself in a world that doesn’t understand him and the friends he makes along the way. The artwork is stunning and who knew that designing a street fashion line had so much involved in it??!!!

Mine-kun is Asexual

Mine-kun is Asexual. He doesn’t like sexual intimacy in a relationship. He can kiss a girl, but it’s not something he wants to do if he can help it. But Murai loves him so much that she’s willing to overlook the fact that she can’t hold his hand; that she can’t cuddle up next to him when they watch movies together; that she can’t fall in love with him the way that she hopes to be loved in return. In the eyes of those around them, is this even a relationship that’s meant to last, or is it a train wreck just waiting to happen? 

Title Info

  • Creator: Isaki Uta
  • Publisher: Irodori Comics
  • Medium: 1 manga volume

Mine-kun is Asexual is a doujinshi and so is on the shorter side. Even with that, we get to meet the sweetheart Mine-kun who unapologetically knows who he is.

Our Dreams at Dusk

Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he’s also terrified that he’s been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.

Title Info

  • Creator: Shimanami Tasogare
  • Publisher: Seven Seas
  • Media: 4 manga volumes

At its heart, Our Dreams at Dusk is a story of found family. Of having a place to go to be loved and supported by others who are /different/.

The Bride Was a Boy

Drawn in the style of diary comics with an upbeat, adorable flair, this is a charming tale about Chii, a woman assigned male at birth. Her story starts with her childhood and follows the ups and downs of exploring her sexuality, gender, and transition–as well as falling in love with a man who’s head over heels for her. Now they want to get married, so Chii’s about to embark on a new adventure: becoming a bride!

Title Info

  • Creator: Chii
  • Publisher: Seven Seas
  • Medium: 1 manga volume

The Bride Was a Boy is a cute and funny take on Chii’s journey. Each chapter also includes informative sections on terms related to transitioning.

Blue Flag

It’s the last year of high school, and love is in the air. Romantic feelings that have been building up over years of friendship come to light. When Taichi’s classmate Futaba asks him to help her confess to his best friend, Toma, it sparks the catalyst that begins the sweet and heart-wrenching journey of their third and final year of high school.

Title Info

  • Creator: KAITO
  • Publisher: Viz Media
  • Media: 8 manga volumes

I originally thought this story would be a love triangle between the three characters on the first volume’s cover but it is so much more! The artwork is STUNNING and the focus given to supporting characters gives a full picture of differing views of the world.

I Want to Be a Wall

Any love story aficionado will say that the key to a successful couple is intense desire for one another—but what if the characters in question are an asexual woman with a passion for Boys Love stories and a gay man whose heart forever belongs to his oblivious childhood friend? Although romance will never be in the cards for newlyweds Yuriko and Gakurouta, the bond blossoming between them promises to be a wonderful relationship—the likes of which neither has ever experienced before…

Title Info

  • Creator: Honami Shirono
  • Publisher: Yen Press
  • Medium: 1 manga volume (on-going)

This manga is comical at points with Yuriko’s love of BL and also so sweet in the way that Yuriko and Gakurouta support each other.

Books

Cinderella is Dead

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

Title Info

  • Author: Kalynn Bayron
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Medium: Young Adult Book

A Sapphic retelling of Cinderella where the fairy tale has a more sinister background.

Sweet & Bitter Magic

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first…

Title Info

  • Author: Adrienne Tooley
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Medium: Young Adult Book

Self-acceptance, and personal growth, and love. Tamsin and Wren learn a lot about themselves and each other on their journey to say the world.

To Beg or Not To Beg

There’s something rotten about the King of Denmark.

Ophelia
I’ve seen the way Hamlet stares at Horatio. The fickle prince has been pining over Horatio since before we left Helsingr. Before I ran away from home on the worst night of my life.
It’s a night I’ve kept secret from everyone. Not even Horatio knows why I left the way I did or why I can’t go home because I’m afraid of my own family. It’s my best kept secret, except for one.
That my attitude toward Hamlet has much to do with hate but more to do with lust.

Horatio
I was born with little and raised with less … until I met Ophelia. She’s my Princess, though neither of us was born to wear a crown.
Unlike Hamlet. My oldest friend, the target of all of Ophelia’s jokes, the only man to make me wish I could love them both.
I can’t lose either of them, but time is running out to prove they can both be mine.

Hamlet
To be king, I’m supposed to marry a proper queen. Considering I’ve only ever loved the two people I cannot have, an arranged marriage wasn’t the worst option.
Until Horatio and Ophelia give me just one night, and I know nothing else will ever be enough. I would do anything to turn one night into forever.
Too bad, my dead father has other plans.

Title Info

  • Author: Cat Giraldo
  • Publisher: Independent
  • Medium: Adult Book

And last but not least is a retelling of Hamlet with a happy ending, a love between three people, and kink to add some spice.

It was so hard to narrow down the list to these 16 titles. I would have added several more but this post was already getting really long.

So get out there, do all the Queer things, read all the Queer stuff, and have a safe and happy Pride month!

Progress Pride Flag

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