I’m sporadic with my participation in Top Ten Tuesday, and usually only remember it exists on the day I’m meant to be posting when I do. But here we are! This is a topic I can do!
As with most people, there were probably a few other books that could’ve made the list, but this is what I’m going with. I’m also about to do SapphicAThon and will probably find more favourites doing that, but that’s a problem for future me. This is in alphabetical order by book title.
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant
I’d been meaning to read Austin Chant’s work for ages, so I started with this one since it was short. It’s a cis M/trans M age gap office romance set in a campaign office, and it addresses the power imbalance.
I was especially impressed with the characterisation of both Kieran, the trans MC, and Seth, his older love interest.
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
I think we all knew this was gonna be on this list. I loved it so much that I’m getting a hardcover for Christmas. I would’ve bought it sooner, but there were so many other books to read so I couldn’t really afford it.
This novel is a f/f romance between the MC, Grace, a bisexual pianist, and Eva, a lesbian biracial ballet dancer. Both have difficult situations with their mothers–Eva’s has just died and Grace’s is not a good parent.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
This is a great fantasy novel about a young Latina (unlabelled) bisexual bruja, Alex, desperately rejecting her magic and accidentally causing some serious consequences as a result. There is something of a love triangle with Alex, and a boy and a girl.
I remember loving the magic system and the secondary world Alex travels to in the process of fixing her mistake.
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
This is a transition memoir by a black/Native Hawaiian trans woman detailing through childhood, her transition and finding love. She contends with a whole lot of bullshit in her life, including sexual abuse, racism and violent transmisogyny. I have a more detailed list of warnings in my review.
She’s very open about what she went through in her early life. It’s a difficult read a times, but it ends well. Obviously it had to given it’s a memoir and Janet’s become rather successful as a writer and activist.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
This is about an Afro-Carribbean girl suddenly thrust into a spirit-based magic system that her family has kept hidden from her all her life. She and those she loves are threatened by someone misusing the magic for their own shitty ends.
Tied in with the story of the magic are issues of cultural appropriation and gentrification, especially in academia.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I know, I know. I was late to the party. I’m already laughing at myself in the review about it.
This is a fantasy heist novel set in the Grishaverse and populated by lovable assholes. It’s actually pretty refreshing to read a novel where at least one of the protagonists is openly in it for the money, rather than any sort of idealism. Kaz Brekker does have some ideals, of course, but they’re buried pretty damn deep. I also really enjoy the character relationships and it’s always nice when a M/F ship doesn’t piss me the hell off.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Obviously. Does this even need an introduction? No, but I’ll do one anyway.
This NYT bestselling novel is about an African-American girl, Starr, who watches one of her friends get murdered by a white police officer, and what comes afterwards. A huge feature of the novel is the divide between the reaction to the murder within the local community, and within the white-dominated school that Starr attends. In one, her friend Khalil was one of their kids but in the other, he’s every kind of villain imaginable.
This novel addresses so many of the issues that plague us today, both in the crimes committed against Black Americans (and in other countries) and the framing of the narratives surrounding those crimes.
The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis
This is one of the few NA novels that I’ve read this year. I imagine I’ll be reading more in the future.
This is a F/F novel with a romance between a pansexual guitarist who doesn’t know what to do with her life and a Filipino lesbian dancer. Both of them work at the local bookstore. And apparently I really like musician/dancer romances.
This book is relatable in a lot of ways, especially since I dropped out of university a couple of years ago and felt rather adrift regarding what to do with my life as well.
Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember
This is a fairly short, simple novel set in a fantasy country based on East African culture. There is a F/F romance between the protagonist from this country and a white fat woman from a European-based country. The protagonist is a rape survivor working with her cousin at his safari guide business.
There are obviously unicorns, and also some conservationist undertones. The worldbuilding is pretty bare but I didn’t really mind that.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
The Nomeovildes women of La Pradera have a great magical gift: the ability to create flowers. But, at the same time, it’s an ability they cannot stifle without causing serious pain. They are allowed to live on La Pradera, but the land exacts a price: it takes their lovers away.
Estrella and her cousins are all unlabelled bisexuals, and are Latina.