August '21 Book Recs

Melissa Lee
September 1, 2021

Needed a new story to read but didn’t know where to look? We’re compiling the recommendations that are shared every month along with the recommender’s comments and praise. Without further ado, let’s see what our Discord server members are loving at the moment!

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Cover image of The Last True Poets of the Sea.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Young Adult / Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: Every summer, Violet and her family return to Lyric, Maine, a coastal town founded by her great-great-great-grandmother after surviving the shipwreck that claimed the lives of the other passengers. After Violet’s brother, Sam, attempts to take his own life, Violet returns to Lyric to continue her and Sam’s childhood dream of finding the shipwreck that left their ancestor the sole survivor. This was a very comforting and hopeful read, inspired by Twelfth Night, and it deals with mental health issues, complicated family dynamics and identity.

Cover image of Last Night at the Telegraph Club.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Historical fiction / Young Adult / Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: Lily Hu never imagined that she would attend a lesbian bar, but with a fake ID and her maybe-girlfriend, she walks into the Telegraph Club and her life changes. Homophobia and racism are rife in 1950s America, and Lily and Kath risk everything to be with each other. This was a really beautiful portrayal of teenage love, steeped in LGBT and Chinese-American history.

Cover image of The Midnight Lie.

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / LGBT Fiction

Comments: Nirrim has always followed the strict rules one of her Kith must endure to avoid paying tithes. But when she slips up and ends up in prison, a fellow inmate, Sid, encourages Nirrim to question the draconian laws that have governed the lives of the lower Kith. This was a refreshing take on dystopian fantasy, and I can’t wait to read the sequel (The Hollow Heart will be published Sept 14).

Cover image of This is How You Lose the Time War.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Science Fiction / Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: When two opposing agents of time start a correspondence, they are careful to hide their illicit messages. What started as a battlefield boast has become something more, and Red and Blue must decide what their love is worth in the grand scheme of the time war. This semi-epistolic novella is filled with such beautiful and lyrical prose, and the intimacy of the love letters make me wish that letter writing was still an acceptable way of expressing one’s love.

Cover image of Plain Bad Heroines.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Horror / Historical Fiction / LGBT Fiction

Comments: 1902. The Brookhants School for Girls experiences its first of three macabre deaths that eventually ensure the closure of the school. Over a century later, the book written by Merritt Emmons which details these bizarre and gruesome deaths is being adapted into a movie, but the line between Hollywood magic and a potential curse is becoming increasingly blurry. This was a really well-executed story that was creepy but very fun to read.

Cover image of Gideon the Ninth.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb series)

Recommended by Caitlin

Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy / LGBT Fiction

Comments: The Ninth House is all Gideon Nav has known and probably all she will ever know, despite her 86 escape attempts. But when the Reverend Daughter, also Gideon’s childhood nemesis, needs a cavalier to accompany her to take part in the trials to become a Lyctor, this presents Gideon with an opportunity to leave the dying house that she despises. Tamsyn Muir has quickly become my favourite author after reading the first two books in this series, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll break my heart again in the third book.

Cover image of Maurice.

Maurice by E.M. Forster

Recommended by Yasmine

Genre: Classic / LGBT Fiction

Comments: Maurice by E.M. Forster has been my most recent 5/5. It is a classic, highlighting the increasing divide between being respected as an upper-class Englishmen and the shame thrown at the realities of being gay. As Maurice climbs through the ranks in society, his attraction towards his own gender becomes a grappling reality, leading to a range of failing relationships as he struggles to figure himself out. Maurice is a fantastic novel highlighting the highs and lows of being homosexual in early 20th century England!

Cover image of One Last Stop.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Recommended by Nora

Genre: Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: I love it!! There is a good range of representation along with this cool mystery aspect with romance and friendship goals! Each character is developed amazingly, I feel like they are my friends irl HAHA

Cover image of The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry.

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C. M. Waggoner

Recommended by Katherine

Genre: Historical Fantasy / Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: Sometimes you just want to read about a fire witch struggling to pay rent who fast-talks her way into a job, becomes part of a team of very interesting and highly peculiar women employed to protect a young woman about to be married, falls in love with a young gentlewoman who is also part of said team, and who, alongside that team, goes up against a deadly conspiracy. The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry is the book for those times.

Cover image of The Extraordinaries.

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Recommended by Katherine

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Romance / LGBT Fiction

Comments: TJ Klune’s writing in The Extraordinaries draws you in. Superheroes, people writing fanfic about said superheroes, friends-becoming-boyfriends . . . It’s warm, adorable and funny, and quite a lot of the time while reading it my ears went bright red from second-hand embarrassment from all the awkward situations poor Nick finds himself in. The Extraordinaries can be a bit over-the-top and ridiculous, but it really leans into that and it really, really is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a really good thing.

Cover image of Loveless.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Recommended by Taylah and Katherine

Genre: Young Adult / LGBT Fiction

Comments: This book is EVERYTHING! Instantly loveable characters you can become unhealthily attached to? Check. Relatable uni struggles? Check. Shakespeare obsessed besties who fight over which play is superior? Check. A whole lot of diverse LGBTQI+ rep? Check, check and CHECK. This book will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Unquestionably 5 stars! ~ Taylah

All of Alice Oseman’s work is engrossing, insightful and full of heart. Loveless is no exception. But what I didn’t expect was for it to hit me so hard. I don’t usually cry when I read books, not even the really sad ones. But I cried at the end of Loveless. It wasn’t sad-crying, not at all. Loveless cannot be described as a sad book. It wasn’t happy-crying either, or, not exactly. It’s a bit hard to describe, but I suppose the overwhelming (and it was overwhelming) feeling I had was that of validation . . . Loveless felt like a homecoming – a welcoming, a greeting from an old friend. The thing with YA fiction is that so much of it is focused on romantic love, especially on girls falling for boys and boys falling for girls. As someone who had never really quite understood this, Loveless made my heart sing. ~ Katherine

Cover image of Heartstopper.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Recommended by Chantelle

Genre: Romance / Young Adult / LGBT Fiction

Comments: This story just makes my heart so warm! It’s very down to earth and wholesome but isn’t afraid to be candid about the complex processes of finding your identity and sexuality. Such soft and precious characters among the everyday moments. It’s so nice to see a diverse cast of characters that are a realistic and humble depiction of adolescence. It’s not just about romance, but family, friendship, mental health – it’s the whole package really.

Cover image of Always Human.

Always Human by walkingnorth

Recommended by Chantelle

Genre: Science Fiction / Young Adult / LGBT Fiction

Comments: When I started getting into webtoons this was one of the first ones I read, and it’s had a very special place in my heart ever since. A wonderfully soft sapphic story set in a sci-fi world? Sign me up! I’m a lover of warmhearted stories that tackle identity and the various layers of human relationships. Combined with delicate colouring and a whimsical soundtrack, I was drawn in by the premise that despite technology, we’ll always retain our humanity.

Cover image of On a Sunbeam.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Recommended by Steph

Genre: Science Fiction / Young Adult / LGBT Fiction

Comments: wlw relationships and a non-binary character; plus you can read it online.