Read Queer 365: LGBTQ+ Book Influencers to Follow to Celebrate Pride Month

I love June, I always have because it carries the promise of summer, soaking up the sun, and longer days. But, as I grew up and came out, June also came with the promise of Pride month – getting the opportunity to celebrate myself and other queer folks with authenticity and well, pride

To celebrate Pride month we’ve partnered with some awesome LGBTQ+ book influencers to share a bit about themselves and their favorite queer book rec. Hopefully, you’ll find some new books to add to your shelves!

Zakiya, @zakiyanjamal

​​Zakiya (she/her) was born in Queens, raised in Long Island, and currently resides in Brooklyn. In other words, she’s a New Yorker through and through. By day she works in publishing as a marketer, and at night she writes romance novels.

If I could recommend one LGBTBQ+ book, I’d have to recommend Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar. Not only does Adiba do an incredible job with the fake dating trope, but she also addresses heavy topics like biphobia and racism, in such a genuine way that I both felt seen and learned about a culture outside of my own. 

Andrea, @andreabeatrizarango

Andrea (she/ella) is a queer public school teacher turned interpreter and writer. She ranks cities based on how good their libraries are, and currently spends many a sunny day walking to and from her closest New Orleans library branch. (Spoiler Alert: It’s the best library she’s ever had.) Andrea enjoys reading across age categories and genres, but lately has felt especially drawn to soft and sad gay horror.

Book Rec: My book recommendation would have to be Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova, because it was the first book I read that finally made me understand the nuances of the horror genre. Sure, there is a piece of a dead eleven-year-old’s lung in a jar, and yes, there is a monster who eats people. But really the book is about the horror of grief, and is there truly anything more horrifying? Also, yes, every single character in this book is queer. I told you, I’m into the sad gays!

Casey, @caseythereader 

My name is Casey (she/her) and I live in the DC area with my spouse and three cats. I love yelling about queer books on the internet, especially books featuring sapphic and asexual characters because it never gets old to see a little piece of your own identity in a book. My favorite genres are sci-fi/fantasy and YA – honestly, this is where the best queer lit is! – but I try to read a little bit of everything and am always looking for that next new favorite book.

I’m recommending Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao. Two aromantic asexual Wellesley students are unknowingly in an Instagram feud with their advice column accounts while they’re becoming best friends IRL. I love that this book stars two aroace characters and shows their differing experiences of these identities while they build an incredible platonic relationship together.

Jupiter, @bookstagramrepresent  

Jupiter (they/them) is an Autistic queer trans nonbinary creator. They started out on bookstagram sharing reviews and now work on sharing LGBTQIA+ BIPOC lists, recs and resources for their community. Jupiter loves to connect readers with stories that resonate with their spirit and open their hearts to other lived experiences. They live in Florida with their amazing Kid and are always on their next adventure.

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min is a book that caught me by surprise. The story follows two queer teens, one who is trans, and their relationship through high school into post graduation life. Messy, beautiful and so utterly alive, Beating Heart Baby captures a kind of queer trans life experience that gives me hope for trans kids to see themselves growing up into full lives.  

Kat, @klas_reads

My name is Kat Somers, my pronouns are she/her, and am a bi barista book girlie! I love walks through the woods, songwriting, crocheting and knitting, and of course reading. I came back to reading in 2021 after a huge work burnout – I found I needed somewhere else for my brain to be while I was healing. Soon after that I started a bookstagram to connect with more readers (and maybe also because our cat Juniper could really only provide so much support as a discussion partner). Quickly my TBR (and heart) became so full!

I really love weird books! A recent favorite queer book that I read is Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen. It is very The Bachelor meets Bigfoot meets Final Destination! Through the (very) wild plot we also follow the love story of two star crossed lesbians who spend so much of their lives trying to escape the intolerance of their small town. As someone who grew up in a similar small town where I felt silenced in understanding my own queerness, this book felt really healing through all of its silliness and downright weirdness!

Morelia, @strandedinbooks

My name is Morelia (she/her) and I am a queer Latina from Texas! If I’m not engrossed in the latest romance novel, I am most definitely crying into a bucket of popcorn at a movie theater somewhere. Naturally born a book worm, but only rekindled my love for reading just as I was navigating my last semester in high school and can’t believe I’ve had such luck talking books (and movies!) and generally being part of a bookish community with so many amazing people for years now.

I’d recommend Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. Having read it was such a lightbulb moment for me, it was a book I wish I’d had when I was younger and had a head full of questions. Young adult books really have a certain way of hitting you right where it hurts, and Malinda Lo did such an amazing job tackling the main character’s journey of finding herself and eventually love, navigating queer spaces, complex mother/daughter relationships, while also packing in a lot of history around this time the book is set. It’s tender, it’s heartbreaking, it might fill you with a bit of anger, but it’s also beautiful and intentional and just so queer, I love it.

Mari, @marithebookmaven

Mari (they/them) is a lifelong reader and late-blooming queer, and they will never shut up about either of those things. They live in a not-so-trans-friendly state with their dog, Hattie, and cat, Loki. While they hold down a totally normie office job, they spend the rest of their time in advocacy and definitely avoiding all the unread books on their shelves.

I’d recommend Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake. I spend plenty of my time reading emotionally heavy books on a lot of different topics, so when it comes to LGBTQIA+ books, I like to keep it light! Like the other books in the Bright Falls series, Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date brought me so much queer joy. It’s light without being totally vapid, has a full cast of wonderfully queer characters, and OF COURSE has the perfect happily ever after.

Andy, @foreverinastory

Hi, I’m Dr. Andy (they/xe). I recently finished my PhD in pathobiology and am now a research scientist by day. In my “free time” (read: work time), I am a group fitness instructor, election judge/support staff and staff/social media manager for Rainbow Crate book box. I am a passionate queer bookstagrammer who loves taking book photos and compiling lists of my favorites, especially trans/nonbinary, ace, aro and sapphic books! I also created and run a reading challenge called “Be Intentional” which is designed to educate and uplift marginalized voices in publishing.

One of my all time favorite books is Man O’War by Cory McCarthy. I’ve read this one four times now and every time, I fall more in love with all these characters, but especially River. So much of River’s story resonated with me. Their journey from intensely closeted and queerphobic to finding love and freedom as yourself: I don’t have enough words to explain what it meant to me. This book has my whole heart.