Pride Month Reading Wrap-Up Part 1

I hope everyone has had an amazing Pride Month!

This month I decided to only read books that have LGBTQA+ representation.  I decided to split this into two parts, so the post wouldn’t be too long. All titles link to their GoodReads page. Here’s what I read in June including the 5 books from my Pride Month TBR:

  1. Fun Home By: Alison Bechdel

Representation: Lesbian

TW: Death by suicide, Pedophilia

Fun Home is a memoir in a graphic novel style. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed this book, given the heavy overlying topic of Bechdel’s fathers death by suicide, and relationships with underage men. However, the way Bechdel told the story of her childhood was incredibly captivating. She has been quite an important part of modern lesbian history, so I enjoyed learning about her life. This is only the second graphic novel I’ve ever read, and I’ve realized I really enjoy them!

2. When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities By: Chen Chen

Representation: Gay man

TW: Physical and Verbal Abuse, Homophobia

When I Grow Up is a poetry collection mainly about Chen Chen’s coming out experience, relationships with his parents, and romantic relationships. The imagery he creates brings these poems to life. I liked how he discussed the intersection of his identities as an Asian-American man, and a queer man. The rejection he faced from his parents is incredibly heartbreaking. I really liked Chen’s style, and am interested in reading more of his work.

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Representation: Gay men

TW: Homophobia, Violence

I read the majority of this book in one sitting. I really enjoyed the first-generation Mexican-American representation, . That identity is not commonly represented  in popular YA books, but it makes up a huge population of Texas kids, both the state where I live and where this book takes place. Ari was my kind of narrator: pessimistic and a bit of a loner. (That may be off-putting to some people, but I really like it!) The budding romance is very slow burn. I thought it was well done it a way that kept the romance intriguing yet slow, and didn’t become boring like a lot of slow-burn portrayals can be. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

4. The Astonishing Color of After By: Emily X.R. Pan

TW: Death by suicide

Representation: Lesbian

I had my reservations about parts of this books plot. In the end, the plot was my favorite part about it. However, overall I did not love this book and had to make myself finish it. My main problem was with the writing style. I felt like the color analogy used to represent feelings became very gimmicky. There was also a lull in the middle of the book where it felt like nothing major really happened for 200 pages. I also found the love interest to be rather annoying, and it sometimes felt forced.

5. Even This Page is White By: Vivek Shraya

TW: Racism

Representation: Vivek is a trans woman

This is a book of poetry about racism. I enjoyed learning about how the experiences homophobia/transphobia and racism intersected for Vivek. She had a lot of really thought provoking poems that I think every white person should read to educate themselves, especially when it came to the discussion of white privilege.

6. The Meaning of Birds By: Jaye Robin Brown

TW: Death

Representation: Lesbian, Bisexual

This is the second book I’ve read by Brown and overall I enjoyed it with some reservations. Jess the main character is dealing with her grief surrounding her girlfriend Vivi. My favorite part of the book was Jess’s relationship with Eliza and Greer. Greer was in charge of Jess’ work study and then hired her to help with blacksmith projects. Eliza was Greer’s partner. I love seeing adult queer women helping teenage queer girl’s in their journeys. I have seen some people dislike the way Jess’ best friend was portrayed. She was described in a way that made her seem asexual/aromantic, but that language was never used. She didn’t seem to have much of a personality beyond that, which is one of the major critiques I’ve seen. Along with, the unaddressed aphobia that comes from Jess during an argument they had. Jess also pressures Vivi to do things she doesn’t want to do, and while Vivi pushes back, the problem with Jess’ behavior isn’t addressed. I do think Brown missed the mark on Jess’ best friends identity and the situation with Vivi. However, there are a lot of really important themes and impactful moments in this book that I like.

 

 

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