During lockdown and quarantine I’ve realized my brain has unconsciously drifted towards the need of light and not too heavy reading due to my inability to stay focused. Because when there’s so much happening in the world, sometimes your brain can take a rest, right?
So I thought I could share some of the stuff I’ve been reading or have read before but fits into what I’m trying to do here so you can enjoy some nice queer content and forget about the dystopian world we live in for a bit. Most of the options I’m going to give won’t take longer than maybe a day or day and a half to read so they’re a good in-between while deciding what to read next! On top of that, next month is Pride’s month so maybe it’s queer up your TBR a little.
The following recommendations are going to be a mix of books and graphic novels and webcomics (lots of webcomics). All of them are either quite cheap OR FREE TO READ ON THE INTERNET! Because we gay and broke over here. If you do want to buy any books now please remember to try support your local bookshop/comicshop. Hope you enjoy it and please give them a read!
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
That’s it, I have nothing else to say.
WELL, ACTUALLY, YES I DO. I read this magnificent graphic novel at the end of last year and haven’t been able to stop thing about it. The emotions, the development and characters are so real it makes you dive right into the psique of the characters. The art is absolutely GORGEOUS using only black, white and pink throughout the whole novel.
Price: less than £15.
Made by Mariko Tamaki (author of This One Summer and some Lumberjanes numbers) and Rosemary Valero-O’Conell (author of Steven Universe: Too Cool For School) this was a winning combination and DANM.
As a quick summary of the plot you could say Freddy (the main character) gets emotionally fucked by Laura Dean (our lesbian antagonist) over and over but she tries hard to get out of this toxic relationship. But it’s so much more than Freddy’s life, her friend Doodle gets a side story, ultimately influenced by Freddy’s distancing of her friends, which will make your heart feel like mashed potatoes.
Despite the heavy topics featured it’s a very quick read even stopping to appreciate the art. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with a variety of LGBT representation. There’s truly no wonder why it has won so many awards. And you know what? I’d probably let Laura Dean fuck my heart up as well.
Red, White and Royal Blue
There’s very few people now who haven’t heard or read this book by now.
It’s a very quick read because it’s literally… a fanfic made book. It’s a nice read and the thought of it it’s quite appealing. Usual m/m romance WITH THE TWIST of them being THE SON OF THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT OF USA AND THE PRINCE OF WALES WOW SHOCK.
Price: less than £15.
Basically, the book follows the romance of Alex, ‘the fist son’ of the US, and Henry, the British prince and their journey FROM ENEMIES TO LOVERS. My favorite ship dynamic, truly delicious. The book contains a lot of diplomacy and side stories which really round up the book and prevents it from being, well, a horny fanfic. I must say there were too many explicit sex scenes for my personal taste, but they spice up the book and certainly will keep a lot of readers WAY more invested. In general a nice m/m book to enjoy as a lighter read with a feel-good ending in case you need that.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
This is an absolute oldie BUT GOLDIE. Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about this book for ages because I read it when I was still discovering my true self and opening up to the world and it just shook me in ways no other book had before.
Also, I must say my copy of this book has visited at least four countries and has been read around 20 times by at least 4 different people. It’s truly special.
Price: between £8 and £14.
For anyone who don’t know it, the book is about the self discovery of Aristotle and Dante, two gay boys confused and unaware of the posibilites the world holds for them. The great thing about this book is the two (of the many) very stereotypical yet accurate ways of coming out: aggressively trying to deny the truth and have it punch you in the face or accept it very naturally since the beginning without really knowing how it’ll backfire. Tag yourself I’m the second one. It’s a very fast paced and quick book to read with really short chapters, you could easily finish it in an afternoon if you want to get that cozy feeling on the inside.
Aristotle, Dante I still fucking love you so much even seven years after reading about you guys YOU HEAR ME?!
Princess Princess Ever After
This one is also pretty well know, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should.
Katie O’Neill is an awarded children graphic novelist but her work can be enjoyed at any age really.
She creates the softest worlds and characters and her queer representation is subtle yet natural, she doesn’t make a big deal out of it and I think that’s the best part of her books.
Price: around £8.
The plot of Princess Princess is very obvious: PRINCESS (Amira) RESCUES PRINCESS (Sadie) AND LIVE A SAPPHIC FANTASY AND ROMANCE YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS FEED US THAT LESBIAN CONTENT WE DESERVE. Extremely cute style and soft colours, irreverent yet soft and lovable characters. Literally an indulgent feel-good read when in need of a spirit lift.
This one used to be a webcomic but sadly it isn’t available for free anymore probably due to how successful it is now, sorry.
and now onto…
These are all webcomics, both finished and on-going. Some of them are published now and others aren’t so I’ll link a way of supporting the artist for this free and wonderful content they give us.
Click on the titles to read!
Yes, Katie O’Neill again.
This one is my all time favorite graphic novel series it just makes me feel like cotton candy. Soft and fluffy.
This is a webcomic that got published but it’s still available for free! The web is really cute has an almanac of the tea dragons, a character list and even a recommendation list.
It’s become series now so it has a prequel-kinda book called The Tea Dragon Festival and a sequel The Tea Dragon Tapestry!
The story follows Greta, who discovers a lost tea dragon in the market and brings it back to the tea shop. There, she befriends the tea shop owners Hesekiel and Erik (SOFT GAYS) and Minette and she realizes tea dragons are cute as hell so she invests herself in the queerness of it all. Also, tea dragons are tiny dragons which grow tea leaves on their horns and as they usually are linked to a person they hold said person’s memories (ISN’T THIS JUST TO DIE FOR?)
As in Princess Princess, very cute style and characters, BEAUTIFUL settings and a very easy to follow development. The tea dragons are absolutely adorable and it’s worth reading just for them.
It’s available on Tapas, which is the webcomic lovers’ lord and saviour, it’s kind of the comic equivalent of Wattpad/Archive of your own.
Anyways, these guys, very gay, much angst and romance. The style is like not so perfect on propuse and everything’s black and white. Simple, straightforward, go read.
tw: eating disorders, bullying.
It focuses on Charlie and Nick and their (short) journey from SCHOOL MATES TO ACQUAINTANCES TO FRIENDS TO LOVERS. Charlie is easy to relate to, a bullied gay boy who overthinks his own existence, and he falls in love with the big rugby player who’s actually a softie that cares for him, Nick. Exquisitely soft and heartwarming with the exact pinch of angst to keep you reading. It deals with some heavy stuff in a very light manner like coming out stress, eating disorders or self esteem issues. It also features other LGBT characters which I think it’s always important to shake off the gay-only bias on any LGBT-related content.
THIS ONE IS THE ONE GUYS, THIS IS IT.
I’ll just say this: Grease, but queer.
I found it recently and I’ve already read it three times, it’s funny, lovable, well structured and just a masterpiece in general.
It looks a bit plot-loose at first until Chelsey builds up the story and the characters. It’s very short and you don’t get too much build up time but it doesn’t matter you love them in the second page I’m not joking.
As in Grease, the story revolves around two gangs: The Rollers and The Jaquettes, in this case we need to add The Bandits as well. They’re a very diverse group of characters with the perfect mix of egocentric, shy, jock, nerdy, loud and over-the-top personalities that really make the comic come together and keep you glued to the screen.
The premise is very basic, high school life leading to a prom where they can’t be themselves and with who they want to. A lot of coming out in their way to a very queer ending.
There’re lesbians, bi, gender non-conforming, trans characters and you just have to love them all.
It’s also very cartoony so the style looks very familiar and it’s very very easy to get used to.
I’m a big fan of illustrators and I follow A LOT of them in social media, mostly because I’m jealous of people with artistic talent so I like to wow at their work.
And Aspera is no exception, I started it last year, it went on hiatus and NOW IT’S BACK!! So that’s my main reason to recommend it. You can really see the style evolution before and after which is really cool but altogether all the art is very cozy with autumn color vibes.
The plot focusses on a group of friends studying various types of art in Paris and their own personal stories, for now the main individual focus has been on Dimitriy and Raleigh and I sense Murphy’s story is coming but we’ll have to wait and see!
Basically the comic follow bits of their daily lives and endeavours. All the characters are extremely pretty and easy to love despite the little we know about most of them.
The story has a lot of potential and for now it’s very appealing and well-thought so I really really recommend giving it a chance.
And most importantly, they’re all a very LGBT-diverse group which I personally think is amazing and close to a lot of our realities as me, for example, tend to befriend very few cishet people for some reason.
And that’s it!
I hope you enjoyed it, if you’ve read all of the above please head my way to more recs my brain is an bottomless well of queer content. I left out a lot of stuff out like Not Your Sidekick, Never Satisfied or Mooncakes because of they’re more fantasy and not as fast to read as the above for example. Let me know what you’ve read or if I’ve convinced you of reading any of the above!!!