13 Essential Reads for Pride Month!

June 1, 2022 | 12:00 PM

13 Essential Reads for Pride Month!

By Team Fierce Reads

Happy Pride Month, readers! 🌈💖

We've rounded up some of our favorite books that celebrate and amplify queer voices and should definitely be on your TBR. There are tons of genres to choose from, from haunting mysteries to action-packed fantasies, and even heartwarming contemporaries. All of these books are truly stunning stories that you do not want to miss so hurry up and get reading!

Cold by Mariko Tamaki A boy, a body, a girl, a secret. From award-winning author Mariko Tamaki, Cold is a haunting YA novel about a shocking murder in a quiet town and four students who knew too much and said too little. This is the story of a boy who died—and a girl who wants to know why. Todd Mayer is dead. Now he's some sort of ghost, hovering over his body, which has just been found in the town park, naked and frozen in the snow. As detectives investigate Todd's homicide, talking to the very people who are responsible for how he died, Todd replays the events that lead him to his end in the park. Georgia didn't know Todd. But she can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe because they’re both outcasts at their school, or because they’re both queer. It might also be because Georgia has a feeling she’s seen Todd somewhere before, somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be. In the vein of The Lovely Bones, this dual narrative is told through the voices of Todd in his afterlife and Georgia as she uncovers the truth behind his death, resulting in an immersive, emotional, and provocative read. Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson "Haunting, intimate, and beautifully told: a magical debut novel from a writer to watch.” —Emily M. Danforth, national bestselling and award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post A spellbinding young adult fantasy debut following three best friends who turn to magic when they're haunted by a friend's death... and perhaps her spirit, combining the atmospheric thrills of The Hazel Wood with the nuanced realism of Erika L. Sanchez. For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks on Broad Street to The Hill that watches over the city, every corner of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing séances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her. But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they have always known is left haunted by grief...and Jasmine's lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death, and each other. And as their plan to resurrect Jasmine grows darker and more demanding than they imagined, their separate lives begin to splinter the bonds they depend on, revealing buried secrets that threaten the people they care about most. Miliani, Inez and Natalie will have to rely on more than just their mystical abilities to find the light. Thrilling and absorbing, Deep in Providence is a story of profound yearning, and what happens when three teen girls are finally given the power to go after what they want. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they're fighting for a common purpose—and falling for each other—in Zoe Hana Mikuta's high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown's Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu's Legend series. We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead... The shadow of Godolia's tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression is an everyday constant for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolian overlords. Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolian prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within. As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia's reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer—as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more... The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle With breathtaking art and honest storytelling, Sarah Winifred Searle delivers a moving graphic novel about friendship, love, and self-acceptance in The Greatest Thing. Winifred must find out how to reveal her deepest secret in this moving coming-of-age story about high school, self-acceptance, and the life-saving power of teen friendships. It's the first day of her sophomore year, and Winifred is going to reinvent herself. This isn't by choice—she was perfectly comfortable with the way things used to be when she was a member of a well-established three-person clique. But now that her two best (and only) friends have transferred to a private school, Win must navigate high school on her own. But she isn't alone for long. In art class, she meets two social outcasts, Oscar and April. They're a little bit punk, a little bit goth, and they're comfortable in their own skin in a way that Win can only dream of. Through clandestine sleepovers, thrift store shopping, and zine publishing, Winifred finally breaks out of her shell. But there's one secret she can't bring herself to admit to her friends, or even to herself—and this lie is threatening to destroy her new-found friendship. Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei A. L. Graziadei's Icebreaker is an irresistible YA debut about two hockey players fighting to be the best—and the romance that catches them by surprise along the way. Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league's top draft spot. The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey's infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he's willing to risk for it. This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path. Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda In this voice-driven young adult debut by Andrea Mosqueda, Maggie Gonzalez needs a date to her sister's quinceañera—and fast. Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends—and her future—aren’t as simple as she’d once believed. As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice-over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves. As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster—or be brave enough to dive right into it. Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore In this young adult novel by award-winning author Anna-Marie McLemore, two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake—but can they keep their worlds above water intact? Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fate. Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it, and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide. Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek A sparkling YA debut rom-com about a popular high-school girl, her ex-boyfriend-turned-best-friend, and the girl they both fall for—perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli or Casey McQuiston. Sam Dickson is a charismatic actress, ambitious and popular with big plans for her future. Ros Shew is one of the smartest people in school—but she’s a loner, and prefers to keep it that way. Then there’s Christian Powell, the darling of the high school soccer team. He’s not the best with communication, which is why he and Sam broke up after dating for six months; but he makes up for it by being genuine, effusive, and kind, which is why they’re still best friends. When Christian falls for Ros on first sight, their first interaction is a disaster, so he enlists Sam’s help to get through to her. Sam, with motives of her own, agrees to coach Christian from the sidelines on how to soften Ros’s notorious walls. But as Ros starts to suspect Christian is acting differently, and Sam starts to realize the complexity of her own feelings, their fragile relationships threaten to fall apart. This fresh romantic comedy from debut author Rachel Roasek is a heartfelt story about falling in love—with a partner, with your friends, or just with yourself—and about how maybe, the bravest thing to do in the face of change is just love somebody. A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow A modern love story, told in verse, about two teenaged trans boys who name themselves after two Revolutionary War soldiers. A lyrical, aching young adult romance perfect for fans of The Poet X, Darius the Great is Not Okay, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe. For as long as they can remember, Aaron and Oliver have only ever had each other. In a small town with few queer teenagers, let alone young trans men, they’ve shared milestones like coming out as trans, buying the right binders—and falling for each other. But just as their relationship has started to blossom, Aaron moves away. Feeling adrift, separated from the one person who understands them, they seek solace in digging deep into the annals of America’s past. When they discover the story of two Revolutionary War soldiers who they believe to have been trans man in love, they’re inspired to pay tribute to these soldiers by adopting their names—Aaron and Oliver. As they learn, they delve further into unwritten queer stories, and they discover the transformative power of reclaiming one’s place in history. Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie. Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to. So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love—and sexuality—never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all. Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey Two teen vigilantes set off on an action-packed investigation to expose corruption and deliver justice in Valiant Ladies, Melissa Grey's YA historical fiction novel inspired by real seventeenth century Latinx teenagers known as the Valiant Ladies of Potosí. By day Eustaquia “Kiki” de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza are proper young seventeenth century ladies. But when night falls, they trade in their silks and lace for swords and muskets, venturing out into the vibrant, bustling, crime-ridden streets of Potosí, in the Spanish Empire's Viceroyalty of Peru. They pass their time fighting, gambling, and falling desperately in love with one another. Then, on the night Kiki's engagement to the Viceroy's son is announced, her older brother—heir to her family’s fortune—is murdered. The girls immediately embark on a whirlwind investigation that takes them from the lowliest brothels of Potosí to the highest echelons of the Spanish aristocracy. We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo The first book in a dark fantasy YA duology by the author of What Big Teeth, about the power and danger of stories and the untold costs of keeping magic alive, perfect for fans of Aiden Thomas and Marie Rutkoski. In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city's crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city. Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life—work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists—not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other's orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy. Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differentials, even between people who love each other—and how it is possible to be queer and turn out just fine. When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw In the spirit of the author’s massively popular Twitter thread, Tucker Shaw’s When You Call My Name is a heartrending novel about two gay teens coming of age in New York City in 1990 at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Mary H. K. Choi. Film fanatic Adam is seventeen and being asked out on his first date—and the guy is cute. Heart racing, Adam accepts, quickly falling in love with Callum like the movies always promised. Fashion-obsessed Ben is eighteen and has just left his home upstate after his mother discovers his hidden stash of gay magazines. When he comes to New York City, Ben’s sexuality begins to feel less like a secret and more like a badge of honor. Then Callum disappears, leaving Adam heartbroken, and Ben finds out his new world is more closed-minded than he thought. When Adam finally tracks Callum down, he learns the guy he loves is very ill. And in a chance meeting near the hospital where Callum is being treated, Ben and Adam meet, forever changing each other’s lives. As both begin to open their eyes to the possibilities of queer love and life, they realize sometimes the only people who can help you are the people who can really see you—in all your messy glory. A love letter to New York and the liberating power of queer friendship, When You Call My Name is a hopeful novel about the pivotal moments of our youth that break our hearts and the people who help us put them back together.

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