The year 2020 will be the year where we need to be intentional about what we are reading and who we are supporting the most. And this isn’t a fad or something we are doing for the moment. Reading and supporting our Black authors is what we need to practice and make part of our habitual reading habits. And you might say that you are a mood reader and that sometimes you want to read a fantasy or a fluffy contemporary, here is a list of books that contain all of these genres! We don’t need to read solely issue books to support our Black authors, especially our queer Black authors who we need to support more than ever. This is by no means an exhaustive list of queer Black reads, but these are the books that I plan to read for the rest of June. Let’s not just raise our fists for Black Lives Matter, let’s lift that rainbow flag too and shout out our queer Black authors loud and proud!
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
All Boys Aren’t Blue is a young-adult memoir made up of a collection of personal essays from LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson. Through these personal essays, the author explores his journey through growing up as a queer black boy. All Boys Aren’t Blue delves into gender identity, intergenerational familial conflicts, toxic masculinity, his first sexual encounter, and the profound influence people had in his life like his dear Nanny.
This is an intersectional representation of what it is to live in a world where George M. Johnson felt like he had to stifle his identity and how he was finally able to come out as a black queer man. All Boys Aren’t Blue is the kind of book you can read in one sitting, and the strong voice of the author will capture you instantly.
Trigger Warnings: trauma, grief, death of loved ones, sexual assault
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love has never been in love, and he is achingly aware of how ironic that is. He wants to know what it is like to fall in love and is frustrated with how easy it is for everyone else. Felix is grappling with his identity of being black, queer, and transgender, and he is afraid that he will never get the chance to have his own HEA. When Felix finds himself in a catfish situation where he is being targeted with transphobic messages, he suddenly finds himself in a pseudo-love triangle of sorts. Through this experience, Felix learns about himself and goes through his own soul-searching journey.
When I met Kacen Callender in a book panel I completely fell in love with their personality which made me genuinely excited to pick up this new release! Not to mention I am total trash for love triangles and I am interested in how the author explores the intersectional identities that Felix struggles with. This coming of age contemporary is on the top of my TBR this month!
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
This book of poetry is the story of a mixed-race queer teen who finally finds his true calling in the world of drag and he transforms himself into The Black Flamingo. Dean Atta’s story teaches us the importance of standing tall and showing ourselves to the world without hesitation.
Dean Atta’s book of poetry has this whimsical quality to it like a frothy pink delectable cupcake. His words are enthused with sweetness, raw honesty, and magic that penetrates your teenage angsty soul.
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
In this clever twist on the classic Cinderella story, this story begins with sixteen-year-old Sophia who doesn’t believe in the fairy tale. She is forced to go to an annual ball where teen girls are selected by the men of the kingdom based on their display of finery. The girls that are not chosen by the men of the kingdom are banished and ostracized. Sophia makes the frantic decision to run away and hides in Cinderella’s mausoleum. In the mausoleum, she gets to know Constance who is the descendent of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they make a promise to one another to end the patriarchy and bring down the king forever. Through their process of taking down the king, they learn about the real Cinderella story.
I haven’t been excited about a Cinderella retelling since Ever After by Drew Barrymore circa 1998. The fact that Sophia tears down the fantasy behind the Cinderella fairy tale sounds like a feminist dream come true.
The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters
Wesley Hudson has tried all the ‘90s alt-rock songs and online dating advice in the world but it isn’t helping with the huge crush he has on his best friend. On top of everything else the local used bookstore Once Upon a Page is in danger of being bought off by a coffeeshop franchise and his irritating brother needs wedding planning advice. Wes realizes that he must learn to adult and face his own reality instead of running away from it.
Anything that involves ‘90s alt-rock pop culture and a local used bookstore sounds like the perfect fluffy beach read to me!