Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust Published: Flatiron Books (July 7th2020) Genre: young adult; fantasy Rep: Persian cast & settings, bi mc, sapphic li Rating: 4/5 🍑
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is revolutionary in more than one respect and for that we should all be grateful. It’s a feminist fairy tale for the modern times, even though it’s set in ancient Persia, even though it’s full of magic and monsters.
Camp by L. C. Rosen Published: Penguin Random House UK Children’s (May 28th 2020) Genre: young adult; contemporary Rep: gay Jewish mc, half-Korean gay Jewish li, Middle Eastern gay Jewish side character, demi lesbian side character, Afro-Brazilian-American sapphic side character, Black trans side character, nonbinary side character, gay side characters (really, an LGBT cast) Rating: 4/5 🍑
First things first: if you’ve read the blurb and you’re kind of worried about the whole ‘pretending to be someone else to get a boy’ thing – don’t be. It’s handled with so much grace; Randy is being called out on his ridiculous plan by basically anyone who knows about it, constantly. The words “trick him to love you” are used. It’s not a cheap plot device, it’s a driving force of the book and there are countless discussions regarding it.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales Published: Wednesday Books (March 3rd 2020) Genre: young adult; contemporary, retelling Rep: gay mc, bi Venezuelan li, bi side character, plus-sized poc side character, poc side characters Tw: cancer, off-page death, homophobia, biphobia, fatphobia Rating: 4/5 🍑
This is a very fun book, largely due to Ollie (the protagonist) who’s simply, in the very wise words of Will, ridiculous. I want to make some things clear, though, before we proceed: this is also a messy book. It’s messy in a way that none of the characters are perfect, and they keep making mistakes, and no one is really 100% in the right. It’s messy in a way that life (especially life of a teenager) is messy and totally not black-and-white. I just know not everyone enjoys stories like that.
Shatter the Skyby Rebecca Kim Wells Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 30th 2019) Genre: young adult; fantasy Rep: poc cast, bi mc, sapphic li, side sapphic character, side wlw parents Rating: 4/5 🍑
When people recommend Shatter the Sky as a sapphic fantasy novel, they’re very much right but at the same time, it doesn’t explain just how sapphic the book. We’re not used to being fed this well, and yet it’s exactly what we deserve.
The book opens with the (bi!) mc talking about how much she loves her girlfriend. That’s revolutionary. And that love is used as a catalyst for all future events. Quite literally nothing would happen, if Maren wasn’t in love with Kaia and wasn’t determined to do everything in her power to get back together.
In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby Published: Algonquin Young Readers (April 21st 2020) Genre: middle grade; contemporary Rep: sapphic (probably lesbian) mc & li Rating: 4/5 🍑
ARC provided by the publisher.
This book was an emotional punch straight to the heart, in all the best (gay) ways. It’s also very clearly an ownvoices story and that truth shines through every page and settles this specific kind of calm over the reader.
The story itself is pretty simple (a teen start figuring out her sexuality & the world doesn’t make it easy for her), but it’s not the dry outline that makes a book, is it? It’s the emotions all the events bring, it’s the character’s journey, her path to growing up & fighting for herself.
The Impossible Contract (The Chronicles of Ghadid #2) by K.A. Doore Published: Tor Books (November 12th 2019) Genre: adult; fantasy Rep: poc cast, lesbian mc, sapphic li TW: death, blood, violence, eye gore, body horror Rating: 3.5/5 🍑
ARC provided by the publisher.
While The Perfect Assassin was all about Amastan and the moral dilemma of being an assassin, The Impossible Contract gives us a totally different kind of hero(ine). Thana takes pride in her profession and more than anything, wants to be remembered for her work. It’s so refreshing to read in a world where we’re used to only male characters being allowed to have an ego this size. (Also in her case it’s justified…)