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Literature has been predominantly overshadowed by male authors voicing male experiences through male protagonists for too long, and even with the expansion of participation of queer voices, men often take the spotlight in queer stories. However, there are amazing queer stories written by queer women, and we have gathered a collection of five novels across an array of genres we enjoyed. Some of these stories prove comical and light-hearted, others haunting and ridden with the darker elements of the human experience, but all are utterly queer with strong queer women at the forefront.

 

You Should See Me in A Crown

Scholastic Press

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (2020)

For high schooler Liz Lighty, it has always been her goal to leave her midwestern town behind for the top-notch university, Pennsington College. But when she does not receive the financial aid she needs to attend, Liz realizes the only way she can afford tuition is if she receives the scholarship for being prom queen. Liz pushes herself out of her comfort zone to win, but there are other girls vying for the same crown, including the new girl, Mack, who Liz develops feelings for. Exploring race, class, and sexuality, Leah Jonson’s debut novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, is a memorable rollercoaster filled with laughs, tears, teenage anxiety, and everything else that comes with coming of age.

 

Call Me Esteban

Sandorf Passage

Call Me Esteban by Lejla Kalamujić (2021)

Call Me Esteban explores the hardships of war in this heart-wrenching melancholic novel set with the backdrop of the Sarajevo War. Following her mother’s death, Lejla finds herself struggling to cultivate her identity, and it only worsens when war strikes. With death constantly impacting her life, Lejla battles with the wave of depression she is unable to comprehend on her own. Dream-like and yet utterly pensive, Lejla Kalamujić dives into what it means to fall in love with life even when surrounded by loss.

 

Detransition Baby

One World

Detransition, Baby: A Novel by Torrey Peters (2021)

When Reese’s longtime girlfriend, Amy, detransitions and identifies as Ames, the two break up. Reese tries to escape her sadness through sex while Ames mourns the loss of what his detransition has cost him—his family. When Ames’s boss and sexual partner, Katrina, discovers she is pregnant with his child, the trio’s lives intersect as they question everything they thought they knew about gender, relationships, and what it means to be a family. Detransition, Baby is a journey through what one expects from life and what life ultimately brings us.

 

The Henna Wars

Page Street Kids

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (2020)

Jaigirdar’s sapphic novel, The Henna Wars, follows high schooler Nishat who has just come out to her parents. To make things more complicated, her childhood best friend, Flávia, has returned and Nishat must face her romantic feelings… feelings Flávia appears to return. But when the school has the students create a business, both girls choose a henna tattoo business which leads to a simultaneous competition between feelings and business matters. As Nishat battles with her new role in her family and her thoughts on Flávia, Nishat has to decide what she wants for herself.

 

Into the Dream House

Graywolf Press

Into the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado (2019)

Into the Dream House goes beyond the preconceived limits of memoir to explore an abusive relationship while unraveling society’s view of victims. Dark and yet mesmerizing, Carmen Maria Machado entices readers with an array of narratives and chapter structures used to break down everything we thought we knew about these relationships, and in the process, bursts taboos and shines light on the facets of abuse.

 

 

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Costa B Pappas
Costa B. Pappas
Costa B. Pappas is a New York City-based writer focused on exploring the faucets of arts, culture, and social constructs. His work has been featured in The Observer, Fiction Writers Review, Narcity, Business Insider, and Newsweek. You can find him working on his debut novel in the Bowery Hotel lobby or on Twitter @CostaBPappas.