Top 5… trans and non-binary books
Good morning bookworms!
Top 5 Tuesday is on hiatus this month, but I wanted to do something special for Pride month. Unfortunately my plans got derailed because of my blogging slump, but I’m back (albeit a
little lot late today) with a list of some of my fave trans and non-binary character books. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the main character is trans or non-binary, but that they are involved in the MAIN relationship (this does not specifically mean romantic).
Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by the super lovely Shanah over at the Bionic Bookworm. You can visit her here, and join in for Top 5 Tuesday by checking out all the amazing topics that are coming up!
The Brightsiders – Jen Wilde
If there is ONE book out there that I want to scream about this week, then it has to be this one. Jen Wilde’s books all have amazing diversity and representation, including mental health, queer and POC, but Emmy’s story crushed my heart into a bazillion pieces. I know I was harsh when I reviewed it (I only gave it 4 stars and compared it to Queens of Geek a lot), but this is one of those books that if I ever actually do go back and re-rate, it will go up a star. The Brightsiders is one of those books that I am constantly thinking about in the background, and THAT is what really makes a book special.
Emmy, our MC, is the drummer in a band called The Brightsiders, and they made it big quickly. So quickly that Emmy didn’t really get a chance to acclimatise to the fame. She’s young and she has made mistakes. Totally screwed up. And the media love her for it. Emmy wants to be better, but she’s also learning who she is. And figuring out who she loves.
The Brightsiders has a trans love interest and a non-binary friend character.
I Wish You All the Best – Mason Deaver
I bought this book not long after it came out, but alas, it is still unread on my shelves. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to recommend it to you though, because I have heard AMAZING things about this story.
Ben, our MC, is non-binary and after coming out to their parents, they are kicked out of home. Ben moves in with their estranged older sister and her husband, and plans to lead a very under-the-radar existence at school. Of course, this doesn’t go down as planned, but they are taken under the wing of Nathan, a popular kid, and their relationship blossoms. While it sounds like a sweet book, there are a lot of trigger warnings for this (see Perpetual Pages vlog link for a full list), but this book is so important that I still think you should read it (which I’m going to take my own advice on later this week).
This book is an own-voices queer story, as Deaver is a non-binary author. You can read or watch reviews for this book here: Perpetual Pages | Books with Chai| The Hermit Librarian (while Harker doesn’t actually review the book, they give a great reason to why it’s important).
I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
And this is where I cringe in shame and call myself out. This is the only Alice Oseman book that I have NOT read. I know, another one. I’m going to add this one to my TBR after I Wish You All the Best, my original TBR for June is officially thrown out.
This is Oseman’s third novel (no, she doesn’t just draw Heartstopper), and is about Angel and Jimmy. Oseman, as always, writes fantastic diverse books, and this one is no exception. Told through two POV, we have Angel, a hijabi Muslim teen who is fangirl, high-key obsessed with a band, The Ark, and Jimmy, a biracial gay trans teen who is the lead singer of The Ark. The story is told over the space of a week during which Angel travels to London to meet a friend from the internet and go see The Ark and Jimmy attends an awards show and plays the last concert of his international tour – in London. Of course, this is also the week our two MCs meet.
You check out reviews for this book here: Tracy @ Truffle’s Literary Wonders | Mel to the Any | Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane
Also, this is a link to a video Alice posted introducing the book.
Blanca & Roja – Anna-Marie McLemore
This is the last one that’s still on my TBR, I promise.
Blanca & Roja is the story of two sisters who are as different as possible, and the spell that will turn one of them into a swan and rules their destiny. Two local teens become involved in the spell: Barclay, who does not want to deal with his family’s secrets anymore; and Page, who is trans and uses he and she pronouns, and just wants to be accepted for who she is by her family. All four of these characters narrate the book.
I have to say, I’ve heard the most amazing reviews for this book. It’s been described as a retelling of the Snow White and Rose Red story, yet a magical fairytale in its own right, and having beautiful writing. There is also disability representation and POC representation.
If you’d like to check out reviews for this book, please go to: Destiny @ Howling Libraries | Mel to the Any | Books with Chai
Mooncakes – Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
You know, if I was smart about this, I would have interspersed the books I had read with the ones I hadn’t, which might not have ended with me feeling so wretched about this post. However, let’s talk about Mooncakes instead.
This queer urban fantasy graphic novel has such a beautiful story of acceptance, that it’s another one I often think about. Our primary MC, Nova is a witch, raised by her two grandmothers, with who also happens to have a hearing impairment and uses hearing aids. Tam, our second MC, is a non-binary werewolf. The two were childhood friends who had been separated but are brought together to try and fight a demon spirit or something (it’s been about a year since I read it, and it’s not a long book).
If I had to pick one thing about Mooncakes that I loved, it was the acceptance of everyone’s genders, sexuality and pronouns. No one is labelled, no one is disrespected (intentionally or not), and the plot doesn’t revolve around discrimination and self-acceptance. I have a lot of love for this as a concept.
Do you have any trans or non-binary recommendations for me?
Great post, I love Mooncakes and really want to read Blanca & Roja ?
Mooncakes was so sweet!! Let me know what you think of Blanca and Roja when you get to it!! ?
Those are some great recommendations! Hadn’t heard of those books so far, but I’ll be sure to add them to my list.
Thanks!! The two that I have read were amazing. I just need to read the others as well!! ?
This idea is excellent Meeghan!
Thanks Sophie!! I’ve got 2 more posts lined up for the rest of the month!! ?
Kay @ Hammock of Books
Jen Wilde’s books are so amazing <3
Yes!! I love them all. I need to find out when the next one is… ?
Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical
I love I Wish You All the Best, so I’m hoping you will too! It’s such a beautiful, painful but also hopeful novel, and the friendship + romance is A++. Also, the way Ben built their relationship with their sister, Hannah, made me SO HAPPY. I– have to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of I Was Born For This, but nonetheless it was enjoyable and I’m looking forward to reading Radio Silence & Loveless (when it comes out) by Oseman. Also, I opted for the audiobook and it was SO GOOD, the narrators did an excellent job. I need to read Blanca & Roja, or something else by the author. Great post! 🙂
Thanks Veronika!! I’m drowning in my little sea of ARCs at the moment, and I have only been reading a chapter or 2 a day lately, but I will get there!! xx