Discussion: Goodreads Awards & LGBT Books

As I’m sure you’re aware, the Annual Goodreads Choice Awards just started yesterday. And as you also probably already know, the list of official nominees isn’t the final list of nominees. But it is a start & it was put together just the way it was & as someone who co-runs an LGBT media blog, I wanna talk about it.

We have 20 categories and 15 books nominated in each. Some books are nominated in more than one category so it’s not actually 300 books, but it’s close enough. And how many of those 300 books do you think are LGBT ones? Before you start guessing, though, let me remind you that we have a list of all LGBT releases of the year that we could find & it’s currently over 560 books long.

Below you will find LGBT books from each category. (Not) Surprisingly there are a few with no LGBT nominees but I still numbered the categories as listed on Goodreads. (Also, if you notice I missed any books, please let me know so I can edit the post. I might know a lot but I surely don’t know everything!)

When I told Charlotte I want to write this post, it took her basically no time to decide that another thing we need are LGBT Alternative Choice Awards & she set hard to work to put them together. The categories are pretty much the same, but the nominees are – obviously – all LGBT.

Here’s a google form where you can cast your vote!


1. Fiction

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (gay mc)
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (wlw character)


2. Mystery & Thriller

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (wlw mc)


3. Historical Fiction

The Huntress by Kate Quinn (wlw mc)
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner (lesbian mc)


4. Fantasy

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (lgbt cast)
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (gay mc)
The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu (bi mc, m/m relationship)
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (mlm characters)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (side f/f relationship)
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (f/f relationship)


5. Romance

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (m/m relationship)


6. Science Fiction

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz (lesbian, trans and nb characters)
The Deep by Rivers Solomon (lgbt cast)
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (wlw mc, mlm side character)
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (wlw mc)
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (trans side character, ace side character)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (lesbian mc)
One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence (gay mc)
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (wlw mcs)


7. Horror

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (bi/pan mc)
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill (tw: bury your gays)


10. Memoir & Autobiography

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs
Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain by Sarah Vallance
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado


13. Food & Cookbooks

Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski


14. Graphic Novels & Comics

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (f/f relationship)
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks (bi mc)
Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau (m/m relationship)
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu (f/nb relationship)
Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman (m/m relationship)
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob (memoir; bi author)


15. Poetry

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson
Soft Science by Franny Choi
The Tradition by Jericho Brown


16. Debut Novel

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (m/m relationship)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (side f/f relationship)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (f/f relationship)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (gay mc)


17. Young Adult Fiction

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver (nb mc, bi li)
The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston (f/f relationship)


18. Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (m/m relationship)
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (bi/pan mc)
Wilder Girls by Rory Power (sapphic mc)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (sapphic characters; tw: bury your gays)


19. Middle Grade & Children’s

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan (side m/m relationship – parents)
The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan (bi mc)
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (nb character)


Yes, that’s all.

We have 51 LGBT nominations. (And okay, there were maybe a handful more that I didn’t list, because it was only minor side character who weren’t cishet – and I decided the crumbs like that just don’t count.) 51 out of 300.

Clearly, as based on this list, our biggest chance to get acknowledged is through fantasy & science-fiction books. Which begs a question: why aren’t contemporary LGBT books celebrated the same way?

It’s also interesting to note that the romance category has one sole LGBT book in it. Almost as if LGBT romances don’t register for other readers as romances… But then Red, White & Royal Blue has been hyped beyond belief all year long (not without reason!), so it would be absurd not to feature it.

It’s also worth nothing that not all of those books were even marketed as LGBT, weren’t talked about and reviewed as such. Sure, it’s great that we don’t focus only on the rep and actually value the worth of the book itself, but at the same time if for example a book has a lesbian mc, the potential readers should be aware. It’s been our struggle since the moment Charlotte and I started this blog and I really, really hope it will stop being one sooner rather than later.

I don’t have clear conclusions for you guys or even a point I truly wanted to make here – apart from: we’re being underrepresented. But maybe this list will impact your voting somehow. Or maybe you will discover a book you had no idea was LGBT. Either way, let’s hope next year a list like this would be at least twice as long!

And hey, don’t forget to vote in our LGBT Choice Awards!


23 Replies to “Discussion: Goodreads Awards & LGBT Books”

  1. This is so disappointing but not surprising at all… your idea for alternate awards is wonderful and I’m gonna cast my votes right away 😊😊

    I know you said that you didn’t include a few books for valid reasons, but I still just wanted to mention that in the graphic novel category, Good Talk by Mira Jacob is nominated. It’s actually a memoir and the author is bi. It’s so rare to see a south Asian queer author/characters in books, so I just wanted to let you know. Sorry if I came across as presumptuous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great! There were actually some here that I didn’t know had LGBT characters! I loved Bloom, Pumpkinheads, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me and Wayward Son. All are some of my favourite reads of 2019! Sadly didn’t enjoy Red, White and Royal Blue. Though it does seem very hyped up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the selection of this year’s choices, at least in the categories I read the most, FFS and YA.
    While I do know about a few books that I think deserve a place on that list, I know not enough people have read them to give them even a standing chance. But looking at your own choice awards, I’ve realized how few queer books I’ve read myself. So I don’t really feel comfortable casting a vote when I’ve read only one the books nominated but I do have two more suggestions: Diamond Heart by M.A. Hinkle and Birthday by Meredith Russo were both five stars and very dear to my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. both me and charlotte read primarily lgbt books tbh so seeing them take up less than 20% of choices was a jarring experience for us.
      oh those are brilliant write-ins yeah!!

      – anna


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