Book Recs: Best of 2019

Last year we only allowed ourselves to choose 3 best books each. That was torture and so this year we expanded that number to 5. We were also very careful to choose only books that were published in 2019 and read by us in 2019 (barring one 2020 release from me, Charlotte, because I never listen to what Anna says and also I need everyone to mark it to read ASAP).

I wonder if any of our choices are predictable to you, guys…

In any case, here are ten best LGBT books we have read this year! (And our dear wish that we could have pick more books.)


Steel Crow Saga
Paul Krueger
Published: 24th September 2019
Rep: South-east/East Asian mcs, bi mcs, lesbian mc, trans & gay major side characters
Genre & tropes: fantasy, enemies to reluctant partners

Why Do I Rec It?

I’ve read nearly 400 books this year but, for the first time ever, I can so easily pick out my favourite of them all. That’s how good this book is. It’s one of those few that I know is going to be a 5-star read within the first pages, and I’ve been desperate to reread it since pretty much the moment I put it down.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong
Published: 4th June 2019
Rep: Vietnamese-American gay mc (ownvoices), Vietnamese characters, gay characters
Genre & tropes: contemporary
TW: on page death, child abuse, drugs, war descriptions, homophobia, animal violence

Why Do I Rec It?

I’ve been waiting for this novel for ages, ever since Vuong first hinted at it on his insta. I’ve also been in love with his poetry for even longer than that. So I thought I knew what to expect. And yet, he absolutely floored me, in the best way possible. There are no words to describe the brilliance of this book.

Related: my full review

This is How You Lose the Time War
Amal el-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Published: 16th July 2019
Rep: wlw mcs
Genre & tropes: science fiction, enemies to lovers

Why Do I Rec It?

Well, firstly, it’s an f/f epistolary enemies to lovers time travel romance and if that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will. Secondly, it’s one of the few f/f books that I’ve read where you can actually feel the yearning of the characters and that definitely struck a chord.

Related: my review

Brave Face
Shaun David Hutchinson
Release date: 21st May 2019
Rep: gay author
Genre & tropes: memoir

Why Do I Rec It?

It’s weird to sing praises of a memoir, since, you know, this is someone’s life we’re talking about. But at the same time, it’s an absolute privilege to be able to read about Hutchinson’s life and, yes, his struggles. Even though this is literally a story about him, it kind of feels like a love letter to our community; there’s this deep understanding, obviously, and with it comes an assurance that no, we are not alone.


After the Eclipse
Fran Dorricott
Release date: 5th March
Rep: lesbian mc (ownvoices), bi li
Genre & tropes: mystery, second chance romance
TWs: implied child abuse and rape, drug and alcohol abuse

Why Do I Rec It?

Mystery is basically my favourite genre of all time, but finding a good, tight mystery novel with characters you can root for is actually surprisingly hard. But Fran Dorricott smashes it out of the park with this one and, to top it off, there’s an f/f second chance romance. Also it’s criminally (ha lol) underrated.


Crier’s War
Nina Varela
Release date: 1st October  2019
Rep: lesbian poc mc, bi poc mc, poc cast, side mlm & wlw couples
Genre & tropes: fantasy, romance, enemies to lovers (or is it)

Why Do I Rec It?

What I love most about this book, is the total lack of homophobia in the world Varela created. I think that’s beautiful and I want more stories like that! Also I love reading about useless lesbians, so there’s that!

Related: my full review + a playlist for Crier’s War

A Prince on Paper
Alyssa Cole
Release date: 30th April
Rep: bi mc, nonbinary side character
Genre & tropes: contemporary, fake dating

Why Do I Rec It?

Alyssa Cole is comfortably one of my favourite romance authors and every book more I read by her just solidifies that fact. This one is easily my favourite so far. The slowburn of the romance, the fact that there’s no/little miscommunication, just everything about this book is excellence.


Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston
Release date: 14th May 2019
Rep: bi half-Mexican mc with undiagnosed ADHD, gay li with depression, female bi side characters (in polyam relationship), poc side characters, trans lesbian side character
Genre & tropes: contemporary, romance, enemies to lovers, secret relationship

Why Do I Rec It?

Yes, Charlotte and I had a debate over which one of us should claim this book as one of her favourites of the year. I only won because Charlotte read like a bazillion other books… Anyway, this is definitely the best new adult novel I have ever read & probably one of the best love stories, as well.


The Empress of Salt and Fortune
Nghi Vo
Release date: 24th March 2020
Rep: nonbinary mc, wlw side characters
Genre & tropes: contemporary, fantasy

Why Do I Rec It?

This is my little cheat rec here, because it’s not actually out for a good few months. But when I say you’re going to want to read this, you are going to want to read this. It is a gorgeous novella that perfectly balances telling a complete story and leaving you wanting so much more. I only finished it the other day and already I want to read it again.


Tommy Pico
Release date: 5th November 2019
Rep: gay Native American author
Genre & tropes: poetry

Why Do I Rec It?

This poetry collection feels like a stream of consciousness, feels like texting a friend in the middle of the night, feels like coming home. There’s so much packed in here! Heartbreak, colonialism, dating, climate crisis, relationships with food, modern loneliness, rise of the far right! it’s so emotionally taxing while being stupidly funny!


Well? Are any of those books on your top of the year? What other books made your list?

And did you guess any of our picks?

3 Replies to “Book Recs: Best of 2019”

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