Book Recs: It’s About the Yearning

I had absolutely no idea what rec list to make for today so, in a sort of democracy I suppose, I got people on twitter to choose between this, butch lesbians and yes this book is gay. (Don’t worry, the latter two will be coming, although maybe not so soon.)

We all know that yearning is a massive part of the best LGBT lit, at what we all yearn (lol) for. So, here are ten of my favourites that just hit that sweet spot.

Yes, there are some upcoming books on this list, I can’t be held accountable for it though.


The Jasmine Throne


Tasha Suri
Rep: Indian-coded lesbian mcs

Why Should I Read It?

Okay, so you can’t actually read this one yourself for another seven months (sorry), but the yearning contained in these approximately 500 pages is sublime. And it’s not just yearning for each other, it’s a yearning for revenge, for power, and for more. And it’s probably my favourite book of this whole year.


The Wicker King


K. Ancrum
Rep: bi mc with anorexia, anxiety & depression, bi mc with peduncular hallucinosis, polyamory
CWs: child neglect

Why Should I Read It?

Anna told me I had to include this one (which is fair enough, nothing is more Yearning than friends to lovers, and you know I’m right). The scene near the end in the hospital is reason alone for its inclusion. And reason alone for you to go read it.




Barry Jenkins & Tarell Alvin McCraney
Rep: Black gay mc

Why Should I Read It?

We’ve all seen the film (or I hope we have. If not, please leave this post right now to rectify that. You won’t regret it), but nothing quite beats the yearning nature of it than reading the script. Of course, you get the full power of it if you’ve seen the film, so what are you waiting for? Go!!


The Kingdoms


Natasha Pulley
Rep: gay mc with epilepsy, gay li

Why Should I Read It?

All of Natasha Pulley’s books involve that yearning, but of them all, I think The Kingdoms is the most powerfully yearning. I won’t add anything more, because I don’t want to spoil anything (although it’s not out until May anyway), but I’ve already read this book twice and I think I will be at least once* more before its release.

*Who am I kidding. It’s probably gonna be more than that.


The Midnight Lie


Marie Rutkoski
Rep: lesbian mc & li
CWs: emotional abuse

Why Should I Read It?

If you thought I would write this list without including this book, then you were wrong. All I really have to say as proof it should be on here is this:

Nirrim, I can’t be good to you.
— Then be bad.


The Afterward


E. K. Johnston
Rep: Black lesbian mc, bi mc

Why Should I Read It?

If you want a change of pace from fantasy books about overthrowing regimes, then this will do just fine. We’re comfortably past the end of your general fantasy novel and it’s about What Happens Next. It also involves the first case that I can remember of sapphics actually full on hungering for one another, so it has a special place in my heart.


Cemetery Boys


Aiden Thomas
Rep: Cuban American gay trans mc, Colombian American gay li with ADHD(?), Cuban American side characters, lesbian side character, trans side character
CWs: deadnaming, misgendering, transphobia, mentions of past gang violence

Why Should I Read It?

Anna gave me a strange look when I touted this book as to include, but listen. Listen. It might not be about yearning in the sense of yearning for another, but it’s yearning to be recognised as yourself and not who people think you are. And also I’m just begging people to listen to the audiobook of this, for Julian.


Picture Us in the Light


Kelly Loy Gilbert
Rep: Chinese American gay mc, Taiwanese American mlm li
CWs: past suicide, past child abduction

Why Should I Read It?

We all love a bit of unrequited yearning, don’t we? Or, at least, I do, so I’m reccing this one. Childhood friends to… well I won’t spoil it, but I can say this much: Danny is in love with his best friend and what’s more yearning than that?


One Last Stop


Casey McQuiston
Rep: bi mc with anxiety, Chinese American lesbian li, gay side character, Black sapphic side character, Black gay side character, Puerto Rican American trans side character, Black pan side character

Why Should I Read It?

This is the last of the upcoming releases I have put on this list, and again one that’s not out for seven more months, but the yearning in it is so visceral there was no way I couldn’t include it. Trust me on this one: do yourself a massive favour (and give yourself a lovely gift next June) and preorder it.


If We Were Villains


M. L. Rio
Rep: bi mc & li

Why Should I Read It?

This one may seem a bit out of the left field, I will admit, but, hear me out. Does anything say gay experience more than wanting to be close friends with someone of the same gender, but actually it turns out you want more than that? You convince yourself you’re just friends and then… Also this is a theatre-kids-The Secret History. But better.


What would you rec?

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8 Replies to “Book Recs: It’s About the Yearning”

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