Conversations 001: Queer Book Chat

Over the month of June – Pride Month – Star pointed out to me how most books being promoted were M/M. Until she pointed this out, I hadn’t noticed. Once she pointed it out, it was all I noticed. I’d even been guilty of it! There are so many fantastic M/M books that I’ve read, but sadly not as many F/F. I didn’t think they were out there. But Star proved me wrong with reading recommendations, and I intend to read them all.

Hi. I’m Sarah, one of the AusYABloggers group moderators and today I’ve asked fellow queer Aussie book blogger, the above-mentioned Star, to chat to me on the group blog.
Star is an out and Proud Lesbian who I think the world of. I am a quiet bisexual who can no longer stand to be quiet.
Sarah: During Pride month we had a few discussions about how we were mainly seeing M/M books in people’s Pride month posts. I think we basically deduced that this is what mainstream media seems to push and thus it is a trickle-down effect – yuk.

Star: You’re absolutely right. While a huge part of me is so excited that LGBT+ are getting any representation at all (though it is seriously lacking in full diversity), it makes me a little sad that it’s only M/M and the majority of the time, the M/M books are written by cis straight white women. Give me M/M written by own voices M/M and I am all for it!

Sarah: Yes! #OwnVoices – While I want as varied array of diversity in my books as there is in the world (so Cis whites get on diversifying your characters please), It does feel so much more meaningful when a story is #ownvoices, regardless of what the voice is.

Star: I couldn’t agree more! I was thinking about this again and the more I thought about it, the more I saw that the only F/F book (not even plural) that people were recommending was Leah on the Offbeat and it makes me sad because that is as far from #OwnVoices as you can get.

Sarah: Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie was the first book I read and thought “Oh shit, this girl is me”. This teenage girl is teenage me. Her snarky self-loathing. Her failed attempts at F/F romance. I wanted to hug her and tell her we’d figure it out together.

What was the first book you saw yourself in?

Star: This is hard because I didn’t actually see myself in any books as a kid, but it was fanfiction I first saw myself really represented. Since then, I have been feeding my inner teenager with every single queer book I can literally get my hands on for that representation I so desperately craved as a teenager. The first F/F book I read, however, was Empress of the World by Sara Ryan. It still holds a dear place in my heart because it was my first ever F/F book.

Sarah: I’m hearing ya. And I’m thankful you were able to find a home for yourself in the fantastic world of Fan Fiction. I didn’t find any F/F until a was an “adult” and already married to a man. I often wonder about if in my teens I’d had access to the wonderfully queer books had I have access to now, how different my life may have turned out. I think that’s probably what drives us both to actively search out and promote queer books now. We want today’s teens to have the reads we didn’t.

Star: Absolutely! People who have representation in every single media form rarely stop to think about those that don’t, and it makes me sad. Because everyone deserves representation and to see themselves in a book, movie, tv show, etc.

Sarah: The Dyke word. I can remember you telling me about a book where the POV referred to herself as a Dyke and It wasn’t a positive reading experience. I was horrified when you told me. I think we can agree that we are fed up with derogatory bulls*** and want more positive examples for our teens.

What was the last book you read where the POV lesbian’s status was treated as a positive thing?

Star: My latest and most favourite book – These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. The MC identifies as lesbian and says on page “I’m a huge lesbian” and I’m like “YES, THIS IS ME!”. More often than not, books will use ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ and even the d-slur over actually using ‘lesbian’. Because apparently “lesbian” is a porn category for men, not a sexuality that actually, you know, pertains to women who love other women.

Sarah: The lesbian word. We’ve spoken before about how meaningful it is for you when a character calls themselves a lesbian and it’s a positive thing and I’m with ya!

Do you think the publishing industry is heading in the right direction, are we seeing more positive examples rather than negatives these days? Because there certainly was a time when all queer stories had sad endings (which we know is bulls*** in the real world, queers can and do live happy meaningful lives).

Star: The fact that more queer books are existing is a huge step in the right direction, I think. There’s always going to be sad stories, because that is how life works, but there needs to be a bit of a better balance. I’m sick of lesbians and F/F ending up dead, dying painfully, cheating on their boyfriends (to only go back to being with a guy because god forbid being bisexual actually exists, too!). There are so many ways that F/F can have happy endings, just like all the heterosexual books that are out there. Give me 500 years’ worth of cute contemporary F/F books (and LGBT+ books on the whole) like there has been for heterosexuals. No trope is too tired when it comes to it being re-imagined with an LGBT+ protagonist.

Sarah: Here Here. Agreed. Bring them all on. I think this is the perfect time to drop a list of YA F/F books for you to check out. It is by no means all the books that are out there. It’s a list of F/F I’ve either read or are planning to read. If you’ve got any favorites that I’ve somehow missed. Please let us know what they are below.





You can find Star @ Twitter | Instagram | Book Blog

And you can find me, Sarah @ Twitter | Instagram | Book Blog

Comment your thoughts below. Let us know If you want more rambling chit chat posts like this in the future.

6 comments

  1. Check out the books published by Harmony Ink Press!

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  2. Thank you for letting me be a part of this lovely chat session, Sarah!
    💜 Star

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  3. Thanks for sharing this chat with us! And for the recommendations - I'm so keen to read more w/w books, and you've exploded my tbr! x

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    1. Thank you <3 :-) I hope you find some new favorites.

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