Juliet Takes a Breath introduces readers to Juliet Milagros Palante, a queer Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx who is trying to figure out… well, everything. Over the course of one summer, she travels, meets people who do and don’t understand her, and learns to embrace her identity. To celebrate the book’s publication, author Gabby Rivera rounded up her favorite LGBTQ+ books that blend humor and heart while celebrating what it means to be queer.
Bingo Love: Jackpot Edition by Tee Franklin, art by Jenn St. Onge
I recommend this book in every single interview and book list because it’s just that damn important, sweet, and full of love. Hazel and Mari are just two church girls in love during the 1960s in Atlanta. Unfortunately, their kiss on the front steps of the church gets them into some major family trouble. And bam, just like that, their love is snatched away by parents and grandparents who just don’t understand. But thankfully, their story gets a remix and so did the original version of Bingo Love. The Jackpot edition comes with all the QTPOC love stories you’ve ever wanted and needed in your life. Three cheers for grandmas in love.
I’ve been reading Archie Bongiovanni’s Grease Bats on Autostraddle for years. Following the very normal, very queer everyday lives of Andy, a trans genderqueer individual, and their best friend, Scout, is so damn therapeuatic. Andy and Scout grapple with all the fun stuff like figuring out if you’re actually on a date with a queer babe or if it’s just a friends thing, whether or not you should be freakin’ out about someone not texting back, and what it means to feel good in your body. It’s funny and honest, and I’m gonna go get the physical collection now, BRB.
This one’s for all the bisexual brujas in the world and the gentle babes that love them. Alex is a teenage bruja who doesn’t want any of the magic. She’d rather just stay under the radar. But the underworld has other plans, and when Alex rejects her family’s blessing all brujx hell breaks loose. And that’s where the trippy adventure begins. The magical realm Los Lagos is wild and the perfect place for Alex to decide if she’s going to become the bruja she was meant to be or lose her family forever. Also, the love triangle between Rishi, Nova, and Alex is angsty, authentic, and super fresh.
This book isn’t that goofy. It’s a little quieter and takes its time. But damn, it’s so worth it. Aristotle doesn’t have a lot of friends and isn’t allowed to talk about his brother who’s incarcerated. So mostly, Aristotle doesn’t talk. And yet somehow by the grace of the universe, he meets Dante, a gentle kid who just wants to read books about art and daydream. I needed their love story and didn’t even know it. I needed to see two adorable Mexican teen boys fall into honest, full-hearted love with each other in a pickup truck, with their parents’ blessing and an endless sky. Go fall in love with them too.
Ok ok, so you already saw Love, Simon, at the movies or under the blankets in your room late at night because you don’t want anyone to know you might be gay. That’s ok, it’s no one’s business anyway. But also, you should still read the book. The book is always the best part. Simon’s love-struck anxiety is so damn relatable, as was the love triangle awkwardness in his friend circle. There are so many feelings in this book that I’m glad it came with lots of good laughs and a whole slew of hard truths–reminding all us queer weirdos that just being honest and real with your friends makes everything better. And you get the babe in the end!
Gabby Rivera is a Bronx-born queer Latinx babe on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever. She’s the first Latina to write for Marvel comics, penning the solo series AMERICA about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse. In 2017, Gabby was named one of the top comic creators by the SyFy network, and one of NBC’s #Pride30 Innovators. Gabby now makes magic on both coasts, currently residing in California. She writes for all the sweet baby queers and her mom.