A page-turner written by a trans or NB author?
July 10, 2020 10:33 AM   Subscribe

For the Seattle Public Library's book bingo, I need to read a book by a trans on non-binary author. Because of *gestures widely* I have the attention span of a flea and the book needs to be in English, fiction, entertaining, and a page-turner, and ideally have some humor. I like mysteries and don't like reading about children in peril or people making bad decisions. Suggestions?

If you look at that bingo card and think "Oh, I know the perfect entertaining book for another category!" I will happily take suggestions, but I've already filled a lot of the squares.
posted by The corpse in the library to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
If a novella counts, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy. There's a sequel too.
posted by Botanizer at 10:46 AM on July 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

I don't know if graphic novels are allowed, but I've heard good things about the Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:47 AM on July 10, 2020

Response by poster: Yes, novellas and graphic novels are allowed (I say).
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:48 AM on July 10, 2020

Sarah Gailey is a non-binary author - I read Magic for Liars and liked it a lot, and have Upright Women Wanted on my TBR pile.

I read Gender Queer and it is very good as well.
posted by mogget at 10:49 AM on July 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Not a mystery, but Daniel Lavery (book is still published under Mallory Ortberg) wrote a book of short stories that are reinterpretations of classic fairy tales that is really fun. YMMV depending on your tolerance for horror. Anyone that enjoyed The Toast's Children's stories made horrific features will enjoy the book. The books is called The Merry Spinster.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 10:49 AM on July 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Brontide

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (or his adult science fiction)

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg is fairly long and dense (and also "HAAAA oh my god the level of horniness in that book is off the charts" according to a Twitter friend, which is true), but wildly entertaining.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Neon Yang is the first novella in a series, if that counts, or if a couple of novellas rounds up to a novel.
posted by Jeanne at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

And Love Bites by Mefi's Own Ry Herman!
posted by Jeanne at 10:52 AM on July 10, 2020

Endorsements here for Margaret Killjoy and Yoon Ha Lee as def being page turners.
posted by PMdixon at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2020

See if anything on the TransBooks' 'Own Voices' tag piques your interest.
posted by zamboni at 11:05 AM on July 10, 2020

Oh wow thanks for reminding me about JY Neon Yang and that series. I've been putting that off for too long!! This too I've heard great things about — if I had been aware of Yang's nonbinary identity I would have mentioned that one too. (Yes I have a lot on my "I've heard it's great" list)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:09 AM on July 10, 2020

Charlie Jane Anders - Rock Manning Goes for Broke (novella) or All the Birds in the Sky (novel).
posted by feckless at 11:16 AM on July 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

Full disclosure we used to work together, but Imogen Binnie's YA novel "Nevada" was pretty great.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor! Super-entertaining, I read it in about 24 hours.

The aforementioned Daniel Lavery memoir is also very entertaining.
posted by lunasol at 11:22 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

I see I have been beaten in recommending Margaret Killjoy's The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, so I will note: what a delightful book, and a fast read too!
posted by bile and syntax at 11:42 AM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi ticks a lot of those boxes, but it definitely fails on the "people making bad decisions" field (although it's a bit complicated!).

Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel M. Lavery (aka Slate's Dear Prudence) may fit the bill. I haven't read it yet, but he's a hilarious and insightful writer. (On preview: lunasol mentioned it but I don't see any links upthread).
posted by Paper rabies at 11:44 AM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

High school romance: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Superhero story Dreadnaught by April Daniels

I’ll be honest, “She’s Not There” was the first thing I read as I was coming out as trans, and it left a really bad taste in my mouth.
posted by kyliej at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

As mentioned earlier, Magic for Liars is a good mystery page turner (I finished it in 2-3 sittings) and while there are children in peril, all the children are high school kids. It has a very strong feeling of dread throughout that nearly overwhelms its central mystery, but I still would recommend it.
posted by objectfox at 12:26 PM on July 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Mod note: A few comments deleted, please stick to the asker’s request for fiction only.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:28 PM on July 10, 2020

Seconding "Nevada" by Imogen Binnie but I'd say it contains people making bad choices.
I like Ivan E Coyote's short stories, they're funny and wise, but definitely more slice-of-life than thrilling exploits.
posted by Balthamos at 12:58 PM on July 10, 2020

I am currently absolutely entranced by the good writing and humor in Alexis Hall’s newest, Boyfriend Material. Hall has written several of my favorite M/M romances, and this new one is pleasing me so much that I am deliberately not reading it today so that I won’t finish it too soon.
posted by Orlop at 1:27 PM on July 10, 2020

I quite enjoyed Little Fish by Casey Plett, who is a Canadian trans woman.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:28 PM on July 10, 2020

Nevada definitely contains terrible, terrible choices.

Dreadnaught arguably contains children in peril — it's about a struggling teenage superhero — but if you can handle YA angst and vivid cartoon violence, it is an absolute page-turner and full of snark.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2020

Also here to suggest Alexis Hall, specifically Iron & Velvet, which is hilarious and tons of fun. If you ever liked Sherlock Holmes, you might like The Affair of the Mysterious Letter, but I never could stand that style of mystery writing, so I hated it, despite loving his other work. YMMV.
posted by brook horse at 1:54 PM on July 10, 2020

This is a category on PopSugar's list as well, so this list on Goodreads might help you out. Lots of books on there have already been mentioned upthread.
posted by soelo at 3:33 PM on July 10, 2020

Response by poster: Alexis Hall's books sound like just the thing, but is he trans? Or non-binary? I'll read them anyway, but I'm trying to focus on books that will help me with the bingo card for now.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:24 PM on July 10, 2020

I really liked Little Fish too, buuuuut I feel like it would not meet your “would rather not watch people making bad choices” requirement. Also, the protagonist and her friends [have] experience[d] quite a bit of trauma.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:52 PM on July 10, 2020

Alexis Hall is genderqueer!
posted by brook horse at 7:02 PM on July 10, 2020

Oh, no, correction—I’d seen someone else refer to him as genderqueer, but that must have been a misreading of the word “genrequeer” on his website. He clarifies in his Twitter that he’s gender non-conforming, but cis! Sorry about that! (He does write a lot of trans and NB characters, which is why it didn’t feel out of place!)
posted by brook horse at 7:11 PM on July 10, 2020

Some GN cartoonist recs: Apsara Engine by Bishakh Som, or comics by Jess Fink or Hazel Newlevant
posted by Geameade at 8:38 PM on July 10, 2020

Jordan Hawk is a trans author from North Carolina who writes Lovecraftian adventure stories with plenty of humour and heart. I recommend the Whyborne & Griffin that starts with Widdershins. (I know "Lovecraftian" makes them sound scary, but I don't usually like horror, but these are more like fantasy novels about good people fighting things from the Outside and the stupid people who summon them.)
posted by jb at 8:39 PM on July 10, 2020

Widdershins also features: a 19th-century feminist archeologist with an itchy trigger finger who steals too many scenes (not complaining).
posted by jb at 8:42 PM on July 10, 2020

Nevada, as noted earlier, is cool. It's not a literary masterpiece--in fact, it's a little clumsily written--but I know that it felt devastatingly honest and real to some transfemme people that I know. My friend reluctantly said that it was the most emotionally moving moment she had to read the book, even over the birth of her child. It is about people who make bad decisions, but the pain won't last long because it's a short pageturner. You can read it for free at haveyoureadnevada.club.
posted by Sterros at 11:17 PM on July 10, 2020

Came here to recommend Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl. The author is non-binary and the novel is amazingly well-written and entertaining. There are some bad decisions, mostly just young people feeling their way through the world, but nothing terrible (is there fiction without bad decisions?)
posted by Automocar at 8:22 AM on July 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I found The Breath of the Sun (by MeFi's own thesmallmachine!) really compelling - beautifully written, unlike anything I'd read before. Publisher's Weekly called it riveting, so it might be just what you need.
posted by kristi at 12:35 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

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