Adult Fiction Featuring Queer Joy
May 26, 2021 2:47 PM   Subscribe

This Pride month, I'd like to spend some time reading good adult fiction that features queer joy, not misery/abuse/death. I'm having better luck finding young adult book lists that cover this ground, but this is what I've uncovered so far:

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For
Red, White, and Royal Blue
The House in the Cerulean Sea
My Lady's Choosing
Pretend We Live Here: Stories
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
Under the Rainbow
Juliet Takes a Breath
Written in the Stars
Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night
Tipping the Velvet
Mostly Void, Partially Stars
The Price of Salt (apparently? I've only seen Carol)
The Starless Sea
Something to Talk About
Meet Cute Club
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy
The Princess Affair
Romancing the Inventor
Who is Vera Kelly?
Passing Strange
This is How You Lose the Time War
To Be Taught, If Fortunate

...anything else to add?
posted by sugarbomb to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Casey McQuiston, author of Red White and Royal Blue has “one last stop” coming out next week called “One Last Stop.”
posted by raccoon409 at 3:17 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Conventionally Yours !
posted by assenav at 3:26 PM on May 26, 2021

Joe Keenan:
Blue Heaven
Putting on the Ritz
Mu Lucky Star
posted by BWA at 4:06 PM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you are interested in SFF, the author K.A. Doore has a page on her website for Queer Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy books for 2021. There are also links there to similar posts from 2020 & 2019. I can’t guarantee that all the books have queer joy, but there a little description of each book on the list that will help you find what you are looking for.

I also recommend all books by Becky Chambers (I spotted one on your list!).
posted by knitswithcathair at 4:14 PM on May 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Silk and Steel is a queer SF/F romance anthology, and they generally trend toward happy. The only one I remember being a bit of a downer was the last story ("The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute" by Aliette de Bodard - I'm not generally keen on her writing). I particularly recommend "Elinor Jones vs. the Ruritanian Multiverse" by Freya Marske, "The Parnassian Courante" by Claire Bartlett, and - my absolute, read-three-times-in-a-row favorite of them all - "Positively Medieval" by Kaitlyn Zivanovich.

Sarah Gailey's American Hippo books might make the cut? There's a lot of violence and some pining that veers into the realm of misery for a while, but things work out happily for the protagonists by the end.
posted by sibilatorix at 4:45 PM on May 26, 2021

T. Kingfisher's The Raven and the Reindeer ?
posted by sourcequench at 5:05 PM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being in Love starts with the two protagonists in high school but then jumps twenty years to when they're both middle aged.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 5:34 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Boyfriend Material - Alexis Hall
The Errant Prince- Sasha L. Miller
posted by brook horse at 5:53 PM on May 26, 2021

I agree with all Becky Chambers but especially the first one in the series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

I’d also recommend a lot of Gail Carriger, not just Romancing the Inventor (Romancing the Werewolf primarily, but there are delightful and joyful queer story arcs all throughout all her Parasol Protectorate books).
posted by bananacabana at 6:23 PM on May 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Sparling TOTALLY scratches that itch. It’s delightful.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 6:44 PM on May 26, 2021

Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I really enjoyed this book. It's bitter sweet in parts, and sometimes a little bit sad, but it keeps coming back to joy and lightness. A compassionate book.
(Thanks for asking this question. I'm adding so many recommendations to my list)
posted by Zumbador at 8:49 PM on May 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

patience and sarah
posted by brujita at 8:56 PM on May 26, 2021

Autoboyography By Christina Lauren! A good one if you like Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:38 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

The books below all involve joy, although the characters have to experience some life challenges to get there.

Lots of KJ Charles fits this, in particular The Magpie Lord. The ending of that book seems to exemplify what you're looking for. (I should note that many of her books are murder mysteries, so there IS death and tragedy but it is not gay death and tragedy, if that makes sense. The Magpie Lord starts with one of the main characters in mortal peril due to a curse. If you're OK with adventur-y mortal peril, these may be for you.)
The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics and The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite.
posted by rednikki at 6:09 AM on May 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Chelsey Johnson's Stray City might fit the bill!
posted by quatsch at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2021

Oh wait, I have more!!! Both of these are novellas, with similar themes and ideas but are actually pretty different stories.

Mrs Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan. It's not just about queer love; it's about two elderly women finding love, finding their own strength and getting revenge on a bad man along the way. It is a joyful romp.

A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian is also about two women finding love, finding their own strength and getting vengeance on a terrible man along the way. It is somewhat less of a romp than the Courtney Milan story, but is fun and comes to a cracker conclusion.

Both are part of a series but can be read as a standalone. (In both cases I read these books first. Each one has elements that have deeper resonance if you've read the rest of the series, but for me it was an excuse to read them again once I'd read everything else.)
posted by rednikki at 11:12 PM on May 27, 2021

Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl is SO GOOD.

This may be too obvious (and too silly) but there's always Less.
posted by thivaia at 7:37 PM on June 1, 2021

If I'm understanding correctly, you haven't yet read the books you listed. If that's true, I would note that I've read The House in the Cerulean Sea and it seems right up your alley. The author has another book coming out this fall which also sounds promising. I really liked Time War and Passing Strange but I would not describe them as joyful, just so you know, I found them both sad in some respects or at least contemplative. I wish I had other suggestions but my reading has been pretty light on joy lately.
posted by ferret branca at 9:05 PM on June 1, 2021

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