The third day of #PrideLibrary is all about F/F romance, and here’s my very belated post for it (sorry, I’ve been a blogging mess!). I’m going to take you through my top 10 favourite F/F books of all time! These are in no particular order, they’re just the 10 F/F books I’ve loved most.
If you would like to know more recommendations for sapphic books, I also have a Goodreads shelf specifically for sapphic books. As of now, it has almost 100 books, but I add books when I finish them, so the shelf is always growing! Honestly, it was so hard to choose just 10 favourites, so please check out this shelf as well as it has so many amazing books!
C.B. Lee – Not Your Sidekick
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
Not Your Sidekick is the first installment in one of my favourite sci-fi/dystopian series, and it’s one of the first “real” F/F books that I read. I remember falling so in love with the romance in this book, because it’s incredibly fluffy and these characters have so much chemistry together!
Nina LaCour – Everything Leads to You
A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
I don’t think anyone could make a list like this and not include a Nina LaCour book. Her books are just beyond beautiful in their writing style and atmosphere, and Everything Leads to You has such an amazing setting and romance. This is very much a must read when it comes to sapphic books (although of course I’d say so about all of these).
Natasha Ngan – Girls of Paper and Fire
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
Much less light-hearted, but also so amazing and feminist, is Girls of Paper and Fire. This is one of my favourite fantasy books ever; it got me so emotionally invested, and I would die for Lei and Wren. This book is YA fantasy done right, and you won’t regret picking it up.
Amy Spalding – The Summer of Jordi Perez
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Pérez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.
Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?
But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?
Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Pérez (and the Best Burger in Los Ángeles)?
Back to a contemporary (because I do love a good contemporary)! I listened to the audiobook of The Summer of Jordi Perez pretty much in one sitting last year, and it was such an excellent experience. It has a fat lesbian main character who loves fashion and food, in that order.
Tehlor Kay Mejia – We Set the Dark on Fire
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.
On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
Another book I listened to as an audiobook is We Set the Dark on Fire, which blew me away and then firmly cemented itself as one of my all-time favourite dystopians. It’s such a timely dystopian, with lots of references to the real world, and a very insightful exploration of gender hierarchy and social class. Honestly, if I start talking about this book for long enough, I will never stop. It’s that good. I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale as well and this book did everything The Handmaid’s Tale was supposed to do.
Robin Talley – Music From Another World
It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.
A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.
A very recent read, Music From Another World has immediately become a new all-time favourite read. Last year, I already recommended YA LGBTQ+ historical fiction, saying there’s something so special about reading about queer history. This was another very special read, and it was possibly even better than Pulp. It’s also a beautiful slowburn love story.
Julia Drake – The Last True Poets of the Sea
The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.
But wrecks seem to run in the family. Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.
Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece – the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.
She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.
The Last True Poets of the Sea is another pretty recent read, and this is actually one of the few LGBTQ+ books that got translated into Dutch, which I’m so happy about! It’s wonderful to be able to see this f/f novel on the shelves in Dutch bookstores. I really loved the atmosphere of this novel, it reminded me a little of Jandy Nelson’s books.
Mia García – The Resolutions
New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.
From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.
Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.
But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.
This is exactly the right kind of book for me. It’s centered around friendship, which I love. And it’s slice of life, which I also love. There isn’t a major focus on an intricate plot, but instead you get to know these characters and you get to know them and follow them for a little while, and get immersed in their lives. One of the main characters is in such a lovely f/f romance, I loved seeing these characters together.
Hannah Moskowitz – Sugar Summer
Sugar Applebaum doesn’t hate the idea of spending a quiet summer at Sideling Springs, a sleepy Jewish resort in West Virginia, with her mother (who she adores) and her sister (who she does not), but she’s not exactly hyped about it. That is, until she crashes a staff party and meets Mara, the older, gorgeous, and acid-tongued dance instructor with very little patience for people with Sugar’s amount of privilege and supposed heterosexuality. But Mara’s dance partner, Tristan, is getting top surgery and can’t perform, and she needs a way to replace him without anyone noticing. Guess who’s the only volunteer?
Learning to look, dress, and, especially, dance like a boy means a lot of time with Mara, listening to her, arguing with her…touching her, and suddenly Sugar’s feeling things she thought were just in those sappy songs they have to dance to. But falling for a girl, especially one who doesn’t particularly seem to like her, was not in Sugar’s summer plans. What’s a girl to do?
SUGAR SUMMER is a lesbian retelling of the ’80s classic DIRTY DANCING, like you’ve never seen it before.
If I say “lesbian Dirty Dancing retelling”, do I really need to say anything more? I feel like that’s all you need to know because it’s exactly what you get: it’s a pretty close retelling of the movie (which is one of my favourites ever!), just with a few modern updates and some new twists, and it had the same vibe of the movie, which is of course the most important part. I would really recommend reading this while listening to the movie soundtrack!
Taylor Brooke – Curved Horizon
Curved Horizon picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of Fortitude Smashed with Daisy Yuen and Chelsea Cavanaugh, whose Camellia Clocks draw close to timing out.
Navigating the in’s and out’s of love is hard enough as strangers destined to be soul mates and proves even more complicated when Daisy shares ugly, dark secrets that linger in her and Aiden’s past.
Meanwhile, Shannon and Aiden continue to explore their own new relationship. With Fall comes an unforgettable one year anniversary, but when Shannon suffers a life-threatening incident on the job, Chelsea, Daisy, and Aiden must find a way to let go of their pasts to make room for their futures.
My review of this book is just: “I just love these dumbasses so much”. Before reading this, I would recommend reading the first installment Fortitude Smashed, first, because this book is a follow-up, but also because that book is also amazing and it’s one of my favourite m/m romances ever. These books have been such incredibly comforting reads, where you get totally immersed in the romance and it feels like a warm blanket. This book also has some great demisexual rep!
What are your favourite f/f books?
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