30 Books in 30 Minutes Pride Picks: Realistic and Contemporary Fiction

Maybe you came out to see a stellar team of library staff reveal their picks for Pride Month at our 30 Books in 30 Minutes programs on June 7th and June 24th – but if not, fear not! All of the chosen titles are here on our site, as staff picks! (And keep your eyes peeled for future 30 Books programs if you wish you had been able to attend.)

This list highlights the books from our program that have a realistic or contemporary bent, whether that is growing up in a Pakistani family in Queens of the 1980s or deciding how to have a baby when you are a trans woman in the current day and you had to break up with your former partner because they detransitioned – these are people in our world facing the drama of everyday life.

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You Exist Too Much

A 12-year-old Palestinian-American girl is yelled at by a group of men. She has exposed her legs in a biblical city, an act they deem forbidden, and their judgement will echo on through her adolescence. When she admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother’s response only intensifies a sense of shame: “You exist too much,” she tells her daughter. This debut novel traces the protagonist’s progress from blushing teen to sought-after DJ and aspiring writer.

With Teeth

Sammie Lucas is caught in a struggle of wills with her cold and sullen son Samson.  Her wife, Monika, is largely absent. This is not the loving and queer future she dreamed of, but how does she even start to fix it? This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby and in eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

The New Life

Two marriages complicated by two homosexual affairs are the center of this novel, set in the summer of 1894 in London. The husbands in the marriages are writing a book about “inversion” – a term that was used for being gay. When Oscar Wilde is arrested for the crime of homosexuality, the two men have to decide whether to still publish or to choose safety.

Detransition, Baby

A loving and thoughtful exploration of family. When Reese and Amy separated, Amy detransitioned to Ames and is now in a relationship with his cis-gendered boss Katrina. When Katrina becomes pregnant with Ames’ baby, Ames, Katrina and Reese consider what an unconventional family could look like. Can they raise the baby together? This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

Skye, Falling

38-year-old Skye’s life is transformed when she meets a 12-year-old girl who was conceived from Skye’s egg donation – a girl whose aunt Skye made a failed pass at the other day.

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby. 

Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion

The Pakistani Muslim community in Queens in the 1980s is a culture unto itself. This is where Razia grows up, cherishing her close friendships with cousins and the rituals of her life. That is, until her adolescence uncovers part of her personality that puts her very self in conflict with the community that for so long has been home. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby and in eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

Surrender Your Sons

Connor Major and other queer teens trapped at a conversion therapy camp work together to escape–and expose the camp’s horrible truths. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Hoopla or as eAudio on Hoopla.