Stories that Reflect

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

We love fiction because it holds a mirror to humanity, but each mirror reflects something different. The titles spotlighted here are as varied in what they reflect and how they do it as are the authors who wrote the books.

  • Loveless

    2021 by Oseman, Alice

    Georgia finds herself completely surrounded by romance and sex, but she feels abnormal for not having any desire to have either. As she navigates her first year at university, she comes to understand herself as asexual, aromantic, and goes on a journey from self-loathing to self-loving. This book shines with its frank discussion of navigating one's identity, its messy, imperfect platonic love in friendships, and the wide array of LGBTQ+ representation. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item
  • Manywhere: Stories

    2022 by Thomas, Morgan

    A well-reviewed collection of nine stories "about queer, genderqueer, and trans characters seeking insight and actualization." Kirkus Reviews calls them "innovative stories that probe the ineluctable bond between storytelling and identity". Suggested by Chris.

    Get this item
  • The Prophets

    2021 by Jones, Robert

    What a beautiful love story about two young enslaved men on a southern plantation.Tthe author strikes a simply breathtaking balance among tenderness and brutality, spirituality and physicality, and celebration and grief. Suggested by Megan.

    Get this item
  • Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

    2021 by Austin, Emily R.

    “I am starting to doubt my atheism because this might be proof that God exists and hates me.” Gilda goes to a Catholic church in response to a flier she found advertising free therapy, and the priest mistakes her for an applicant for the open receptionist position. She is too nice to correct him, so she takes the job. But it becomes abundantly clear that maybe the job isn't the best fit for a twentysomething atheist and lesbian with an extreme anxiety disorder--a darkly funny and exceptionally quirky novel. Suggested by Becca.

    Get this item
  • Yerba Buena

    2022 by LaCour, Nina

    Nina LaCour's adult debut novel follows Sarah and Emilie who meet and instantly spark a connection at the restaurant Yerba Buena. Both characters are navigating the uncertainties of their early adulthood and their complicated pasts keep them apart. While both characters experience trauma and heartache, the book ends on a hopeful note. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item
  • Young Mungo

    2022 by Stuart, Douglas

    Douglas Stuart is a brilliant storyteller and he does not hold back in this heart-wrenching portrait of a young gay boy fighting to be his authentic self living in Glasgow. Kirkus describes this book as "romantic, terrifying, brutal, tender, and, in the end, sneakily hopeful." Suggested by Paul.

    Get this item
  • Detransition, Baby

    2020 by Peters, Torrey

    This exploration of unconventional family and trans femininity is “emotionally devastating, culturally specific, endlessly intelligent [and] really, really funny" (Autostraddle). Suggested by Allyson.

    Get this item
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

    2019 by Vuong, Ocean

    A novel steeped in feeling about a Vietnamese American young man, his relationship with his grandmother and sometimes abusive mother, his family trauma from the Vietnam War, and his awakening sexuality. Vuong is a published poet and literature professor, and the beautiful writing and the melancholy, outsider point of view make this a transformative read. Suggested by Lukie.

    Get this item
  • The Guncle

    2021 by Rowley, Steven

    Nerd Daily says it so well: “As hysterically funny as it is profound, The Guncle is the perfect summer read for anyone who’s looking for a good time with amazing characters without forfeiting deep and meaningful discussions that will feel like a balm to the soul for anyone who’s ever lost someone." Suggested by Allyson.

    Get this item
  • Milk Fed

    2021 by Broder, Melissa

    Samantha Irby calls this “Deeply hilarious and embarrassingly relatable.” Need a little more? Rachel is a lapsed Jew who has replaced religion with calorie counting when she meets Miriam, a young Orthodox Jewish purveyor of frozen yogurt who is intent on feeding Rachel. Time calls it “A thrilling examination of hunger, desire, faith, family and love." Suggested by Allyson.

    Get this item
  • All My Mother's Lovers

    2020 by Masad, Ilana

    It is said that we all become our mothers eventually, but what happens when your mother turns out to have an entire life you were never aware of that contradicts everything you knew of her? That’s the question Maggie Krause must face after her mother Iris—who struggled to accept Maggie’s queerness—suddenly passes away. Maggie discovers five letters that Iris has left to five lovers that Maggie had no awareness of and decides to hand-deliver them in hopes of learning who her mother truly was. Suggested by Becca.

    Get this item
  • You Exist Too Much

    2020 by Arafat, Zaina

    I couldn't find a better description than what Harper's Bazaar wrote: "Flashing between the protagonist’s childhood in the Middle East and her years as a 20-something DJ in Brooklyn, You Exist Too Much tells the story of a bisexual Palestinian-American girl whose romantic obsessions and self-destructive impulses lead her to an unconventional treatment center called The Ledge, where she must reckon with the traumas that she has inherited from the places and people who raised her." Suggested by Becca.

    Get this item
  • Romance in Marseille

    2020 by McKay, Claude

    Buried in the archive for almost 90 years, Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille traces the adventures of a rowdy troupe of dockworkers, prostitutes, and political organizers--collectively straight and queer, disabled and able-bodied, African, European, Caribbean, and American. Set largely in the culture-blending Vieux Port of Marseille at the height of the Jazz Age, the novel takes flight along with Lafala, an acutely disabled but abruptly wealthy West African sailor. Suggested by Chris.

    Get this item
  • Little Fish: A Novel

    2020 by Plett, Casey

    The winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, this novel follows Wendy, a trans Canadian woman navigating volatile friendships and relationships, who discovers a family secret that leads her to suspect her Mennonite grandfather may also have been trans. Suggested by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better

    2020 by Khorram, Adib

    Darius Kellner seems to be okay. He has everything he thought he wanted--a new boyfriend, a new internship, and a spot on the soccer team--but there is something nagging at him. This coming-of-age story addresses themes and topics like consent and toxic masculinity and beautifully handles Darius’ intersectional identity (gay, white, and Iranian). As we go on this journey with Darius we can loudly say with him that he absolutely deserves better. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item