F/F Recommendations #1 – Contemporary

Hi everyone! Once again on book Twitter we are seeing some “drama” surrounding the supposed lack of f/f books that are out there and once again I feel like it is my job to shout about them more! The problem is not that there aren’t any out there and it’s not that people aren’t talking about them (although it does mainly seem to be wlw who are the ones talking about them) it’s just that some readers are trying to justify their not reading them which is really frustrating for those of us who do read and love these books! There are so many amazing f/f books out there and, as much as I could spend all day gushing about Girls of Paper and Fire and The Priory of the Orange Tree (two of my favourite books!) I decided to dedicate a series of posts to talking about some of my favourite lesser talked about f/f books and hopefully there will be at least one that piques your interest!

Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss

Elena Mendez has always been career-first; with only two semesters of law school to go, her dream of working as a family lawyer for children is finally within reach. She can’t afford distractions. She doesn’t have time for love. And she has no idea how much her life will change, the day she lends her notes to Cora McLaughlin. A freelance writer and MBA student, Cora is just as career-driven as Elena. But over weeks in the library together, they discover that as strong as they are apart, they’re stronger together. Through snowstorms and stolen moments, through loneliness and companionship, the two learn they can weather anything as long as they have each other–even a surprise visit from Elena’s family.

Learning Curves is a really quick, adorable novella that is perfect for when you’re in a reading slump. Elena and Cora’s relationship is so sweet and the novella has some really great representation (the mc is a fat latina lesbian and the love interest is pan and ace)! There’s also a sequel of sorts called Wrapped Up In You which is a Christmas novella and both of them are available on Kindle Unlimited!

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

This is a coming out novel, and I know for a lot of people they may be well past coming out novels (I know I am!) but I can wholeheartedly say that this is one of the best coming out novels (how many times can I say that in one paragraph!) that I have ever read! There are a whole host of LGBT characters in here and a touch of philosophy too, if that’s something that interests you. If you can read this whilst on a plane journey, I highly recommend doing so!

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

This is a slightly more heartbreaking read (with a whole host of trigger warnings), so I think that it is important to be in the right headspace while reading this novel, however I definitely think it is a must read! Although Rukhsana deals with a lot of homophobia from her family there are some really heartwarming friendships and family relationships in this novel that really made me tear up and one of my favourite aspects of the novel was the food references – everything in this book made my mouth water! I highly recommend picking this up if you’re looking for an f/f novel that’s less US/Western-centric.

All the Worlds Between Us by Morgan Lee Miller

Seventeen-year-old Quinn Hughes needs to be in top shape if she wants to medal at the swimming World Championships in ten months. This means no easy distractions, no matter how pretty they are. She’s still piecing her confidence back together after not qualifying for the Olympics, her relationship with her twin brother is getting worse the more he hangs out with the popular kids, and then Kennedy Reed suddenly squeezes herself back into Quinn’s life. The girl who was her best friend. The girl who gave Quinn her first kiss. The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since. Soon, Quinn finds herself juggling her new girlfriend, training for the biggest competition of her life, and discovering she’s not the only Hughes twin with a crush on Kennedy Reed. All these distractions are getting to her, and if she wants that medal she needs to find a way to stop drowning on dry land.

I was so lucky to be able to read an arc of this book through Netgalley before it was released and I can honestly say it’s in my top 3 contemporary f/f novels! It’s one of the most realistic f/f novels I’ve read (teen wlw wanting and having sex is not something we see often and was dealt with so well in here) and has one of the best endings I’ve read in a contemporary novel. The sequel is coming out this year and I can’t wait to get my hands on it alongside Morgan Lee Miller’s other novel, Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things, which is another f/f novel about a girl in a band dealing with loss and her growing music career!

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

This is another book that I was lucky enough to get an arc copy of through Netgalley and was another hidden gem! Both authors are well known for writing LGBT books but this one seems to have slipped under the radar a little. Although David Levithan’s writing doesn’t really click with me I love Nina LaCour’s sections and overall this is an excellent, light, Summer read that really captures the feeling of going to your first Pride and falling in love with a girl for the first time!

Although contemporary is not my favourite genre I hope that this gave you a few more books to add to your TBR pile! These are only books that I have read and I’m always looking for new recommendations so feel free to leave some in a comment! Next time I think I’ll start to tackle some fantasy recommendations as that is my favourite genre! Until my next post, stay safe and keep reading f/f books!

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