So, we’re back with more discourse about f/f books. It’s been… a month or so since our last one, where m/m authors said they weren’t “interested” in writing f/f. Apparently, not only does f/f not exist but now no one has ever hyped it up ever! THAT’S NOT ALL! Apparently, f/f that doesn’t focus on coming out isn’t a thing, despite me reading about 100 books that prove that statement wrong.
I’m writing this post mainly because saying f/f books get no hype is 100% diminishing what myself and so many other bloggers I follow do: hype up f/f and recommend them. It’s incredibly disheartening to see hundreds of people in the book community say things like this when you know for yourself it’s false, and you try your hardest to recommend f/f. I don’t know how many f/f recommendations posts I have to make to get y’all to just fucking read one.
I want to get one thing out of the way first. Even if you don’t read the rest of this post, acknowledge this: we hype up f/f. We recommend f/f. We tell you f/f books with tropes you ask for. We make lists for f/f books. We dedicate blogs to f/f books. We retweet/reblog/repost/discuss f/f books constantly. YOU DON’T LISTEN. YOU. DON’T. LISTEN.
Disclaimer: if there is something that prevents you from reading f/f, like a disability or you can’t afford to purchase books, this post isn’t about you. I completely understand how you might only be able to read audiobooks and you can’t afford them, your library doesn’t buy them, or you just can’t focus on them. If you’re a teen and can’t borrow/buy f/f books because you don’t want to be outed to your family: WE GET YOU. YOU’RE VALID. THIS POST ISN’T ABOUT YOU. This post is about the people who consistently complain about an apparent lack of f/f, when it 100% exists and they ignore it.
There are a lot of things I want to discuss in this post, but I think the most obvious thing is: you worship shoddy m/m representation from cishet female writers, but call all f/f “underdeveloped” and ask for it on a similar level. I’m sorry, but since when was Simon x Baz from Carry On, Adam x Ronan from The Raven Cycle, and whoever they are from The Foxhole Court good representation? When were they good LGBT+ or m/m representation? Tell me. I would like to know. I want to know why you want f/f representation on a similar level to them when they were never good in the first place. It doesn’t shock me that the authors writing these m/m relationships everyone wants “f/f versions of” are incredibly racist and have been called out on their disgusting representation of Asian people in the past.
Y’all will exalt the absolute bare minimum for m/m relationships, but think every f/f couple is underdeveloped. All f/f couples are powerful, you just can’t find a way to fetishize them and call them your “smol precious lil beans”.
Popular m/m books written by women even say shit like “gay girls have it easier” (cough Simon VS The Homosapien’s Agenda cough) because men can fetishize them, but you’re blatantly ignoring the way you treat MLM in the exact same way. If you’re disgusted by women loving women, but think men loving men is adorable, I don’t know what to fucking tell you.
Let’s say something even more controversial: the only f/f you pay attention to is problematic. The f/f book I think everyone alive has read, but I won’t state the name, has appalling bisexual representation. However, it’s on every single “f/f recommendation” list by people who don’t read f/f often. The people I know who constantly recommend f/f hated the book or don’t recommend it at all. Book Twitter even hypes up YA contemporaries that have the worst representation I’ve ever seen. Ableism, toxic relationships romanticized, racism, and treating the WLW characters like shit? Check.
Another significant issue within the book community is you’ll hype up an f/f book for months before its release, then no one reads it when it comes out. Most recently, this was a problem for Tell Me How You Really Feel. People wouldn’t shut up about the book for months since it’s like an alternative version of Rory and Paris from Gilmore Girls, but barely anyone who talked about it read it. They just let the hype die down so they could ignore it. Before Her Royal Highness came out, everyone was excited for the “lesbian princesses” – first of all, one of them is a commoner and bisexual. Everyone compared it to Red White and Royal Blue and said they were excited about it, but they didn’t read it. It definitely has a bit of hype since I’ve seen it around, but it’s nowhere near as polarising as the m/m book it was compared to. Red White and Royal Blue almost has 20,000 ratings on Goodreads, Her Royal Highness has 2,000. Tell Me How You Really Feel doesn’t even have 700.
Should we go even further? The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum had considerable hype on Twitter prior to its release, and it has 500 ratings. It released in MARCH 2019 and it only has FIVE HUNDRED RATINGS. Red White and Royal Blue published in MAY 2019 and it has TWENTY THOUSAND RATINGS. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon was another polarising release this year, and it hasn’t even garnered more than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan was published in November 2018 and only has 14,000 ratings. It may seem like a lot, but m/m books released two months ago have double that. Should we get into how Tell Me How You Really Feel, The Weight of the Stars, and Girls of Paper and Fire are all written by women of colour? Why are y’all worshipping the ground of cishet white female authors* writing m/m, but won’t give an ounce of attention to women of colour writing qu**r women of colour?
*Yes, I know Red White and Royal Blue is written by a bi author and I don’t hate the book at all, I just think the comparison of the way the book community will buy m/m in hoards but don’t care a bit about f/f new releases is irritating. The cishet was in reference to the m/m couples referenced at the beginning of this post.
If this doesn’t infuriate you, I don’t know what to tell you. Just click off my blog and never follow me on another platform again.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but in order for something to have hype, you have to read it. If you sit around and act like f/f books don’t exist, then no one reads it, and they get no hype. You’re directly contributing to the issue.
I’d also like to point out: we absolutely, without a doubt, completely do hype up f/f. YOU. DON’T. LISTEN. TO. US. I’m not even talking about myself in this statement.
Off the top of my head, here are some bloggers who I know talk about/hype/review f/f books:
- Charlotte // Tea Leaf Reads // Reads Rainbows (literally has 9023902392 threads on Twitter recommending f/f, runs a blog dedicated to LGBT+ books, and constantly gives out recommendations)
- Anna // Reads Rainbows // Reading Peaches
- Dahlia Adler // their books // LGBTQ Reads // LGBTQ Reads on Tumblr
- Elise // The Bookish Actress
- Thi // @roguewonder on Twitter // f/f book recommendations thread
- Jami // Jami Shelves
- Acqua // Acquadimore
- Jess // Crowing About Books
- Ngoc // Read With Ngoc
- Lex Kent on Goodreads
- Michelle // Magical Reads
- Shri // Sun and Chai
- Natasha // Sapphic Solace
- Iam on Goodreads
- Mina Reads // Booktube
- Alice on Goodreads
- Andrew on Goodreads
THESE ARE ALL PEOPLE I FOLLOW OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. Google “lesbian book blogs” and you’ll get endless links to blogs dedicated to reviewing lesbian books. I don’t ever want to hear that we don’t hype up f/f books. We read, review, recommend, and share them. You don’t read them.
I don’t want to be self-serving in this post at all, but I have done a few posts hyping up f/f books in the past (especially to address discourse like this):
- Sapphic Sunday #9 (I mean, I literally have a series hyping up f/f books I’ve read recently)
- Ranking The 110 WLW Books I’ve Read (So Far)
- LGBT Graphic Novel Recommendations #1
- (Mainly) M/F Romance Authors Who Also Write F/F
- Sapphic Book Recommendations: The Fantasy/Paranormal Edition #1
And, since f/f is so hard to find, let’s do a quick search on various websites to see if that statement is true!
- “F/F Paranormal and Urban Fantasy”
- “Lesbian Books Happy Endings”
- “Lesbian and F/F BDSM”
- “2016 F/F SFF with HEA or HFN”
- “Best Teen Lesbian Books with Happy Endings”
- “True Femme/Femme Romance”
- “Lesbian Fiction on Kindle Unlimited”
- “Best 2018 F/F Releases”
- “f/f” tag // LGBTQ Reads
- “Tara’s Top 15 F/F Books of 2018” // The Lesbian Review
- “Five (Somewhat) Forgotten Books Featuring F/F Relationships”
- “8 Fake Relationship F/F Romances”
- “Book Lists! F/F SFF titles!”
- “f/f romance” tag // Smart Bitches Trashy Books
- “8 Lesbian Romance Novels That Will Get You Hooked on the Genre”
- “20 BOOKS THAT PUT THE F/F IN SF/F” // Feliza Casano for Book Riot
I’m not going to link because you can already see them there. Just scroll through for yourself.
- Childhood Friends to Lovers Recs
- Diverse F/F SFF
- Jewish WLW
- Oh Look, More Recs
- High Fantasy WLW Recs
Just… ask someone?
If you looked at LGBTQ Read’s Tumblr, Dahlia Adler answers asks looking for specific recommendations. If you’re struggling to find something, literally just send her an ask. I definitely have. You can even ask her anonymously if you’re like me and hate messaging people.
I also included the links of people’s Twitters above, so I’m sure they’d be accommodating if you messaged/tweeted them asking for recommendations. Though, I understand if messaging people isn’t something you’re into, so – like I said – send asks to LGBTQ Reads on Tumblr.
Consequently, f/f books exist and people hyping them up exist, but people don’t read them. And if no one reads the f/f books we recommend, then they garner no hype. It’s not a hard concept to grasp.
Before you complain about the apparent lack of f/f, please just do a simple Google search or ask one of the people I mentioned earlier. If you message me on Goodreads asking for a rec, I could give you dozens. I love giving out f/f recommendations. Complaining does nothing.
Now, if I may recommend you some f/f books with less than 2,000 ratings that you’ll probably ignore, but I will literally beat your door down and force you to read it since y’all want to complain that no f/f books exist or hype up something before release date then never pull through and actually read it:
*My main genre is romance and contemporary and these are only recommendations that don’t have a lot of ratings on Goodreads. I’ve included “not a coming out story” on almost all of these because discourse on Twitter also stated that we apparently have no f/f romances that aren’t about coming out.
- Colorblind by Siera Maley: YA contemporary & magical realism, #ownvoices author, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake: Middle-Grade contemporary, not a coming out story
- Dress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens: YA contemporary, coming of age, bisexual mc
- The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum: black lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- By Any Other Name by Natasha West: lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow: lesbian mc, not a coming out story
- Real Love by Natasha West: Adult contemporary, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed: Adult contemporary: pan mc, demi mc, #ownvoices, not a coming out story
- Anyone But You by Chelsea M. Cameron: Adult contemporary, lesbian mc, wlw li, #ownvoices author, not a coming out story
- Wicked Sweet by Chelsea M. Cameron: NA contemporary, lesbian mc’s, #ownvoices author, not a coming out story
- The Rules of Love by Cara Malone: NA contemporary, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake: Middle Grade contemporary
- Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi: YA contemporary, not a coming out story
- Out on Good Behaviour by Dahlia Adler: NA contemporary: pan mc, lesbian li, not a coming out story
- On the Outside by Siera Maley: YA contemporary, bisexual mc, lesbian li, #ownvoices author
- The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling: Adult, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power: YA horror, thriller, qu**r mc’s, #ownvoices author, not a coming out story
- After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: lesbian mc, bisexual love interest, not a coming out story. READ THIS BOOK OR I WILL LITERALLY PUNCH YOU. HOW DOES IT ONLY HAVE 100 RATINGS?
- Chase Me by Natasha West: Adult thriller, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- Meet You At The End of the World by Natasha West: Adult apocalyptic, lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
Fantasy and Sci Fi
- Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner: YA, paranormal, Pacific Islander MC, sapphic romance, not a coming out story
- Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist: YA paranormal, WLW mc’s, not a coming out story. I SWEAR TO GOD IF Y’ALL DON’T READ THIS RIGHT THIS SECOND
- Crier’s War by Nina Varela: YA fantasy/dystopian, lesbian mc’s, #ownvoices author, not a coming out story
- The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin: YA fantasy, not a coming out story
- The Plus One by Natasha West: lesbian mc, bisexual mc, not a coming out story
- Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron: forgot the representation, not a coming out story
- A Marriage of Connivance by Natasha West: lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- The A to Z of Girlfriends by Natasha West: lesbian mc’s, not a coming out story
- Close Ups and Fuck Ups by Natasha West: lesbian love triangle, not a coming out story
- Smut Peddler by Various Artists: literally every sexuality and gender identity is represented, not a coming out story
- Waves by Ingrid Chabbert: lesbian couple, not a coming out story
- The Avant-Guards by Carly Usdin: WLW mc’s, not a coming out story