6/19/2020 – New adds: Out of Salem, Gender Queer, and Orlando.
Message from the list owner: If this list seems to be growing very slowly (and occasionally shrinking), there’s a good reason. Unfortunately, much of the non-binary representation out there is either harmful or the author (most often someone who is not non-binary) simply gets it wrong. This is especially true when the non-binary main character is also pansexual/bisexual or lives in what could be considered from the outside to be a heterosexual relationship. Approximately 1/2 of the works suggested to me are unacceptable for one or more reasons and additional 25% are already on my lengthy rejects list. All told and unfortunately, approximately 1/3 of the suggestions find their way onto the list.
The List Defined: The Enby Book List contains reads with non-binary (enby, NB, or genderqueer) protagonists who are painted/ presented/ written in a positive light. Whether the non-binary character is painted in a positive light is at the sole discretion of the list owner and is not up for discussion or debate.
This list does not contain side-character, secondary (with a few noted exceptions) or token enby character works. Nor does it contain works with non-binary characters who see the “error” of their ways and decide to “fly straight.” These non-binary characters take the lead and stay there.
The Enby Book List is divided into four parts
- Fiction by non-binary identifying authors (#ownvoices works)
- Fiction by other authors
- Nonfiction and Poetry Collections with a non-binary focus by non-binary identifying authors (#ownvoices works)
- Nonfiction and Poetry Collections with a non-binary focus by other authors
Here’s the generic definition from dictionary.com:
“noting or relating to a person with a gender identity or sexual orientation that does not fit into the male/female or heterosexual/homosexual divisions”
And here are some links to better explain what it means to be non-binary (though at its core, the non-binary identity is anything but one size fits all):
Ten Things to Remember Before Adding a Non-Binary Character to Your Story (list owner written)
Why make this list?
For two reasons – 1) The list owner has been repeatedly asked about enby books by readers, and 2) She/they have had difficulty finding titles that align with her/their own Appalachian Elementals series, which has an enby protagonist.
This will not be a list entirely of works the list owner has read or reviewed. This will be based on works she/they have read and closely-examined recommendations from authors and readers alike. The entires will read as follows:
Series. author. genre. [notes]
- Title (with link if available). place in series [notes]
- Title (with link if available). place in series [notes]
– or –
Title (with link if available). author. [notes including genre]
Want to make a suggestion for the list? Please scroll to the bottom of the page for more information.
THE ENBY BOOK LIST
Non-Binary Fiction by Non-Binary Authors (#ownvoices)
The Appalachian Elementals Series. Jeanne G’Fellers. Contemporary/ Paranormal Fantasy with Magic Realism elements.
- Cleaning House. #1 [list owner’s original work, enby-pansexual protagonist CW: mental illness (not protagonist), minor instance of homophobia, on and off-page violence.]
- Keeping House. #2 [list owner’s original work, enby-pansexual protagonist, numerous enby secondary characters, CW: depiction of mental illness including on-page psychosis; minor instance of homophobia; discussion of cutting and self-harm; discussion of rape and murder (in past), on and off-page violence]
- Striking Balance: The Peculiar Making of Beatrice Benjamin Sophia Scott Schnell Gow. #3 (prequel/ side tale) Release date July 21, 2020 [list owner’s original work; 18th-century Colonial Era American Historical Dark Fantasy; magic realism, nonbinary-intersex-bisexual protagonist; romantic elements; multiple LGBTQ side characters including genderfluid, transgender, and polyamory; CW: violence, incident of deadnaming]
- Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree. [list owner’s original work, holiday season novella, enby-pansexual protagonist CW: mental illness (not protagonist)]
The Ardulum Series. J. S. Fields. Science Fiction.
Autonomous. Annalee Newitz. [Science Fiction. Cyberpunk. Genderqueer/ possibly trans artificial intelligence (AI)]
A Boy Called Cin. Cecil Wilde. [Transgender and non-binary main characters]
The Chameleon Moon series. RoAnna Sylver.[ Dystopian Science Fiction. [trans, non-binary, disability, poly]
Cigarettes & Wine. E. Sumerau. [tragic, but not for nonbinary character]
“Dear Sis.” Matt Doyle. Science Fiction. [Roar Volume 9: Resist anthology, short story, genderfluid, furry, fox]
Defying Convention. Cecil Wilde. [novella, AFAB non-binary person in a straight-passing relationship, cute and sweet]
Desires Entwined series. Tempeste O’Riley.
- Temptations of Desire. #3 [genderfluid gay male protagonist, cute-n-fluffy]
- Truth in Lace. #3.5 [short work of 32 pgs, genderfluid male]
Faithfully Yours Series. A.M. Leibowitz. Literary/ Slice of Life Fiction.
- Passing on Faith. #1 [Romance, M/Genderqueer]
- Walking by Faith. #2 [Romance, M/Genderqueer]
- Keeping the Faith. #3 [list owner recommendation, and review, MM, trans, Romance]
- Leaps of Faith. [list owner recommendation, and review, short story collection, wide representation]
Documenting Light. E.E. Ottoman. Trans/NonbinaryContemporary Romance with a historical edge.
The Gray Fisher Series. Debbie McGowan. MM Crime Fiction.
- The WAG and the Scoundrel. #1 [enby character not MC but pivotal to the story]
- Tabula Rasa. #2 [enby character from novel #1 continued, again, not central, but this is a series so it’s listed]
“How to Trick a Trickster.” Fool for You Anthology. Ava Kelly. Urban Fantasy, poly, genderfluid, MM.
I Wish You All the Best. Mason Deaver. YA. Contemporary. Romance.
Life Underwater. Matthew Metzger. Transgender, Romance, Multi-Cultural, genderfluid, Ace [CW: racism, prejudice, religion, homophobia]
The Lijun Series. Angel Martinez & Freddie MacKay (listed under Non-Binary Works Other Authors because one author does not identify as non-binary)
Long Macchiatos and Monsters. Allison Evans. [NB/Trans Romance, short novella]
LUNAV. Jenn Polish. [YA Fantasy]
A Kiss Is a Kiss Is a Kiss. Destiny Moon. [list owner pending read, novella, Romance, non-binary AFAB person]
The Making of Us. Debbie McGowan. Checking Him out #4. [list owner recommendation. intersex/non-binary love interest]
Meanwhile Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. edited by Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett. [anthology, speculative fiction by trans authors, includes trans, non-binary stories]
Of the Bauble. Debbie McGowan. [list owner read and recommended, review to follow, YA, biromantic/non-binary Fantasy Romance]
Powersurge. Sara Codair. [list owner read and reviewed, NA Fantasy, CW: mental illness, abuse, attempted sexual assault, bullying, on page self-harm (cutting), suicidal ideation, on page gore and violence]
Speedbump. Charli Coty. [Bi/MM Romance w/ AFAB protag]
Sweet, Echoing Howl. N.K. Layne. [Shifter Fantasy, trans, genderqueer short story]
The Tensorate Series. J. Y. Yang. Epic Science Fiction.
Uncovering Ray – Edie Danford [M-Enby romance, NA, noted as angsty in reviews]
We are the Catalyst. Tash McAdams. [list owner read. The Psionics Book 2, YA Dystopian Science Fiction]
What it Looks Like. Matthew Metzger. [Trans MC, noted as angsty in some reviews, CW: BDSM, Erotica, Family Issues]
Non-Binary Stories by Other Authors
“Clara.”Hans M. Hirschi. [list owner recommendation, short story]
Dali’. E. M. Hamill. Space Opera Science Fiction.
Every Day. David Levithan. [arguably not exactly non-binary, but the MC inhabits a new body every day and really has no set gender]
Fan the Embers. Cynthia Kimball [Science Fiction. Male/NB Romance?]
Flotilla: The Temp. (Flotilla #3) Erik Schubach. [Romance. Lesbian. Non-binary character Reid]
Goblinheart: A Fairy Tale. Brett Axel.
Imperial Radch Trilogy. Ann Lecke. Science Fiction. [alien, non-binary society w/ only one pronoun – she, ambiguous gender of main character throughout series]
Journey to the Top of the Nether. William C. Tracy. [mid-grades SF, steampunk, alien world, non-binary species, perhaps not a non-binary lead character, but mid-grade titles with positively portrayed non-binary characters are rare]
The Left Hand of Darkness. Ursula K. Le Guin. Hainish Cycle #4 [list owner recommendation, classic Science Fiction, gender-changing aliens, non-binary based society seen through the eyes of a cis male. Perhaps not technically an enby read but a definite early dive into the question of whether gender is a necessity.]
The Lijun Book Series. Angel Martinez & Freddie MacKay. Multicultural Shifter Fantasy Romance. (Freddie MacKay identifies as non-binary)
- Fireworks and Stolen Kisses. #1 [M/nonbinary romance]
- Trysts and Burning Embers. #2 [M/nonbinary romance, bisexual]
Lilith’s Brood. Octavia Butler. [list owner recommendation, Xenogenesis trilogy in one cover, Science Fiction, alien race w/ third-gender (the Ooloi) who serve as healers, make breeding selections, and assure sexual pleasure; a complex examination of gender diversity within a society, the Ooli characters are not protagonists until book 3, but they play a pivotal role in the series.]
Mask of the Shadows Series. Linsey Miller. [YA, Dark Fantasy]
A New Year on Vega III: A Holiday to Remember. Siri Paulson. [Science Fiction Romance, genderqueer, short story]
Only See You. J.D. Chambers. Only Colorado #2. [Non-Binary AMAB MC, Romance, shelved under Transgender, Bisexual, and Gay Fiction on Amazon]
Orlando. Virginia Woolf. (First published 1928 and often seen as a nonbinary if not transgender story due to its focus on a character who changes genders from male to female then lives for centuries. Often defined and studied as a feminist, queer, and/or transgender text.)
Out of Salem. Hal Shrieve. YA Zombie Fiction.
Pantomime. Laura Lam. Strange Chemistry Book One. YA, fantasy, intersex and Bi MC, circus, steampunk, struggle w/ dual identity (this gave the list owner pause, but it’s included until they read it and know for certain)]
Quiver. Julia Watts. [YA, Binary female MC and NB MC named Zo who goes by hir/her, examination of differences and beliefs between families, CW: fundamentalist Christianity, misogyny, homophobia, and domestic violence]
The Seeds of Dissolution. William C. Tracy. [Sci-Fantasy, part of series, do not know if other stories contain non-binary characters. MC himself isn’t nonbinary, but he is bi, genderfluid, and possibly poly. Contains a plethora of non-binary aliens of different sorts. CW: mental illness]
Starless. Jacqueline Carey. [Enby MC, Historical Fantasy.]
Wallflower. Heidi Belleau. [M/Genderqueer. Romance.]
Nonfiction Works and Poetry Collections with a Non-Binary Focus by Non-Binary Identifying Authors (#ownvoices)
Gender Failure. Ivan Coyote & Rae Spoon. Memoir, gender studies, a collection of short works about trying to fit into the gender binary that the authors call gender failures, based on-stage performance.
Gender Queer: A Memoir. Maia Kobabe. Autobiographical comic.
Just Your Average Guy. Jason Paul. Memoir, cross-dressing, genderfluid.
Acronyms & Shortened Words used on the Enby Book List
Ace – asexual
AFAB – assigned female at birth
AMAB – assigned male at birth
Aro – aromantic
BDSM – bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism
Bi – bisexual
CW – Content Warning
Enby – non-binary
FF – lesbian relationship
FTM – female to male transgender
GNC – gender non-conforming
MC – main character
MM – gay male relationship
MMF – two males/ one female (sometimes called triad) relationship
MTF – male to female transgender
NA – new adult
NB – non-binary
Pan – pansexual
Poly – polyamorous
Protag – protagonist
Trans – transgender
TW – trigger warning
YA – young adult fiction
The Enby Book List Vetting Process
One or more of the following must happen for a work to appear on the Enby Book List:
- List owner has personally read the work.
- A recommendation has come from a trusted source.
- The list owner has vetted a recommended work…
- And the blurb and multiple reviews discuss the non-binary content (must be MC) as favorable representation
- Or, if the non-binary content (must be MC) is not included in the blurb for whatever reason, multiple reviews must discuss the non-binary content as favorable representation.
Want to Make a Suggestion for The Enby Book List? All suggestions are vetted before they’re added so yours may or may not make the list. This is at the list owner’s sole discretion. Suggestions can be made via this site’s contact page but please note that hate won’t receive any response. The list owner refuses to feed self-absorbed narcissistic dumpster fires. If someone doesn’t agree, they can exit on the same path they entered on (or from where I come from… Bless your heart. Don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good lord split ya’). That said, if someone persists or makes threats, their information will be compiled and forwarded to the proper authorities.
(NOTE: While the entries on this list widely link to Amazon, the list owner is not an associate and makes no profit from sales of anything other than her/their original works. By all means, purchase wherever you wish, in whatever available format you prefer. This list is purely informational.)