Photo of One Last Stop, a book famous on BookTok.

Lesbophobic Comments on BookTok Prompted a Swift Response — and Some Great Book Recommendations

After lesbophobic BookTokers made their prejudices known, lesbians and allies alike came together to share their love of sapphic romance novels.
July 13, 2021
6 mins read

BookTok is a subculture on TikTok that focuses on book reviews and recommendations, and it can often be a hotbed of controversy. Recently, the novel “One Last Stop” was released and many accounts affiliated with BookTok rushed to review it — but not everyone was a fan.

The page is now shut down, but one BookTok user elected to pan the book because of the central sapphic storyline. They said, “I think the biggest reason I’m not a fan of ‘One Last Stop’ is that they’re lesbians.” This reaction caused a mass uproar.

Since then, many accounts have jumped to critique lesbophobia or offer up sapphic book recommendations. This is exciting because sapphic books have long been underrepresented in reading circles, chiefly because of the popularity of young adult fiction with young straight women, who, like the user who disliked “One Last Stop,” enjoy gay male relationships but are grossed out by lesbians or sapphic relationships in fiction. This can be seen with many forms of media, though it does seem to be especially pronounced in YA fiction.

It also appears in relation to shows targeted at young women, like in “Supernatural” where Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins’ characters were a fan favorite pairing but many hated Felicia Day’s character, who was a lesbian. Ultimately, the show opted away from making her a central player, perhaps because of the mixed response to her character. Then there’s the prevalence of boys’ love or yaoi manga and anime, which is especially well represented on fan fiction sites and Tumblr, while girls’ love or yuri anime and manga have far fewer followers.

There’s also the “Harry Potter” fandom, which created the pairing of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy but often struggled with how to regard the female characters. Hermione as a main character escaped most of the fandom’s ire but Ginny, who was straight but intruded on fans’ ships, did not.

All of this makes the reaction of many BookTok accounts exciting — suddenly sapphic readers and allies have a new wealth of books where, previously, it was hard to source more recently published stories. Some popular recommendations are as follows:

She Drives Me Crazy

A sporty high school romance featuring the enemies-to-lovers trope. The recommendation appeared on multiple accounts but was first seen here and is available for purchase here.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

A fairytale-inspired YA novel with a protagonist destined or doomed to escape her dull life. Recommendation first found here but it appeared on multiple accounts. Available for purchase here.

Trouble Girls

A road trip gone wrong and a romance in the midst of difficult circumstances. Note: Sexual assault is a part of the book. Recommendation here. Available for purchase here.

Who I Was With Her

The loss of a secret girlfriend prompts this book’s protagonist toward a deeper understanding and acceptance of herself with a chance at new love. Note: difficult topics such as death and alcoholism. Recommendation here. Available for purchase here.

The Girl from the Sea

A beautiful graphic novel about a young subaquatic romance with a retold folk tale shaping the story. Recommendation here. Can be purchased here.

She’s Too Pretty to Burn

A gay thriller with an electric romance and nods to classic lit. Recommendation here. Can be purchased here.


A sapphic retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” with a forbidden romance. Recommended here. Available for purchase here.

Girls of Paper and Fire

A richly developed fantasy tale with a burningly passionate affair. Recommended here and for purchase here.

You Should See Me in a Crown

A classic high school romance with a plucky lead and a tricky love interest. Recommendation from here but appeared on multiple lists and for purchase here.

Music From Another World

Set in 1977, a young romance blooms in the face of anti-gay sentiment in America. Recommendation from here and available for purchase here.

Written in the Stars

An astrological romance featuring opposites that attract with charming nods to classic lit. Recommended here but appeared on multiple lists and for purchase here.

Honey Girl

An accidental romance with 20-something leads growing toward adulthood. Recommended here and for purchase here.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Seeped in Hollywood glamor, this book is a beautifully tragic tale of secret love. Recommendation from here and available for purchase here.

Cinderella is Dead

A retelling of the fairytale with fantasy trappings and a system ready to be overthrown. Recommended here and can be purchased here.

Wilder Girls

A horror novel with a sapphic romance that requires a departure from safety. Recommended here and for purchase here.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A fantasy read with interlacing stories told by women fighting for and against their destinies. Recommendation from here and for purchase here.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

A classic fake dating to real feelings high school romance with the bonus of the opposites-attract trope. Recommended here and can be purchased here.

And, of course, the book that started the controversy: “One Last Stop

A romance that is almost supernatural, set in the subway. Can be purchased here.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. A few unfortunate reviews seem to have awoken a mob of sapphic reviewers and allies ready with all the books your romantic soul could desire. While the outpouring of support certainly does not erase the issues present in BookTok and various fandoms, it is reassuring to see. Here’s to a summer reading list Sappho would approve!

L.R. Staples, Sarah Lawrence College

Writer Profile

L.R. Staples

Sarah Lawrence College
Creative Writing

LR Staples is a rising junior at Sarah Lawrence College. She loves dogs, fresh laundry and feminist horror books. Her writing process involves looking pensive and scrolling through autocorrect options.

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