This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features sapphic books about characters who were either adopted or grew up in the foster system.
Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge
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15 sapphic books about characters who were adopted or grew up in foster care
I put together a list of 15 sapphic books about characters who were adopted or grew up in the foster system. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
Heart Trouble by Jae
Dr. Hope Finlay loves her job as an emergency room physician, especially since it allows her only brief encounters with her patients. She learned early in life not to get attached to anyone because it never lasts.
Laleh Samadi, a waitress at her aunt’s restaurant, is the exact opposite. She easily connects with people and loves her big, boisterous Persian family, despite their tendency to meddle in her life.
When Laleh needs to be rushed to the ER with heart trouble, Hope saves her life. Afterwards, strange things begin to occur: Why does Laleh suddenly know even the most obscure diseases, while Hope is fluent in Farsi?
Soon, they can no longer deny that there’s a mysterious connection between them—one that becomes stronger with each passing day.
Are they losing their minds…or their hearts?
Year of the Monsoon by Caren Werlinger
Leisa Yeats has always defined herself by the things that are important to her – a good family, a loving relationship and a meaningful job working with kids. Life is good. But within a span of a few weeks, all of that changes. She’s always known she was adopted, but newly revealed lies and secrets kept by her parents make her question everything she thought she knew about her beginnings. Her ten-year relationship with her partner, Nan, is unexpectedly on shaky ground when she discovers that Nan, too, has kept a secret from her all these years.
Suddenly, everything Leisa believed – about her life, about the people around her, about herself – everything is turned upside down, and nothing is as she thought it was. Pulling away to try and sort things out, Leisa reaches out to the wrong people and, in the process, nearly loses herself. Buffeted at every turn by storms that shake the very foundation of her world, Leisa must figure out whom and what she can hold fast to as the winds of change blow.
Words Unsaid (Book 5 in the Shaken series) by KG MacGregor
As parents, Anna and Lily’s guiding principle is to help their children reach their potential and capture their dreams. Ten-year-old Eleanor is a STEM whiz already building apps for her mobile phone, while her twin brother Georgie is climbing the youth tennis rankings in Southern California. Andy continues his love affair with cars, but his dream is threatened when Anna decides to sell her empire of dealerships and move on to her next career challenge.
At her wits’ end with sixteen-year-old Andy, Anna can’t fathom how he got to be so strong-willed and stubborn. Lily has a pretty good idea, but she’s mostly keeping those thoughts to herself. Now a family court judge, her experience playing peacemaker is coming in handy at home.
What they need is a family vacation, a chance to draw closer and reaffirm their love for one another. Those plans are suddenly upended when Andy goes missing.
When Sparks Fly by Kristen Zimmer
The room is dark, except for the streetlights coming through the blinds. I can barely see her, but I feel her. She pushes me up against the wall and we kiss harder than we ever have before. I’ve been waiting so long for it to happen, and finally, it’s going to. Then the bedroom door flies open, and someone screams her name…
Britton Walsh has never had a home. After a lifetime in the care system, she doesn’t expect she’ll ever find one. But beginning her senior year with new foster parents in a new city, means starting over yet again. Tom and Cate Cahill seem okay. The hitch? Their daughter, Avery.
Beautiful, popular and cool, Avery is everything Britton is not. She’s all Britton could ever ask for in a sister, or even a friend––but having survived without either for so long, Britton knows the way her heart races whenever Avery enters the room can only mean one thing…
But Avery has a secret. Something that is eating away at her and stopping her letting anyone in, least of all Britton. Will Avery’s insistence on punishing herself for a mistake in her past make Britton’s last year of high school, and finding a place to call home, impossible? Can two such different people ever find common ground, friendship, or maybe even something more?
Bloodring by Mildred Gail Digby
Lark Greenpool became a Guardian at just the wrong time. A forbidden artifact known as a Bloodring has been awoken. It released a malevolent energy that threatens to destroy the barrier that protects Lark’s world from the Outside and it’s the Guardians’ job to put it right.
Help arrives in the form of an ambassador from the Ringsworn, the people who made the Bloodring. Violet Ironwrought is prickly, most likely very dangerous, dislikes everyone, and is completely fascinating to Lark. After a rocky start, friendship blossoms between the two women, and slowly grows into something much more than that.
When circumstances threaten to separate them, Lark has to decide where her loyalties lie, and what she is willing to risk to protect not only herself, but the woman who has become the most important part of her life.
Inked with a Kiss by Jennie Davids
Sometimes everything you shouldn’t want is exactly what you need.
Tattoo artist Jamie Winston is used to caring for others. Between her assistant manager position at a tattoo parlor, single-parenting her twelve-year-old daughter, and supporting her alcoholic parents, Jamie rarely prioritizes her own needs—unless Sierra Clark is in her chair. The bubbly, younger woman somehow manages to make Jamie feel like the carefree teenager she never got to be, making anything seem possible.
For Sierra, time with Jamie is a much-needed escape. She takes her work as a social worker seriously, but with budget cuts threatening her job, there’s a lot riding on the fundraiser she’s planning with Jamie. The fact that it means working closely with the sexy, older tattooist is a bonus—a deliciously tempting bonus. Sierra isn’t one for relationships, but she’s never felt such a strong desire to mix business with pleasure.
Sizzling chemistry quickly erodes Jamie’s fears of being too old for Sierra, but navigating a romance with someone who’s at such a different stage in life is no easy task. They’ve each come to rely on themselves more than anyone else, but having a future together will mean letting their guards down, and accepting each other as a safe place to fall.
Second in Command by VK Powell
Lieutenant Jazz Perry finds a young girl wandering the downtown streets alone late at night. As the child becomes attached to her, Jazz is reminded of her own experiences in foster care and takes a personal interest even when she knows she should maintain professional distance.
Social worker Emory Blake is good at her job helping children in challenging situations. She believes in the system and knows it works if you let it. When Jazz starts interfering in the case and bypassing the rules, Emory is torn between her responsibilities and an unwelcome attraction she can’t deny.
When on the job responsibilities collide with desires of the heart, becoming personally involved is the only choice.
Taking Chances by Erin McKenzie
Children’s librarian Valerie Cruz has worked hard to make a comfortable life for herself since aging out of the foster care system. She loves her job but avoids intimate connections—life has taught her that she can only count on herself. When she gets the opportunity to become a foster parent, Val decides to take the leap. If she can help kids, she’ll do it, even if it means reentering the system.
Foster care case worker Paige Wellington is passionate about her work, and she’s been a foster parent herself. When she meets the beautiful Valerie Cruz, she is drawn to her in a way she can’t explain, even though Valerie seems to want nothing to do with her. But when they clash over what is in the best interest of the children in Valerie’s care, the children may be the ones who teach them that it’s worth taking chances for love.
All That Matters by Susan X. Meagher
Life is going damned well for Blair Spencer. She’s a very successful real estate agent, happily married to a man who encourages her to live the independent life she loves—and they’re actively working to have a baby.
The wrench in the works is that Blair favors adoption, while her husband David desperately wants to have a biological child. The fates are against them, and they finally seek the help of a group of reproductive specialists. One of the doctors, a surgeon named Kylie Mackenzie, eventually becomes a good friend to Blair. And she needs all of the friends she can get when things start to go horribly wrong at home. As her marriage teeters on the brink of collapse, she relies more and more on Kylie’s friendship.
Kylie’s happily gay; Blair’s happily straight. But the way they structure their relationship leads friends and family to privately question whether the pair is setting themselves up for heartache. They eventually come to a crossroads, which could either destroy their friendship or turn it into what each of them has been seeking. The question is whether each woman can change her view of herself and her needs. The answer is all that matters.
Invictus by Aska J. Naiman
Shla will never be the same again, but she’s getting back on her metaphorical feet.
As a professional athlete, she’s prepared for the hours of relentless training. She’s been putting everything else off, her friends, her family and her studies, and her PT is coming along great. Nothing but walking again matters. Then she takes her first steps and realises she has to find somewhere to go.
Missing by PJ Trebelhorn
Olivia Andrews is a team leader on an FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team. With the goal of trying to erase the void left in her life by her tumultuous childhood in the foster care system, Liv has dedicated her professional life to reuniting kidnapped children with the parents who want and love them. The problem is, more kids have turned up dead lately than alive.
Sophie Kane is a new member of Liv’s team and has training in hostage negotiation. She grew up in an ultra-conservative family and was shunned when she came out to her parents at the age of sixteen.
A child abduction case in rural Pennsylvania brings the two women together, and they find themselves trying to deny the mutual attraction they have while working together to stop the kidnapper. But the ghosts of the past, and the kidnapper himself, threaten to derail their budding relationship before it can even begin.
Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden
Sleeping with the enemy has never been so complicated.
Twenty-eight-year-old Brooklyn Campbell is having a bad day. A speeding ticket, a towed car, and a broken heel are all working against her laid-back vibe. To top it all off, her birth mother, whom she’s never met, has requested contact. The only bright spot is an impromptu date with a beautiful and mysterious brunette.
Jessica Lennox is what you would call a high-powered executive. She’s the head of a multimillion-dollar advertising firm in New York City, and it didn’t happen by accident. But when the blonde head turner from the wine bistro turns out to be her number one competitor, her life gets infinitely more complex.
Is New York big enough for both Brooklyn and Jessica? Maybe it’s just time they experienced it together…
The Courage to Try by C.A. Popovich
From Great Danes to Pomeranians to polydactyl cats, in the rural town of Novi, Michigan, veterinarian Dr. Jaylin Meyers treats them all. But being brought up in the foster care system, she’s learned not to count on anyone staying around.
New vet tech Kristen Eckert has no time for a relationship. She’d much rather take care of horses, shoot skeet, or ride her Appaloosa. Their mutual attraction takes them both by surprise, and they are drawn into a relationship.
But Jaylin is frightened by the idea of relying on someone else and withdraws. When Kristen is injured in an auto accident, can Jaylin find the courage to risk her heart with Kristen or will she let her chance at love vanish forever?
Wishbone by Elaine Burnes
It’s 2004, the year same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts, the year the Red Sox break the curse, and the year everything changes for Meg Myers.
Meg is an animal control officer who doesn’t much like people and doesn’t believe wishes come true. She grew up in state care, bouncing between foster homes and her alcoholic mother. Left physically and emotionally scarred, she is guarded about her past and pessimistic about her future. So she focuses on her job and her dream of opening an animal shelter.
Meg’s world is rocked by three women: Pam and her foster daughter, Violet; Gina, twin to Meg’s best friend Jeff; and Samantha, the vet who shares an uncomfortable past with Meg. Through her relationships with these women, Meg is forced to explore mother-daughter bonds, loss and grief, and what defines friendship and gender in her quest to find security and love for the first time in her life.
Pieces by G Benson
Orphaned Carmen is sixteen, newly homeless and will do almost anything to survive and keep her and her kid brother safe, together, and out of foster care. Ollie, also sixteen, has a life that’s all about parents, school pressure, friends and dreams of summer. The two fall into each other’s orbit, and one kiss changes everything. Ollie is captivated … but then Carmen vanishes. When they cross paths months later, everything is different.
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