This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features sapphic books with a shy or socially awkward character.
Note: Being shy isn’t the same as being introverted, although there might be some overlap. Introverted characters (and people) can be very confident…or they can by shy or uncomfortable in social situations.
Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge
If you are only discovering the Sapphic Reading Challenge now, the good news is you can still join! It’s a year-long challenge, so it runs until December 31, 2021. Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge and download your PDF so you can keep track of the books you read this year.
15 sapphic books about a shy or socially awkward character
I put together a list of 15 sapphic books that feature a shy or socially awkward character. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
Wrong Number, Right Woman by Jae
Flirting has never been Denny’s strong suit, but so what if she’s too shy to ask women out? She’s content with her simple life, working as a cashier and helping her sister raise her niece.
But then she gets a wrong-number text message from a stranger named Eliza, asking her of all people for dating advice!
Eliza is Denny’s total opposite: witty, outgoing—and straight. Despite their differences, the accidental text sparks an unlikely friendship. Soon, Eliza—self-proclaimed queen of disastrous first dates—would rather banter back and forth with Denny than to keep trying her luck at online dating.
When they meet in person, there’s an instant connection. But what Eliza is feeling can’t be attraction, right? It doesn’t mean a thing that she’s starting to wish the guys she dates would be more like Denny. Or does it?
Can the wrong number lead to the right woman after all?
Something Tragic by Jessica Yeh
When they met, it was not of their own accord. In fact, they never would have crossed paths if it wasn’t for the school project. They were juniors. Addison was the quiet, new girl. Having to move in with her uncles after the fire was one of the most difficult things she had ever endured. Tragic, really. Life always seemed to turn out that way for Addison.
When Addison first started at Parkville High, she knew exactly who Crisa Grayson was, even if Crisa didn’t know her. Crisa was the focus of hallway gossip, infamous for her wild parties and golden hair. On the surface, she seemed like the typical high school cliché. She was bubbly, fun-loving and sometimes even larger-than-life.
But appearances can be deceiving, and Addison never expected to interact with the enigma, let alone fall in love with her.
Must Love Silence by Lucy Bexley
Reese Walker doesn’t like people. What she likes is silence and being left alone. The thing she loves most about recording audiobooks is that she doesn’t have to leave her Chicago apartment to do it. And she hasn’t for nearly a year. But with an unavoidable bill going to collections that puts her sister’s treatment at risk, she has no choice but to take a job that pushes her out of her comfort zone.
After a disastrous blow to her career, Arden Abbott needs a comeback. Step one: a successful book launch, including an audiobook. She doesn’t trust anyone else to oversee every aspect of the project. It has to be flawless. Arden knows she’s ready to resume the life she had before her dreams fell apart, all she has to do is prove it to everyone around her.
When Reese and Arden meet, sparks fly and then they combust. Will Reese crack under the constant pressure from Arden? Can she possibly read a sex scene with the woman who wrote it interrupting to correct her pronunciation of words she is saying 100% correctly? Or can they step outside their comfort zones long enough to meet in the middle…
Solve for i by A.E. Dooland
Maths wiz Gemma Rowe has found the one problem her maths can’t solve: she’s fallen for her female & very heterosexual best friend.
Gemma Rowe is a shy maths nerd from Sydney who, despite having an affinity for probability and logic, only just worked out at 28 that she’s not actually straight. Not only is she not straight, but she’s developed feelings for her best friend Sarah.
Sarah and Gemma go way back—since they met at university, they’ve been completely inseparable. They’ve travelled together, got jobs at the same company, and shared each other’s triumphs and sorrows. There was even that one memorable time when Sarah, completely drunk, told Gemma she couldn’t live without her. A relationship seems like the perfect solution.
There’s just one teensy little problem with this whole equation: Sarah is straight.
Gemma knows the logical thing to do is to get over Sarah. She wants to be in her own happy relationship and not caught up on her straight best friend. But how is she supposed to get over Sarah when, despite all those advanced problem-solving skills, she can’t even work out who she’s attracted to anymore?
Uncovered by Mildred Gail Digby
Lindsay Ryan spends her days hidden in the basement of a medical university’s archives and her nights online as a pro mah-jong player. She is invisible, anonymous and most of all, safe. Lindsay lives only through the novels she devours every spare moment of her time.
Dr. Gwen Mukherjee invades Lindsay’s sanctuary with coffee dates and conspiracy theories—both of which wreak havoc on Lindsay’s solitary existence. Inexorably attracted to the odd but charismatic doctor, Lindsay can’t keep her distance from Gwen. Neither does she want to. For the first time, Lindsay experiences romance outside the pages of a book.
When Gwen discovers a horrible truth about the town they live in, the unscrupulous company responsible will do anything to keep their secrets safe. And that includes setting Lindsay up as a wanted fugitive to use her as bait to trap Gwen.
Lindsay is thrown into the spotlight.
Now all she has to do is make it out alive.
Under Her Influence by Amanda Radley
Fraser Park, the award-winning Scottish nature reserve and theme park, means everything to Beth Fraser. She’s more than a little preoccupied saving her family’s legacy and struggling against a board of directors who all seem to hate her. The last person she wants to need is selfie-obsessed, filtered to perfection, social media influencer Jemma Johnson. But she’s got to protect Fraser Park from a corporate takeover, and according to her brother, that means boosting their online presence. Jemma might be necessary, but Beth doesn’t have to like her, or follow her, or whatever it’s called.
Jemma Johnson, an Insta-success with hundreds of thousands of followers, is proud of her perfectly curated life. When she’s invited to stay at Fraser Park, the trip sounds like a fun adventure for a good cause, until she meets Beth, the only woman who sees beneath her sparkly facade and reminds her that not everything is as easy or flawless as it seems.
On their path to #truelove, will Beth and Jemma discover that reality is even better than illusion?
The Lily and the Crown by Roslyn Sinclair
Ariana “Ari” Geiker lives an isolated life on an imperial space station commanded by her father. The skilled, young botanist rarely leaves her living quarters, where she maintains an elaborate garden.
When an imperious older woman is captured from a pirate ship and given to her as a slave, Ariana’s perfectly ordered life is thrown into chaos. Her nameless slave is watchful, intelligent, dangerous, and sexy, and seems to know an awful lot about tactics, star charts, and the dread, marauding pirate queen, Mir.
What happens when the slave also reveals an expertise in seduction to her innocent mistress?
Waltzing on the Danube by Miranda MacLeod
Jeanie Brooks is a small town history teacher who sometimes leaps before she looks, but when she books a last minute river cruise for lesbian singles, she knows she’ll have no regrets. Two weeks of beautiful women and glorious adventure against the backdrop of Europe’s most famous cities—what more could she want?
Eleanor Fielding is an actuarial accountant from Manhattan, and an expert at assessing risk from every angle. Analytical and reserved, the only thing worse than spending the summer floating around with a gaggle of desperate single women is the prospect of her sister nagging her for all eternity if she refuses to go.
But thanks to a ticketing error, Jeanie and Eleanor unexpectedly find themselves the only two eligible women on the Danube. What starts as an awkward alliance to salvage some enjoyment from the trip soon transforms into something more.
The Weight of Living by M.A. Hinkle
When she arrives in Cherrywood Grove for a working vacation, shy photographer Trisha Ivy expects to kick back and relax, enjoying her last summer of freedom before turning into a real adult with a mortgage and a nine-to-five. After all, her real life is back in Chicago with her best friend Bella, not a sleepy small town. But Trisha keeps running into beautiful, confident Gabi Gonzalez, a caterer working all the same weddings…and she’s the daughter of Trisha’s favorite local TV star. Trisha can’t resist getting to know her. After all, she’s only in town for the summer, and Gabi is straight. What harm could it do?
Gabi Gonzalez has spent most of her life trying to escape Cherrywood Grove and find something bigger and better. During an internship in Milwaukee, she thought she’d finally found it. But after her father’s sudden death, she returns home and tries to squeeze back into the same childhood roles: kid sister, cool aunt, tireless worker. She’s just resigned herself to going through the motions when she meets Trisha, someone who finally sees Gabi for her own self instead of putting her in a box. Can Gabi open up to Trisha about what she really wants before Trisha leaves town for good?
Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher
Meet lesbian travel agent turned reluctant detective, Stoner McTavish and her friends, on their first adventure to Grand Teton National Park, where she falls in love with her dream lover, Gwen, whom she must rescue from almost certain death.
The Muse by Meghan O’Brien
Erotica author Kate McMannis has crippling writer’s block and a deadline in less than two months. When a beautiful woman named Erato appears at her house and claims to be her muse, Kate isn’t certain whether Erato is mentally ill or truly her supernatural savior. Either way, when the incredible sex Erato offers leads to genuine inspiration, Kate isn’t inclined to refuse her unusual brand of help.
When a little fantasy fulfillment with Erato inadvertently leads her to the shy and gorgeous Olive Johnson, unexpected feelings threaten to derail Kate’s motivation once again. Erato is just as determined to keep her writing on track as Kate is to explore her very real attraction to Olive—which leads to friction that threatens not only Kate’s ability to meet her deadline, but also her burgeoning romance with Olive.
Caught between a contractual obligation and her heart, is there any way for Kate to have it all?
Conquest by Ronica Black
What Jude Jaeger seeks is simple. What she needs is complicated. Woman. She has one a night at Conquest, sometimes two. And she gives them what no one else can or will. Pleasure. But outside the club, Jude isn’t interested in women, keeping them at arm’s length. That is until she’s meets Mary, a woman who responds to her touch like none of the others. When Mary shows up at the college where Jude teaches, all the emotions Jude thought she could live without come rushing back stronger than ever.
Mary Brunelle is a socially awkward loner who goes to a private club and finds herself in the arms of a beautiful stranger who conquers every last inch of her and then disappears into the night. Mary tries to find her, desperately wanting to see her again, but has no success until one day in class she looks up to see that the mystery woman is there. And she’s her professor. Mary soon sets forth on her own conquest, but can she tame the ultimate dominatrix?
No More Pretending by Bette Hawkins
Alluring screen actress Lauren Langham excels at the roles she plays both on- and off-camera. She’s so good at pretending, in fact, that no one watching her popular rom-coms or dazzling red carpet appearances would assume she was anything but charming, outgoing…and straight.
While preparing to shoot a new film in a small Texas town, Lauren wonders what she would be like if her own life had followed a different script. Then she meets Harper Ward, a waitress at the local diner, whose natural beauty leaves her speechless. Harper mistakes Lauren’s reaction for being stuck up and takes an instant dislike to her.
Like Lauren, Harper isn’t exactly what she seems—and also wonders what her life would be like if family obligations hadn’t turned her world upside down. When the film’s lecherous director hires Harper to work as his assistant, she and Lauren find themselves fighting a powerful attraction that quickly escalates into an overwhelming passion. But where can they go from here?
Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Shy, intellectual, and living in rural Oregon, Triinu Hoffman just doesn’t fit in. She does her best to hide behind her dyed hair and black wardrobe, but it’s hard to ignore the bullying of Pip Weston and Principal Pinn. It’s even harder to ignore the allure of other girls.
As Triinu tumbles headlong into first love and teenage independence, she realizes that the differences that make her a target are also the differences that can set her free. With everyone in town taking sides in the battle for equal rights in Oregon, Triinu must stand up for herself, learn what it is to love and have her heart broken, and become her own woman.
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party.
Trisha Hamilton has finally gotten the credits and the money together to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, studying, and her job as a stripper, she has little time for a social life, until she runs into the adorably shy baby butch from the club. Trisha can’t seem to hide her feelings for Alexis, even when Trisha discovers what she has been through, but will Alexis have the strength to be just as fearless about their new love?
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