Looking for some YA books with queer main characters to
read during pride month? Here’s a list of titles I’ve read and/or heard great
things about. Most of these were published within the past year or so. Feel
free to add on!
Know Me Well by David Levithian and Nina LaCour
Two classmates, one gay and the other lesbian, meet during
pride month in San Francisco and help each other through relationship problems.
me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Finally! A cute F/F novel where no lesbians die in the end!
The main character is an Iranian American with traditional parents.
Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Mystery/thriller about a closeted gay boy who’s girlfriend
goes missing, and he becomes the focus of her disappearance. I can usually
figure out what happened in mystery novels early on but this one had me
guessing until the very last page.
Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
Lesbian pirates and sea monsters. Need I say more?
the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
This one’s like reading a modern day fairy tell starring a
trans boy named Sam, who’s family immigrated from Pakistan, and a Latina girl
named Miel who grows flowers out of her wrists. And there’s a glass coffin.
It’s super creepy.
of Geek by Jen Wilde
Y’all, this is set at SupaCon (like Comic Con!). There are
two narrators. Charlie, an Asian movie star who is bisexual, and Taylor, a
blogger who has ASP.
by E.M. Kokie
This one’s a little darker. It’s about a butch lesbian
doomsday prepper who accidently gets involved in a dangerous plot that could
get her and her family into some serious trouble. I liked this book because
Bex’s views about guns are completely different than mine. But that’s why we
read, right? To learn about people who are different from you.
Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
This book was pitched to me as a fantasy book about a
princess betrothed to a prince but she falls in love with his sister. It’s
PS: Dear Mrs. Coulthurst, thank you for Chapter 34
Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac
A f/f story set in Vancouver about a girl with anxiety who
goes to live with her dad and falls in love with a musician.
Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Like Sarah Dessen? You’ll love How to Make a Wish! It’s
about a girl, who’s bisexual, who falls in love with a biracial dancer. It’s
part love story, part mother-daughter story and super amazing and emotional!
Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Keep your tissues close. You’ll need them. Griffin’s
ex-boyfriend, Theo, drowns and he’s left devastated. He grows close to Theo’s
boyfriend, Jackson, who is one of the few people who knows what he’s going
Okay by Nina LaCour
Speaking of tissues, you’ll also need them for Nina
LaCour’s latest YA/NA crossover. Marin is staying at school alone for Christmas
holidays and her best friend Mabel comes to visit. It’s a tear jerker but also
amazing and beautifully written.
Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I’m gonna cheat with this one because the main character
isn’t queer. BUT she has two moms, they’re a biracial couple, her twin sister
is a lesbian, and the sister’s girlfriend is pansexual. And her moms’ wedding
is a big part of the plot. Great book to read during pride month!
by April Daniels
Superhero novel with a main character who’s transgender and
a lesbian. I’ve read this and heard mixed reviews but for the most part, it’s a
good book if you like superheroes.
Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood
This is a f/f story that I’m not entirely sure how to
categorize. It’s part paranormal romance, part mystery/thriller, but could also
be NA. The love interest is a butch lesbian who’s a werewolf!
Mans Up by M-E Girard
Main character is a butch lesbian who comes from a
traditional Portuguese family.
Queen by Sarah Fine
If you’re a Clexa shipper, you’ll love The Cursed Queen. A
fantasy novel with a bisexual main character who falls in love with her
chieftain’s daughter. You can’t help but fall in love with Ansa and Thrya. And
the best part? No dead queer girls!
This maaay be stemming from anger, as all my best ideas are, but I figured it might help someone find a really awesome book, and so I shall be your unofficial librarian for a sec.
I can vouch for all of these books; yes, some are better than others (I mean, yes, Of Fire and Stars has an overly simple plot), but they are all very much enjoyable, especially if you’re not in constantly book-reviewer mode like I am whenever I read.
Also, I’m focusing this specially on books with queer girls, because I feel like YA has a bit of a problem with wlw. They tend to fly majorly under the radar, while books like Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Carry On get majorly hyped. Don’t get me wrong, I love both those books to bits, but still. I want to read all the books about girls who love girls.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: I need to put on of my all-time fav books here, first, don’t I? But, seriously, this book is fucking fantastic, and I love it to bits. It’s got all the amazing things: podcasts, nerdy people being nerdy, geeking out over sci-fi, it’s fantastic. Bisexual female MC/narrator + demisexual male MC + gay male side character + gay female minor character.
When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: Guys. GUYS. This book is gorgeous. One of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. Anna-Marie McLemore is already one of my top ten favorite writers and she’s only written two books, and this…I love this book and I want everyone to read this amazing book SO JUST GO READ IT, OKAY? AND it’s about QPOC, AND it very much respects and embraces true magical realism, AND the author is literally the sweetest person ever. Queer female MC + trans male MC.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova: This book is like a mix of Alice in Wonderland and a crazy fever dream. BUT IN A GOOD WAY. And can I mention the worldbuilding??? I’m in love with it. Bisexual female MC + queer female MC
Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour: THIS BOOK IS FREAKIN’ ADORABLE. I mean, it’s about romance and movies and mysteries and it has a beautifully built slowburn romance and everyone is adorable and the romance is adorable and just ALL THE YES. Gay female MC + Gay female MC
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: This book is all about the internet! I mean, if you exist on a creative plain of the internet, you’ll see yourself in this book. PLUS all the amazing and totally important conversations about asexuality. Asexual romantic female MC.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: I am SO ANGRY about how much this book has flown under the radar, because it’s amazing and so important and it addresses so many amazing things, and I just…Brandy Colbert writes the most fantastically realistic, flawed characters and I love it. Bisexual female MC + queer female side character.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst: I need to mention the cover of this book, first, because OH THE GORGEOUSNESS. Also, can I say NON-HOMOPHOBIC FANTASY WORLD??? Gay female MC + gay female MC
As I Descended by Robin Talley: Gay modern day Macbeth retelling with ghosts. Want to hear that again? LESBIAN MACBETH. WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS ALREADY? Gay female MC + Gay female MC
10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac: Okay, yes, this book has an awful cover but don’t let that sway you because I love this book to pieces. For one, it’s set in Vancouver, and I love Vancouver, and also it has probably one of the most realistic portrayals of anxiety I’ve ever read, AND THAT ANXIETY DOESN’T GET CURED WITH ROMANCE. Gay female MC + Gay female side character
The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine: Okay, yes, this is a sequel, but I had to add it to the list because I’m in love with this series and this world and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s gloriously stabby. Bisexual female MC + queer female MC
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: This book is a love letter to fandom and nerd culture and everything, AND I LOVE IT TO PIECES. I’m so, so happy this book is getting so much hype because it stands up to the hype and crushes it and I just love it, okay?? Also, I love all the characters. ALL OF THEM. They’re so fantastically written and adorable and I REALLY, REALLY LOVE THEM. Bisexual female MC + Queer female side character.
Get It Together, Delilah/The Flywheel by Erin Gough: It’s set in a bakery/cafe, which is enough to get my heart beating, but this book is just straight-up adorable. Also, if you don’t think I’m making panna cotta gelato the first chance I get YOU ARE SADLY MISTAKEN. Gay female MC + Gay female MC.
I was asked about book recs so I’m making this my masterpost, which I’ll update periodically! Also I’m making it a priority to give lgbt+ recs and try to be as specific as I can; other books that are not lgbt+ are listed at the bottom under the cut.
(I’m going with what rep I remember, someone tell me if I’m missing something or if there’s a mistake!)
(I’m only going to include main characters and relationships)
(MG=middle grade; YA= young adult; A=adult; NA=new adult)
Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab (YA)
the author has said that nobody in the trilogy is straight
the author has said that one of the protagonists would identify as genderfluid if she lived in our world (but there are no labels in the world where the novel is set)
I consider what’s written above as canon
two bi men (canon within the book)
genderfluid person (identified within canon as a woman for lack of labels)/cis man
bi man/bi man
Captive Princeby C.S. Pacat (A)
gay man, bi man
this is a homonormative society where everyone is shown to be gay or bi
gay man/bi man
All for the Game by Nora Sakavic (A)
two gay men, one demisexual man
gay man/demi man
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (YA)
gay man, bi man
gay man/bi man
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (YA)
gay man, bi man (canon, within the book)
bi woman (canon, confirmed by the author but not explicit within the book)
gay man/bi man
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (YA)
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (YA)
Peter Darling by Austin Chant (YA)
gay or bi man
trans man/cis man
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (YA)
bi woman, lesbian woman
bi woman/lesbian woman
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
bi man, gay man
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
gay man, bi man
A&B by J.C. Lillis
bi woman, lesbian woman
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.”
Taproot preview! There will be text, obviously, but here the first few pages of the comic as it will appear on shelves in September! (You might have caught Taproot a few years back when it was a webcomic–the new version is fully redrawn and 40 pages longer.) If you’re not sure if your local shop will have it, you can always go in and ask them to order it–in fact, it’s a really good idea, since it helps shops gauge interest. It’s also available for preorder at all of these stores.
I’ll also have it at Flamecon and Rose City Comiccon coming up in the next month or so, so if you’ll be at either of those conventions you’ll be able to get an early copy <3
Fall is finally here and with it comes LGBT History Month
in October. To celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of books with queer main
characters. All books have been/will be published in the second half of 2017.
Feel free to add more titles!
Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz- A young artist must
take care of herself and her younger sister when her mother rushes off to
Puerto Rico to take care of her grandmother who has fallen into a coma. She’s
also falling in love with her best friend. While struggling with her art, a new
neighbor introduces her to the Red Mangrove Estate, an artists’ colony. The
catch? No art can leave the Estate.
and Lion by Brandy Colbert- Colbert’s sophomore novel is about a
black, Jewish, bisexual girl named Suzette and her brother Lionel who fall in
love with the same girl. Lionel struggles with bipolar disorder and adjusting
to his medication. If you haven’t read Colbert’s first novel, Pointe, run to
your nearest bookstore/ereader and buy it! It’s amazing!
Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens- This book holds a
special place in my southern, living in the small town, queer heart. Billie is
the daughter of a preacher in a small Kentucky town, and she loves her community
and her group of friends called the Hexagon. The group bands together to save
the community’s fall festival and Billie struggles to find the space she needs
to understand and express her gender and sexuality. It’s easily one of my
favorite books of this year!
Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera- Title tells you everything.
Silvera’s third novel has already hit the NYT bestseller list and I’ve heard it’s
just as amazing as History is all you Left Me and More Happy Than Not. Features
two Latino boys who become friends after they both receive a call that they’ll
both be dead within 24 hours. I haven’t read it yet, but if it’s anything like
Silvera’s other books, I’ll need a box of tissues close by.
of Shadows by Linsey Miller- A genderfluid teen wants
revenge after losing everyone and everything that’s ever mattered to them. Sal
decides to audition for the Left Hand, the queen’s elite group of assassins,
but to earn their place, Sal must compete in a fight to the death.
Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust- Who wants to read a
retelling of Snow White where she’s a lesbian? This book is a duel POV between
Lynet (Snow White) and Mina(the stepmother) who are only alive because of Mina’s
dangerous and powerful father, who gave her a heart of glass.
Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin-Two best friends part ways as
they head off to college and communicate through texts and emails and share
their new experiences. Ava struggles with anxiety and steps out of her shell
for new experiences and maybe finding her first boyfriend while Gen explores
her sexuality and falls for her TA.
by Christina Lauren- Tanner was an out and proud bi boy until his
family moves to Utah. But then his best friend dares him to take a senior
seminar class where he must write a book and falls in love with his teacher’s
by Tillie Walder- Walder’s graphic memoir is about her ten years
of figure skating and now much she hated it.
by Patrick Ness- A guy who is from a strict, religious family
examines his past relationship to determine why he why’s unable to reciprocate
the love given to him by a sweet guy named Linus and thinks an attachment to a
guy who broke is heart might be the problem.
Song by Fox Benwell – Two girls, Neo and Tale, living in South
Africa meet a bar and bond over the love of music. Possible trigger warning-
addresses corrective rape.
Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (Oct 3)- You should read all of
McLemore’s amazing books, but her newest is about three girl cousins who come
from a family who tends to a magical garden. They find themselves falling for
the same girl but fear a family curse where everyone they love disappears. Then
a boy appears who has no idea who he is and Estrella, one of the cousins, tries
to help him discover his identity.
Ten by Katie Cotugno (Oct 3)- Two best friends, Gabby and
Ryan, are seniors whose platonic relationship becomes complicated as they begin
to fall for each other and examine the top moments of their friendship over the
past four years.
Your Villain by C.B. Lee (Oct 5) – Sequel to Not Your Sidekick. This
book revolves are Bells, a trans guy with superpowers (he can shapeshift!) as
he teams up with his friends who go on a mission to find the Resistance
opposing a corrupt league of superheroes.
Echo by Amy Rose Capetta (Oct 10) – a girl named Zara wins the
role of Echo at the Aurelia theater, but her dream role becomes a nightmare
with mysterious deaths, dangerous legends, and an intense director. She finds
herself falling for a name named Eli who works in lighting! Theater romance! Everyone
who received an ARC of this book has said amazing things about it!
Water by Rebecca Podos (Oct 17) - Savannah returns to her small
town to care for her father who has Huntington’s disease. She keeps herself
occupied with hookups and a job at a waterpark dressed as a mermaid, and finds
herself falling for a girl named Leigh. This is Podos’ debute novel and I’m
impatiently waiting to read it.
in the Dark by Malinda Lo (Oct 17) – I fell in love with Lo’s
novels after reading her queer Cinderella retelling, Ash. She’s written fantasy
(Ash and Huntress) and science fiction (Adaption and Inheritance) and now she’s
tackling a contemporary thriller . So Jess is secretly in love with her best
friend Angie, who is completely oblivious. Angie hooks up a with a girl named
Margo, a girl from boarding school whose social circle pulls Jess into some
Colors by Elyse Springer (Oct 23) – I’m actually going to plug all
of Springer’s romance novels because they’re amazing and I’ve read all of them.
Changing Colors is the fourth book in her series Seasons of Love. But while you’re
at it, you should check out White Out, featuring a gay couple, Thaw, about an
ace girl who falls for a model/actress ice queen, Heat Wave, two bisexual girls
have a no strings attached relationship and of course one of them develops
feelings. There’s also Heels Over Head, which is about an Olympic hopeful diver
who falls for one of his teammates.
in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward (Oct 31) – Author of Bleeding
Earth returns with another creepy tale with queer girls! Okay, so here’s the
breakdown of her sophomore novel: So this girl, Cara, finds this commune in the
mountains called Haven, and spends a lot of time there. Her best friend, Mailee, is pretty sure Haven is a cult but of
course Cara won’t listen and decides to move in Haven permanently! Sounds like
a horrible idea, right?
“my gender is a triangle”; 3am gender journals/comics… if my work resonates with you i encourage you to take some time to reflect/create your own work relating to your identity that expresses your own experiences and feelings in your own particular way. this is my gender. think about yours. ~~good vibes y’all~~
12/20/2016 addendum: my longwinded, liberal artsy, sociologically conscious, and purposefully didactic response to criticisms on this post can be found here.