Pride month is finally here, and so is summer reading! What better way to combine the two than some awesome LGBTQ+ books? The queer community has far too long been underserved by authors, but books with LGBTQ+ characters and storylines are finally starting to hit the shelves in vast quantities. So without much further ado, here are eleven titles that should definitely be added to your reading list:
Jude is the flashy, outgoing daredevil and her twin brother Noah is the quiet, reserved artist quickly falling in love with the boy next door. The two are completely inseparable, but a few years into the future their roles reverse and they are left barely speaking to one another. Broken up into two narratives, Noah tells you the early years of their relationship and Jude reveals to you the latter. But as their stories continue to intertwine, they end up learning more about each other and their family than they ever imagined.
Riley is genderfluid, sometimes identifying as a boy and sometimes as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out of the closet yet. Riley starts an anonymous blog to express what it truly feels like to be a genderfluid teen, but as it gains popularity someone discovers Riley’s identity and threatens to expose them. This book is incredibly honest and informative about what it means to be genderfluid, especially in a not-so-tolerant situation.
Juliet is moving from the Bronx to Portland, Oregon, after just having come out to her family and her not-exactly-supportive mother. But to help discover more about her “Puerto Rican lesbian” identity, she starts an internship with hippie, white feminist author, Harlowe Brisbane. This book explores what it means to be an intersectional feminist, as well as discovering your own unique identity in a world that rarely represents it.
Everyone assumes that Zee is a lesbian and that Art is gay, but is that really all there is to it? When the two meet, they quickly develop a powerful connection as they explore their own complexities of gender, sexuality and identity. This novel is full of diverse characters existing across many different spectrums, and truly explores what it means to not be able to fit your whole identity in some kind of box.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a proper gentleman of the 1700s, but his rogue and rebellious spirit could never be tamed by his boarding school or his strict father. As he begins his Grand Tour of Europe, he deals with his father’s pressures of inheriting the estate as well as falling for his best friend, Percy. Filled pirates, parties, and plenty of pride, this is one of the funniest and most adventurous stories that you’ll ever read.
Alex hates magic. But she also just so happens to be a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation. When she performs a spell to get rid of her power, it backfires and makes her entire family vanish instead. All she has left is Nova, a bruja that she doesn’t trust, who is her only chance of getting her family back. This book is the perfectly enchanting fantasy you've always wanted, with a bisexual love triangle to add some well-written romantic drama to all the adventure.
Alice is an ace—and not just at shelving books for her job at the library. After coming out to her girlfriend as asexual, her girlfriend broke up with her and Alice has officially sworn off dating for good. But when she gets a crush on a new boy, she starts to wonder if it’s a relationship worth pursuing (even with the risk of being misunderstood). Honest, sweet and funny, it’s the rom-com the ace community has always deserved.
Leila tries to stay under the radar at Armstead Academy, for two reasons: she’s Persian, and she likes girls. But when her crush on the new girl Saskia seems to be reciprocal, Leila starts taking more risks than ever before. The characters in this book are all well-developed and navigate both the toxicity and joy of many different relationships: romantic, platonic, familial and intrinsic.
Prince Sebastian is every princess’s dream: charming, handsome and ready to be married. At least according to his parents. But while they search for his future bride, Sebastian is living a secret life as Lady Crystallia, the hottest fashion icon in the kingdom. Behind the show-stopping dresses is Frances, who dreams of becoming a famous designer. But keeping the prince’s secret means that Frances herself has to stay secret forever. This beautiful graphic novel challenges gender norms and expectations, and explores how dreams and relationships can collide.
Logan has just discovered that his girlfriend of three years has been cheating on him. He completely stops believing in or trusting people, until the new student Sage decides to befriend him. Logan finally decides to act on his feelings for her, but she responds by admitting a big secret: she’s actually a boy. Logan feels betrayed once again and lashes out at Sage. After taking some time to reconcile with what happened, Logan tries to reach out to Sage and understand them, but their friendship will not be easy to repair. This book is a very realistic look at what coming out and being accepted as transgender can be like.
Note: Trans people were interviewed to make the story realistic, but because it is meant to illuminate the heavy topic of transphobia, it may be triggering for some trans people to read.
Kate and Mark have never spoken, despite sitting next to each other for an entire year. But when Kate runs away from her chance to meet a girl she’s been admiring from afar, she gets lost and spots Mark out for a night on the town. Meanwhile, Mark is in love with his best friend Ryan and is unsure if he feels the same way. Told through alternating viewpoints by each author, Kate and Mark grow closer together as they try to navigate all the relationship chaos surrounding them. This book has a strong focus on pride and creating safe spaces for queer people, and will have you hooked from start to finish.
Now I don't expect you to read all of these by the end of pride month (and if you can, I am in serious awe of your reading skills). But remember, especially as an ally, to support LGBTQ+ stories all year round! So go grab some snacks and find a comfy spot to read in—you'll probably be there a while.