LGBTQ+ Books to Read

Even though Pride month is gone that doesn’t mean we should suddenly forget about LGBTQ+ people. They’re still out there and more-in-likely, you know someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community.

One way to understand and love LGBTQ+ people is by reading their stories, both fiction and non-fiction. Media representation matters, as the more you see people who are not like you portrayed in books, movies, and TV, the more “normal” they become.

Below are mostly books published in 2020, some still haven’t been published, and others were published in 2019 or 2018. The sections are split into Young Adult fiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction.

LGBTQ+ YA Fiction

Let’s Talk About Love – a book starring a black, asexual character? Yes, please!!

Somebody Told Me – A novel of trauma, identity, and survival

Sword in the Stars (sequel to Once & Future) – A retelling of Merlin and King Arthur’s court with queer characters, sign me up!

Girl Crushed – Queer romance about falling in love and never quite falling out of love

The Truth About Keeping Secrets – A high school thriller that focuses on a girl who’s dad is unexpectedly dead

Felix Ever After – A novel about a transgender teen grabbling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time (Side note: I’m obsessed with this cover)

Clap When You Land – Two girls separated by countries and cultures brought together by their dad’s secret

The Henna Wars – A romcom about two teen girls with rival henna businesses (I recently received in the mail and am so excited)

The Fascinators – Magic, friendship, and first love

The Black Flamingo – A story of a boy coming to terms with his identity and embracing his uniqueness

LGBTQ+ Fiction

Boyfriend Material – I am OBSESSED with the fake dating trope and will read all the novels about it!

Swimming in the Dark – Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of communism, a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men

Upright Women Wanted – A reinvention of pulp Westerns with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity

All My Mother’s Lovers – A story of family ties and grief, and a tender and biting portrait of sex, gender, and identity

They Say Sarah – A poetic, thrilling debut that charts the all-consuming passion between two women and the ruin it leaves in its wake

You Exist Too Much – A story of a young girl caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities (Can we all agree that this title is absolutely perfect?!) Another one I recently received in the mail!

Plain Bad Heroines – Author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post comes back with this horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls

The Death of Vivek Oji – A story of a family grappling with losing a child they never really knew

Written in the Stars – Queer romcom debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary (I LOVE THE FAKE DATING TROPE)!!

The Bright Lands – Shocking, twisty and relentlessly suspenseful, Fram’s debut is a story about old secrets, modern anxieties and the price young men pay for glory

LGBTQ+ Poetry

Catrachos – A name for the people of Honduras, Catrachos is a term of solidarity and resilience. In these poems, Guzmán reaches across borders invoking the voices of the lost. Part immigration narrative, part elegy, and party queer coming-of-age story

Coffee Days Whiskey Nights – A look at how a single day can change our outlook on everything from relationships with others, to our relationships with ourselves, and everything in between

13th Balloon – Bibbins focuses on the American AIDS crisis in this volume of poetry. He addresses the majority of his poems to Mark Crast, his friend and lover who dies from AIDS at the early age of 25.

Postcolonial Love Poem – An anthem of desire against erasure. This collection unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope

& More Black – t’ai freedom ford’s second collection of poems is direct, ingenious, vibrant, alive, queer, and Black!

Slingshot – Johnson questions the value of manhood, the price of sex, and the possibility of liberation

Pet Sounds – A book of unruly love poems about complicated sexuality, precarity, and kinship. Young takes up the question of passing when narrow definitions of family on offer by the law and capitalist social relations leave out so much

Hull – Debut collection by African American poet Xandria Phillips, she explores the emotional impacts of colonialism and racism on the Black queer body

Be Straight With Me – A memoir in verse about a love that blurs the boundaries of gender and sexuality

Autopsy – The reader journeys alongside the author through grief and healing after the death of his mother.

LGBTQ+ Nonfiction

Tomboyland – Essay collection about the mysteries of gender and desire, of identity and class, of the stories we tell and the places we call home

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers – A tale that weaves together both Jenn and Carson’s stories and lives, and explores the way we tell stories, especially queer love stories

Here for It – I mean, Lin-Manuel Mirand endorsed it, so I don’t need to say anything, right? “Pop culture-obsessed, Sedaris-level laugh-out-loud funny . . . R. Eric Thomas is one of my favorite writers,” -Lin-Manuel Miranda, Entertainment Weekly

The Fixed Stars – Thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity, complex sexuality, and enduring family relationships

Spectrums – This vital and intimate collection of personal essays reveals the struggles and joys of living at the intersection of neurodivergence and gender diversity

Gender Explorers – Young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans

The Pink Line – A groundbreaking look at how the issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today

The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion – Written by America’s Leading LGBT Expert, this book sets out to solve the problems of not knowing what to do and setting out best practices and professional guidance for creating LGBT+ inclusive learning in schools. Kryss Shane does not write this with any position or with the idea to change your mind. This is written for the fact that LGBTQ+ people exist and they will be, or are, in you classroom.

Becoming a Man – Explores one man’s gender transition amid a pivotal political moment in America

All Boys Aren’t Blue – Another cover that I’m absolutely in love with, it’s gorgeous!! In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and collect years in New Jersey and Virginia. (Again, another book I received in the mail recently and cannot wait to read)!

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