LGBTQIA+ Young Adult Book List

YPRL Staff

31 March, 2021

Did you know the first ever young adult novel that explored homosexuality was published in 1969? Just over 50 years ago, John Donovan published I’ll Get There. It Better be Worth the Trip. The novel tells the story of Davy Ross, the growing relationship he has with another boy at school, and the complex feelings that follow.

Since this publication, many young adult novels that explore all kinds of LGBTQIA+ identities have been released into the world. But it is only recently that we have started seeing more titles than ever before being published, exploring positive queer narratives and a wider array of experiences.

Here are some LGBTQIA+ young adult titles available at YPRL. This is by no means a definitive list, but can be used as a starting place or a building block in your reading of queer stories.

Happy reading!

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, 2020

Felix Love wants to be in love, and desperately wonders why it comes so easy to others and not to him. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he is one marginalisation too many: Black, queer, and transgender. When Felix becomes the victim of anonymous transphobic messages — where a student begins publicly posting Felix’s deadname and images of him before he transitioned — he cooks up a plan for revenge. But he didn’t count on his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, 2019

Ben De Backer’s parents throw them out of their house when they come out as nonbinary. They are then forced to move in with their estranged older sister and her husband, Thomas. On top of an anxiety disorder, and the rejection Ben experience from their parents, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas and their therapist. They try to keep a low profile during their last half of senior year at a new school, but fellow student, Nathan Allan decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan grow closer to each other, their feelings begin to change. This might just be Ben’s chance to find a new, happy life.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, 2019

The children of Lucille are taught that there are no more monsters, that they needn’t be afraid. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But then she meets Pet, a being made of sharp horns and claws, who surfaces from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood. Jam must reconsider all that she’s been told about monsters and their presence in the world. Pet has come to hunt another, and the shadow of something sinister creeps through Redemption’s house. Jam must fight to protect her best friend and uncover the truth that has been hidden from them for so long.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, 2020

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she really is. This only becomes harder once her childhood friend, Flávia, comes back into her life. Nisha falls for her instantly. When a school competition welcomes students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to exhibit their talent as henna artists. As they compete to prove who is the best, their loves become more and more entwined. The competition soon heats up, and Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, 2013

Seventeen-year-olds Craig and Harry are trying to set a new Guinness World Record for kissing. Around them, Ryan and Avery are falling in love, Neil and Peter are falling out of love, and Cooper might be somewhere, but he is also, dangerously, nowhere. Two Boys Kissing is available in print and eBook formats.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, 2014

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are inseparable. At thirteen, the two seem so different: isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives, wears red lipstick and does the talking for them both. Three years later, Jude and Noah hardly speak to each other. Jude soon meets an overconfident, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else, a completely unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realise is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to see the whole picture.

Loveless by Alice Oseman, 2020

Georgia feels loveless, in the romantic sense at least. She is eighteen and has never had a crush on a single person, let alone been in a relationship. She thinks she’s an anomaly, that she’s broken; this is only reinforced by the people who call her weird. But Georgia adores romance — weddings, fan fiction, the ‘happily ever afters’ — so she knows she’ll “The One” someday … right? After a long, catastrophic summer, Georgia is at university and so far from home. Determined to find love, Georgia seeks the help of her love expert roommate, Rooney. But what if Georgia doesn’t feel that way about anyone at all? Maybe that’s okay. Maybe falling in love isn’t a requirement of finding happiness. Loveless is available in print and eBook formats.

Take a look at some of the other LGBTQIA+ young adult fiction titles in our collection: 


And if you're looking for a specific kind of book, such as a YA with queer parents, check out LGBTQ Reads: a website that reviews and recommends queer books, and also catalogues them by type. Once you've found a book you're interested in, you can come back to search for and borrow it from our catalogue. If we don't have it, let us know!

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