7 Best LGBT Books For Teens Update 05/2022

Over the last 10 years, I’ve been very excited to see how much LGBTQ+ YA has changed and grown over that time. Since my first book came out in 2015, there has been a lot more representation in every area. My next book, Cool for the Summer, comes out on May 11th.

List: This one includes a wide range of sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as a lot more people of different races than a list we would have seen just a few years ago. It doesn’t matter if you want a pansexual lead in contemporary or a gay trans lead in paranormal or a lesbian lead in historical. There’s a character for you here!

The Weight of the Stars By K. Ancrum

A lot of people are now talking about Ancrum because of her amazing and powerful The Wicker King, which is great for fans of The Raven Boys and strong mental health depictions, as well as her new book, Darling, which is a take on Peter Pan. In the middle is a soft Sapphic slow-burn romance that’s great for space fans. It’s about a girl named Ryann who wants to travel to the stars and fall in love with a girl whose mother left her behind to do just that.

Phil Stamper wrote The Gravity of Us, which is a queer YA book with a heartwarming space nerd theme. For more Sapphic romance, try You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, Final Draft by Riley Redgate, Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi, The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth, Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, and Going Off Script by Becky Albertalli.

Black Wings Beating By Alex London

London’s epic fantasy trilogy is one of my favorite YA SFF series of all time. It tells the story of a pair of twins who practice falconry in a society that is always afraid of war. Kylee, who is aromantic and asexual, is the more talented one of the two, but she doesn’t want to use that power to get what she wants out of it. He would do anything to get her magic with birds and land the boy of his dreams. As soon as Kylee sees that he has a chance to get the all-important and dangerous Ghost Eagle, she wants to go with him to keep him safe. But neither of them could have foreseen what was to come.

Those are just a few of the many great queer YA epic fantasy novels that you can read. If you’re looking for a book with an aroace main character, check out This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria, and if you’re looking for a book with an aroace main character, check out This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria.

Follow Your Arrow By Jessica Verdi

It took CeCe and her girlfriend, Sylvie, a long time to become a big social media star, but they did it together. So CeCe isn’t sure who will be interested in her as a solo project when Sylvie breaks up with her. Getting a boyfriend is even more complicated when she starts dating someone else, though. Because she has always been honest about being bi, now people are calling her a fake because she wants to go to Pride and wear rainbow clothes. In order to keep the guy and the job, she’ll have to tell him about her internet fame and stand up for herself in the community, whether or not she has a friend with her at all.

Check out Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar for more new young adult books that deal with biphobia, like this one.

Felix Ever After By Kacen Callender

Callender’s ability to write for different age groups is unmatched. In the same year that they wrote King and the Dragonflies, a stunning Middle Grade novel that won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, they also wrote this groundbreaking YA about a trans boy (who comes to identify as a demiboy through some continued questioning) called Felix who gets bullied by a bully who wants to show his deadname and pre-transition photos and decides to take revenge. It turns out Felix’s plan doesn’t work out the way he thought it would. He starts to feel something for the very boy he’s trying to trick.

All Kinds of Other by James Sie, The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons, and Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee are some other great realistic contemporary YA books about trans boys that you should check out, as well.

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) By L.C. Rosen

It’s impossible to talk about sex in queer YA without talking about this brave, honest, and important YA book. A gay boy named Jack is running an online sex advice column, and a homophobic stalker is following him. It’s not for the faint of heart.

With unfiltered talks about blow jobs, BDSM, fetishizing queer guys by straight girls, and many other things, he helps many other kids figure out who is trying to hurt them. Rosen’s second book, Camp, is also very good. It’s about a group of people who have to talk about important issues in their community in a fun summer setting.

Pulp By Robin Talley

Talley is one of the most prolific authors of queer YA books. She writes in a wide range of genres, from historical to contemporary to paranormal and back again. This one is my favorite of hers. It’s a brilliant dual-narrative that looks at the lavender scare and the beginnings of lesbian pulp fiction in the 1950s and the present day.

The last one is about Abby Zimet, who is doing a school project on this kind of fiction. She goes down a rabbit hole when she researches author Marian Love, who hasn’t been seen since writing some of Abby’s favorite work. When Janet reads a book about lesbian romance, she gets the idea to write her own. She knows that writing a book about lesbian romance means taking a risk that might be too big for her.

Pet By Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi is known for being a great writer, and this short, brilliant speculative novel deserves all the praise it’s getting. It’s about Jam, a trans girl who lives in the city of Lucille. The kids there have been told that monsters don’t live there any more. Is that true? Then how did one come out of her mother’s painting and move into their room? Pet is there to show her and her best friend, Redemption, what they should do. Together, they’ll try to find out, and they’ll learn that monsters come in many different shapes and sizes.

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