Note: I took last year's post and added to it for 2023. Longtime followers will see some familiar titles here.
Pride Month is the perfect time to celebrate LGBTQIA+ books. Use this to find your new favorite book, or an author you’ll grow to love.
Novels with LGBTQIA+ Main Characters:
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix is afraid that being black, trans, and gay means too many marginalizations. But he still wants to fall in love. Figuring out his art portfolio, his plans for the future, his relationships, and identity leads to lots of complications. I enjoyed the characters and setting, and gained insight at the same time. Highly recommended!
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
Skye Shin has been told all her life that fat girls can't dance. But she can, and goes to prove it by trying out for a K-pop competition. She's not ready for all the attention she gets, especially when the famous Henry Cho takes an interest in her. This is a delightful romance including body positivity, AAPI and LGBT+ main characters, and lots of heart. I also enjoyed Lee's Korean TV show fake relationship in Flip the Script, featuring a bi actress.
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Ramona is stuck with no prospects for the future, living in a FEMA trailer with her dad and pregnant sister. Everything changes when her childhood friend comes back to town.
The Heartbreak Bakery by A. R. Capetta
Syd (no pronouns) is the youngest baker at the Proud Muffin, a queer oasis in Austin, TX. When Syd's magic brownies make couples break up, it's up to Syd and delivery person Harley (he, they) to put things to right. Could romance be part of the recipe, too? This novel won a Lambda award!
Transpire Together by Mercy Zephyr
Here's a great adult romance. Lynn Hall and Keith Kendall both grew up in the small town of Selaruk, Alaska. Now Keith has transitioned, and Lynn doesn’t recognize him when he comes back to town. How will they find a future together? Sweet contemporary romance with transgender guy and cis girl--great Alaskan small town story, too!
Man o’War by Cory McCarthy
This is about the journey of a young trans person finding and embracing their identity—there are moments that made me cry, but the witty humor and happy ending is well worth it! One of my new favorites!
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
I loved this bisexual romance involving a teen who enjoys attention from her longtime crush until her summer fling suddenly moves to their school.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
I devoured this charming, funny story about a bisexual teen who has a mutual crush with her gay bestie on the new boy who is cast as her co-star in the school play. So much heart and wit here!
Novels with LGBTQIA+ Supporting Characters and/or Diverse Casts:
Curling Vines and Crimson Trades by Kellie Doherty
It took me a bit to get into this, maybe because I hadn’t read the first in the series, but then I was hooked. Great fantasy world building and queer love, perfect for Pride Month!
Once + Future by Cory McCarthy and A. R. Capetta
I loved this YA speculative novel--who can resist "queer King Arthur in space"?! Ari is the forty-somethingth King Arthur, and this time, she and her band of queer teen knights (and an awkward teen Merlin) take on an intergalactic enemy. The diverse cast of characters and the romantic, funny, hopeful writing had me hooked throughout the whole book. Highly recommended for teen readers and adults who love King Arthur and fun stories!!!
That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler
A collection of stories that range from delightful and funny to scary and dark--there's something for everyone here. The authors beautifully reimagine Shakespeare for the modern YA reader.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Shanghai in the 1920s was a glittering, dangerous place—the perfect location for a twist on Romeo and Juliet. I usually balk at graphic violence and gruesome monsters, but Chloe Gong’s luscious setting and dramatic characters pulled me through. A vibrant debut author I will follow in the future! (P. S. The sequel Our Violent Ends is out, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.)
Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta
This features a diverse cast of modern teens. What a sweet Bengali American homage to Jane Austen, combined with high school drama, debate, and forensics (DDF) and fierce friendships!