As the world becomes much more welcoming and open to all people around the globe, representation and diversity has become increasingly more important and sought after across all kinds of platforms, including books, for all people across the globe.
For all the bookworms out there, I’m sure you all have acquainted well with the lack of LGBT+ characters in young adult novels. And for the books which do have LGBT+ characters, all too often they are misrepresented, demeaning, or withheld little significance to the overall plot of the story or the story itself. The scarcity that we call LGBT+ representation in books, is apparent everywhere you look.
This serves to be particularly discouraging and even almost damaging for teenagers and young adults looking to find and discover a bit of themselves in these novels. Alas, it’s pride month - a month dedicated to embracing and celebrating every aspect of the LGBT+ community and the journey it took to get to where we are today.
So, here are 10 young adult LGBT+ novels that every young adult should read this pride. These novels range from fantasy to non-fiction, some centering around LGBT+ themes, and others simply having a LGBT+ main character.
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Follows the story of main character Riley Cavanaugh, a genderfluid teenager who isn’t exactly out to anyone - especially not his father, is a congressman running for reelection. Riley creates a blog under a secret alias in which he finds solace in and creates a community of other people who feel just like him.
Proxy & Guardian by Alex London
Proxy is the first book of the two that’s it is set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world of proxies and patrons, where being a Proxy grants you the opportunity of paying off whatever debt you acquired by taking on punishments for crimes your assigned Patron commits. Syd is a black gay Proxy who only wishes to quietly get rid of his debt and finally begin his life, and instead winds up teaming up with his Patron. On the other hand, Knox tries to rid the world of the debt system. Guardian is the sequel while Syd’s sexuality is brought up often during Proxy. There is more of a romance in Guardian.
It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, by Misa Sugiura
Sana Kiyohara is a sixteen-year-old girl who just recently moved to California but can’t seem to escape the problems she thought she left behind when she moved. With her move comes questions of her sexuality she can no longer ignore, thanks to the friendly girl in school. Increasing amounts of evidence of her father’s affair and discussions regarding the racism she sees and faces as a Japanese-American.
More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera
In a more technology-advanced future, lives sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto who is doing his best to recover after -suicide attempt, following his father’s own suicide. Aaron plans to spend the summer with his girlfriend Genevieve, but instead finds himself spending time with a newly-acquired friend, Thomas. He then discovers new revelations about himself that causes him to consider a popular memory-eraser procedure.
Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli
If you loved Love, Simon or Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda, then you might want to check out this book. This story takes a look into the Leah Burke we met and fell in Love with. As she struggles with sharing her love for drumming and art, Simon comes to terms with her bisexuality, college and financial situation, and more.
Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis
Set in 1988 in Iran, gay rights is practically non-existent which only makes life that much more difficult for fifteen-year-old girl Farrin, in addition to the bullying she goes through at school and her broken relationship with her mother. Farrin meets Sadria at school one day and immediately, a connection is made. Their attraction becomes harder to ignore for them, and the consequences of being gay become known to both Farrin and Sadria as they both get arrested.
We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Henry Denton gets abducted by aliens from time to time. It’s usually the standard typical stuff - some experimentation and prodding, until one day these aliens or “sluggers” offer him a choice: push a big red button or in 144 days the world will end. For most people, choosing to save the Earth and its inhabitants isn’t a particularly difficult choice. However, Henry is barely scraping life by with his family’s financial situation, his grandmother’s ever-apparent Alzheimer’s, his friends with benefits situation with his school bully, and the recent suicide his boyfriend committed last year.
Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
This is a slice-of-life novel following protagonist, Leila - a bisexual Persian girl who isn’t out to anyone and wants it to remain that way. That becomes increasingly more difficult when she meets Saskia. Leila struggles to take control of her feelings and her relationship with Saskia.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Set in the 1700s, Monty is a bisexual boy sent to a prestigious boarding school to become a gentleman in the eyes of his father who wishes Monty’s reckless behavior stops there. Monty goes out on a seemingly harmless Grand Tour of Europe with his sister and best friend, except for the fact that Monty is Monty and is practically a magnet for trouble.
If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Amanda Hardy is a trans girl who has just moved to a new school, and has no intentions of letting her new classmates know everything about her past. This is before she meets Grant, and Amanda starts to question the risk of letting someone into her life.
LGBT+ representation in books still has a long way to go, but it’s growing and becoming better as each new book releases. Use these books to support and embrace LGBT+ pride.
Happy pride reading!
Abeeda Hussain - Kasim is a sixteen-year-old aspiring journalist who can often be found writing, reading, and shopping online for clothes under the false pretense that she'll buy anything. One of her primary goals to give back to her community is to empower female Muslims all around the world.