As June is Pride Month, we have been working on a lot of articles surrounding the LGBTQ+ Community, so today I have compiled a list of my favourite books featuring LGBTQ+ characters!
Now, I have been a huge reader for my entire life and as a bisexual woman myself, reading books featuring LGBTQ+ characters is very important to me. And I’ve found as the years have passed, there’s more and more books featuring LGBTQ+ characters, especially within YA. So, I have made a list of my personal top 10 LGBTQ+ reads and I’ll be adding links to where you can find them too!
These are in no particular order:
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda/Love, Simon by Becky Albertalli.
I’m sure a lot of you, if not all of you, have heard of this book – especially now that the movie adaptation, Love, Simon, is out in the world.
But, for those of you who don’t know, Simon is about a boy named Simon Spier. A completely normal teenager apart from the fact he is carrying one huge secret with him: he’s gay. And, for a while he’s been emailing another gay kid at school named “Blue” but soon somebody finds out about the emails and threatens to out Simon to the whole school unless he helps him get with one of his best friends, Abby. Now, I know that sounds a bit hard hitting but Simon is such a funny, heartwarming book not just about love but about friendship and family too.
It’s the book that persuaded me to come out to my parents which has changed my entire life so I honestly cannot recommend this book enough!!
Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
I’m sure that this book has also reached a lot of you as it is, in fact, the sequel/companion novel to Simon following his best friend: Leah Burke.
Leah on the Offbeat follows Leah Burke, who is a bisexual teenager but despite the fact, Simon is openly gay, Leah is only out to her mum. This book follows Leah as she struggles with her own sexuality and who she likes and who she doesn’t like and how she copes with that on the lead up to graduation. Again, this book is so heartwarming and funny and again, has a huge focus on friendship and trust. I wish I had read this book when I was first discovering my sexuality because I needed this, even now, I feel like I needed this book. Leah is such an important character to me and I adore her so much. I cannot recommend this book enough especially if you loved Simon!
The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I know what you’re thinking. Chloe, is this whole list Becky Albertalli books? Well no, it’s not as sadly she only has three books out in the world but I just think all of her books are incredible and that everyone should read them. Although, Upside is a little different from the other two as the main character isn’t an LGBTQ+ character but there are LGBTQ+ characters in the novel.
Upside of Unrequited follows our main character Molly who has had 27 unrequited crushes and now, she has another one. Molly thinks of herself as fat and struggles with the fact she cannot seem to find the one until she meets Reed at her new job. Molly’s sister has a girlfriend through the book and she has two gay mums which is a huge theme in the book especially because it’s set around the time gay marriage was being legalised. Again, Upside is so funny and heartwarming like Becky’s books are but also again, follows hard hitting topics that Becky obviously isn’t scared to shy away from and it’s so refreshing. Although, I don’t love Upside as much as Simon and Leah I still think it’s a fantastic book and well worth the read!
A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
I have been waiting to talk about this book for so long. This book is a book that I absolutely adore; it’s such a sweet story and one where the characters are characters that I most definitely related to as we follow a main character who is bisexual and there is also epilepsy representation in there too.
In A Gentleman’s Guide we follow our main character Monty who is destined to follow after his father and own the manor and land that they own but as Monty is known for messing up a lot, his father doesn’t trust him and sends him on a trip across Europe with his best friend Percy, whom Monty is also in love with and Monty’s sister Felicity. This book follows these three main characters in the troubles that they face on this trip including Percy’s sudden seizures and pirates. It’s such a funny, cute read and is everything I needed in a book honestly. I’ve never read a book with epilepsy representation so that was especially important to me as it’s something that I struggle with myself.
Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Things A Bright Girl Can Do is actually my most recent read on this list as I only read it a couple of weeks ago but that doesn’t mean that it’s had any less on an impact than the others. This book was really interesting because not only did it feature LGBTQ+ characters, it was also about the Suffragette movement and World War I.
In this book we follow three perspectives of three girls from different social backgrounds during the war. We follow Evelyn, who, although she is rich and clever, her parents won’t let her go to university like her older brother and just expects her to marry her childhood sweetheart. So, she gets involved in the Suffragette movement. May who is already involved with the Suffragists because she and her mum do not believe in the violence until she meets Nell, who is a Suffragette living in poverty and completely changes her perspective on things. Through many twists and turns and honestly, heartbreak, this book really made me think and effected me in a way I didn’t think it would and I will happily reread this book one hundred times over. Next time you’re looking for a book, trying picking this one up!
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera is an author I can hand on my heart say, I absolutely adore his books. Although, I will warn you, if you’re going into an Adam Silvera book, you’re setting yourself up to get your heart smashed to pieces! Because, he has absolutely beautiful writing and beautiful stories but his books are absolutely heart wrenching.
In History, we follow our main character Griffin who is mourning the death of his ex boyfriend Theo, who drowned. Griffin is really struggling to come to terms with what has happened and to make things worse for him, the only person who truly understands what he’s going through is Theo’s latest boyfriend, Jackson. This book is told in flashbacks and the present day and woah, let me tell you, this book is so heart shattering. You really feel for Griffin and what’s happened to him and what he’s going through when it comes to his conflicting feelings for Jackson and I think this is hands down, along with the book I’m about to talk about, one of the BEST YA novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters and if you think that you’re ready for the heartache of it, I cannot recommend this book enough to you.
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
All I’m saying on this one is, yes, the book is at heartbreaking as it sounds.
In They Both Die At The End, we follow a world where on the day you’re going to die, a company called Deathcast call you to let you know you’ll die at some point within the next 24 hours. We follow our two main characters Mateo and Rufus who both get a call on the same day and end up signing up for this app called The Last Friend App where you go to find a friend who is also going to die on the same day as you. And, through the book we follow our two characters and how they meet and what they get up during their last day. And, I must say, this is probably the most beautiful yet heart breaking book I have ever read. It was SO hard to hold in tears on the train whilst I was reading this book but the writing and story are so beautiful that it’s definitely a must read!
Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Out of all the books on this list, this is one of the books that I definitely related to the most as the main character really spoke to me and what I was thinking when I first came to terms with the fact I was bi myself. Again, it’s a book I didn’t read too long ago but I’m so glad that I did read it.
In Our Own Private Universe, we follow our main character Aki who knows she’s bisexual, even though she’s only dated guys but she is only out to her best friend, Lori as she comes from a religious family, she’s scared of what her dad might think if he finds out. When Aki and Lori head off to church youth group in a small town in Mexico, Aki meets Christa who changes her life and her theories about herself and what she thinks of herself. Aki is a character I really related to especially at the start of her the book. Her internalised thoughts and feelings about herself was exactly how I felt when I was going through similar things and that really made me feel accepted so reading this was very helpful to me.
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
I think this is such an important book in terms of coming out, being part of the LGBTQ+ community and living in a religious area and being terrified that your family aren’t going to accept who you are. This book is so beautiful and honest and I cried quite a few times to be honest.
Autoboyography follows our main character Tanner who is an openly bisexual teenager in his senior year of high school. Or, he was an openly bisexual teenager until he and his parents moved from California to Utah where he felt forced back into the closet as he’s now living in a very religious area. In his last semester of high school, Tanner’s best friend Autumn dares him to sign up for their school’s prestigious seminar where students have four months to write their own book. But, when he gets into the class, he sees Sebastian Brother who published his book the year before from the same seminar. And, it only takes Tanner a month to fall head over heels in love with him. This book will most definitely take you through the emotional ringer and you’ll never really know what’s around the next corner for these two.
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Now, again I know this is a very popular book series and that it doesn’t center around LGBTQ+ characters but there are two characters very important to the story. I’ve included these books in here because it was my very first introduction to characters part of the LGBTQ+ community and because of Alec Lightwood, I’m okay with who I am.
In The Mortal Instruments we follow our main character, Clary, as she discovers and becomes apart of the Shadowhunter world. As she’s thrown into this world of Shadowhunters, demons, werewolves and vampires, she discovers not only who she really is but that the world isn’t what she thought it was. This series is so full of twists and turns and plottwists and heartache. It’s honestly one of my favourite series of all time and I cannot recommend it enough. When I read this series in all it’s entirety for the first time, it was a couple of years after I first started to discover my own sexuality. I was in a really difficult place about it and I just didn’t know what to do and being introduced to Alec Lightwood through these books really did change and save my life in many ways. So, not only are these books absolutely fantastic, they also completely changed my life and I cannot thank Cassandra Clare enough for that and I’m proud to have a piece of that inked on my body forever.
So, yes, here is just a small selection of my favourite books featuring LGBTQ+ characters. All of these books have had a huge impact on my life and I’m so thankful all of them are in the world. If you’re interested in more lists of books with LGBTQ+ characters let us know!
What are your favourite books featuring LGBTQ+ characters? Let us know by tweeting us @Fuzzable