30 Essential LGBT Books for YA Readers

We look for ourselves in fiction. A great book resonates with us as we empathize with a protagonist's struggles and triumphs, and encourages us to step into their shoes as they set off on a fantastic journey. Expanding our world with different perspectives is part of the thrill of reading, but it can be very lonely to only read books where there isn't anybody like you.

AbeBooks has previously celebrated Pride in Literature with a diverse selection of LGBT fiction in recognition of LGBT Pride month. This year, we're excited to feature a small part of the rapidly expanding selection of Young Adult books featuring LGBT diversity.

We support a future where younger generations can pick up a book and see themselves on the page - where they learn that they can be the heroes of their own stories, especially those with happy endings. We've put together a list of 30 YA books featuring LGBT characters or themes, one for each day of June - don't worry, we don't expect you to finish them all before the month is out! We also promise that you don't need to be a teen to enjoy the fantastic prose, compelling characters, and diverse perspectives in store.

Want to learn more about diverse YA and children's books of all types? Check out the We Need Diverse Books organization.


LGBT Reading Recommendations for YA Readers

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This Printz Honor Book is the story of a special friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters Luna

Julie Anne Peters

An unforgettable novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-MillsBeautiful Music for Ugly Children

Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Born Elizabeth, Gabe knows he's been a boy his whole life - and the whole world thinks he's crazy.

Hero by Perry Moore Hero

Perry Moore

Thom Creed keeps many secrets from his father, like having special powers, but the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.

Ash by Malinda Lo Ash

Malinda Lo

Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan

This is a happy, meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy world.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey Guardian of the Dead

Karen Healey

A young girl finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality.

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block Love in the Time of Global Warming

Francesca Lia Block

A Top Ten ALA Rainbow Project Book, here's a stunning reimagining of Homer's Odyssey set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.

The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan The Trials of Apollo

Rick Riordan

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

Jacqueline Woodson

Three-time Newbery Honor author Jacqualine Woodson explores race and sexuality through the eyes of a compelling narrator.

Great by Sara Benincasa Great

Sara Benincasa

In this contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby a teenage girl becomes entangled in the romance and drama of a Hamptons social circle.

One Many Guy by Michael Barakiva One Man Guy

Michael Barakiva

A romantic, moving, laugh-out-loud-funny story about what happens when one person cracks open your world and helps you see yourself like you never have before.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

A reimagining of Homer's The Iliad, here's an action-packed adventure, epic love story, and marvelously conceived and executed page-turner.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Sara Farizan

As an Iranian American, Leila's different enough; if word got out that Leila liked girls, life would be twice as hard.

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley What We Left Behind

Robin Talley

A moving story about shifting gender identities, love, and belonging.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson The Art of Being Normal

Lisa Williamson

David Piper has always been an outsider, but only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Emily M. Danforth

Cameron is sent to a religious conversion camp that is supposed to "cure" her homosexuality where she comes face to face with the cost of denying her true identity.

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins

Emma Donoghue

Acclaimed writer Emma Donoghue spins new tales out of old in a magical web of 13 interconnected stories about transformation and choosing one's own path in the world.

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland Wildthorn

Jane Eagland

Set in nineteenth century England, Wildthorn is the story of seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove finding love.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera Juliet Takes a Breath

Gabby Rivera

Juliet just came out and isn't sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But she has a plan to help her figure out this whole "Puerto Rican lesbian" thing.

Tripping to Somewhere by Kristopher Reisz Tripping to Somewhere

Kristopher Reisz

A group of teens things life is going nowhere, until they take a road trip in search of everything.

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz Lizard Radio

Pat Schmatz

A coming-of-age story rich in friendships and the shattering emotions of first love, this novel will resonate with teens emerging as adults in a sometimes hostile world.

Pantomime by Laura Lam Pantomime

Laura Lam

Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility...

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black The Darkest Part of the Forest

Holly Black

As the Faerie world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan Will Grayson, Will Grayson

John Green & David Levithan

Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Becky Albertalli

Not-so-openly gay Simon prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Every Heart a Doorway

Seanan McGuire

The story of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children - a novella for fantasy readers.

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen Willful Machines

Tim Floreen

The closeted son of an ultra-conservative president must keep a budding romance secret from his father while protecting himself from a sentient computer program that's terrorizing the United States.

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio None of the Above

I. W. Gregorio

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she's intersex, and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die, and as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys love becomes a problem.

Which LGBT books for YA readers are we missing?