30 essential LGBTQ+ books for YA readers

Essential LGBTQ+ books

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 supports 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 and themes. We also promise that you don't need to be a teen to enjoy the fantastic prose, compelling queer characters, and diverse perspectives in store.


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By Saundra Mitchell
Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.
By Becky Albertalli
Not-so-openly gay Simon prefers to save his drama for the high school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.
By Becky Albertalli
In this sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, we follow Simon's BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior year angst.
By Claire Kann
Striking a perfect balance between heartfelt emotions and spot-on humor, this debut features a pop-culture enthusiast protagonist with an unforgettable voice sure to resonate with readers.
By Meredith Russo
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in high school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she's determined not to get too close to anyone.
By Kathryn Ormsbee
From the author of Lucky Few comes a quirky teen novel about Internet fame, peer pressure, and remembering not to step on the little people on your way to the top.
By Jeff Garvin
A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.
By 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.
By Misa Sugiura
This charming and bittersweet coming-of-age story featuring two girls of color falling in love is part To All the Boys I've Loved Before and part Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
By C.B. Lee
Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran.
By Zoraida Cordova
The only way to get Alex's family back is to travel to a land in between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.
By Anna-Marie McLemore
A stunning and utterly romantic novel tinged with magic.
By Seanan McGuire
The story of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children - a novella for fantasy readers.
By Mackenzi Lee
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th century romantic adventure for the modern age.
By David Leviathan
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.
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This Printz Honor Book is the story of a special friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.
By Nina Revoyr
As a star basketball player in her last year of high school, Nancy Takahiro's life is about to change forever.
By Madeline Miller
A reimagining of Homer's The Iliad, here's an action-packed adventure around the seige of Troy, epic love story, and marvelously conceived and executed page-turner.
By Laura Lam
Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility...
By Jacqueline Woodson
Three-time Newbery Honor author Jacqueline Woodson explores race and sexuality through the eyes of a compelling narrator.
By Julie Anne Peters
An unforgettable novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance.
By Jane Eagland
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labelled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name.
By April Daniels
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.
By Leigh Bardugo
A brilliant fantasy. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
By Shyam Selvadurai
Set in Sri Lanka in 1980, an exploration of first love.
By 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.
By 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.
By Rick Riordan
After angering his father Zeus, the greek god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. What can go wrong?
By Jacqueline Woodson
Thirteen-year-old Staggerlee used to be called Evangeline, but she took on a fiercer name. She's always been different - set apart by tragedy. This summer she has a new reason to feel set apart - her confused longing for her friend Hazel.
By John Green, David Leviathan
Told in alternating voices from two young adult superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

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