Though publishing still has a long way to go, young adult readers have more choices than ever when it comes to LGBTQ characters. No longer just angst-ridden stories of encountering violent homophobia or coming out to a hateful family, plenty of young adult novels allow their queer characters to be teenagers like any other. LQBTQ characters fall in and out of love, deal with complicated families and friendships, and learn what it means to grow up. This tiny sampling of what's out there should by no means be considered definitive; please feel free to add any books you'd also recommend in the comments.
Dramarama, by E. Lockhart. Gleeful and campy story of falling in love and fighting to be the best in a summer drama program.
Baby Be-Bop, by Francesca Lia Block. This classic, award-winning prequel to Block's groundbreaking Weetzie Bat tells the story of Weetzie's best friend Dirk as he searches for true love and learns the truth about his grandmother's past.
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron. A handful of momentous days in the life of too-smart-for-his-years James Sveck, as he pursues a crush on an older coworker, fends off his battling parents, thwarts his therapist, and makes fun of his pretentious older sister, with consistently hilarious and poignant results.
Ash, by Malinda Lo. A smart and lovely take on the Cinderella story.
Kissing the Witch, by Emma Donoghue. Spooky and gorgeous retellings of fairy tales.
Down to the Bone, by Mayra Lazara Dole. Readers will love the tough and resourceful main character as she finds a new kind of family when the love of her life is shipped off to Puerto Rico and her Mami throws her out of the house.
The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd. A funny, touching, and ultimately hopeful story of coming out and growing up the heartland.
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, by Emily Horner. Cass's struggle to come to terms with her best friend's death and a burgeoning romance will warm the hardest of hearts.
Girl Walking Backwards, by Bett Williams. This criminally underrated 1998 novel is a beautifully written look into the life of a wisecracking, often angry, but always funny heroine.
The Necessary Hunger, by Nina Revoyr. A story about love and basketball set in contemporary Los Angeles.
The Poison Eaters, by Holly Black. Gothic and glam short stories from a master of urban fantasy.
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