As it is Pride Month, I wanted to share some of my favorite Young Adult & New Adult Books that have at least one Queer Main Character. There’s books from multiple genres including Science Fiction and Magical Realism.
If you’re lost and don’t know which one of the many amazing books with LGBTQ+ rep that you should start out your Pride Month reading with, I have you covered~
Title: We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publication Date: January 19th 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary
Type of Representation: Gay MC & Gay LI
Why I Recommend it: We Are the Ants is such an underrated & under recommended book. It deals with nihilism, depression, and suicide and has such an authentic voice. It was one of my favorite reads of last year. Plus, there’s aliens.
Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.
Only he isn’t sure he wants to.
After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.
Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.
But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.
Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Genre: Magical Realism
Type of Representation: Trans boy MC
Why I Recommend it: Anna-Marie’s writing is enchanting. I fell in love with Miel and Sam. This book is 100% amazing and one of my favorite books of all time. It’s magical from start to finish. The heroine is Latina and the hero is Pakistani. Their cultures are central to the story itself.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.
But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Near Future
Type of Representation: Gay MC
Why I Recommend it: This Fucking Book… Get ready to cry. It captures internalized homophobia perfectly and has such a cool premise surrounding a Near Future setting in which memory alternations exist. Plus, it’s #ownvoices and the MC is also Latino. Be aware that there is some ableism.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Title: The Paths We Choose
Author: M. Hollis
Publication Date: April 6th 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Type of Representation: No Labels MC who likes girls, Bisexual LI
Why I Recommend it: In a word: adorable. There’s a ton of strong female friendships and lots of characters of color. The MC also works at a bookstore. If you like hook-up to more related tropes, then this one is for you.
Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.
Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.
Title: Hold Me
Author: Courtney Milan
Publication Date: October 25th 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Type of Representation: Trans woman MC & Bisexual MC
Why I Recommend it: The heroine runs a apocalypse-centered blog and the hero is a professor at Berkeley. They are best friends online and are falling in love, but they unknowingly know & hate each other in real life. There’s lots of conversations about women in STEM, and the hero learns to overcome his bias. Both MCs are characters of color: the hero is Thai and Chinese while the heroine is Latina.
Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.
But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love…
Title: A Hundred Thousand Words
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Type of Representation: Gay MC & Bisexual LI
Why I Recommend it: Best Friend’s Brother trope. The heroes are great, and Levi is my son and a bisexual mess (I would seriously adopt him). Solid Romance.
Tobias Jackson grew up in Coburn, a town where the gay population equaled exactly one: him. Add that to the fact that his dream guy was his best friend’s jerky older brother Levi Baxter, and it made hooking up virtually impossible.
Now home from college for winter break, Toby is a different person. He left Coburn for San Francisco, where he wasn’t the lone gay guy and the only black kid in town. And yeah, he took advantage of what the city had to offer.
Apparently Toby isn’t the only one who’s changed. Levi’s not acting like the self-centered guy with all the answers that Toby remembers from growing up. Oh and Levi’s realized he’s bisexual, which makes things a lot more interesting…
Heading back to college, Toby doesn’t expect to meet up with Levi again, despite him being in med school not far away. A surprise visit from Levi blows that assumption out of the water. As they spend more time together Toby sees Levi as more than just the fantasy. He’s complicated, unsure…he’s real. But if Toby can’t get out of the past and find the words he keeps locked inside himself, he’ll lose his chance at Levi for good.
Bonus Young Adult Recommendation
Upon reflecting on my YA Recs, I realized that I have yet to read one YA book with a Lesbian MC so I turned to my trusted friend & lesbian fiction expert (who will remain anonymous for the sake of mystery) for a recommendation. She would recommend The Miseducation Of Cameron Post as she thinks it is one of the best lesbian YA books out there. Also, a film adaptation of it is currently being worked on (no word on release date yet). Check out the information below to learn more~
Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Publication Date: February 7th 2012
Type of Representation: Lesbian MC
Why she Recommends it: It has good characterization & deals with conversion therapy.
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.
I hope this post helps kick start your Pride Month reading marathon. Happy Reading~