Book List

25 YA LGBTQIA+ Books You Need to Read ASAP

June 9, 2020
The Riveted Team
Believe In Your Shelf

Whether you’re looking for an excellent story to read in celebration of Pride Month, or book featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and storylines to curl up with any time of year–or just a great read in general!–you will love each and every one of these novels. Find your new favorite LGBTQIA+ read right here.

25 YA LGBTQIA+ Books You Need to Read ASAP

1. Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

In this funny, feel-good debut novel, a queer teen navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag. Brimming with love, joy, hope and hilarity, this is a story of first heartbreak and trying to find out where you fit when you’re not even quite sure who you are. You’ll fall in love with the colorful, confident, and real characters in Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.


2. When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.


3. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she will uncover.


4. All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick

In this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secret. Amanda Kelly is the daughter of small town social climbers, dating real estate heir Carter Shaw. Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend against her Christian fundamentalist parents by carrying on a fake relationship with Carter on the side. Now, Amanda and Rosalie are roped into a bid to take Carter down and unmask their stalker, known as Private, before Private uproots their lives.


5. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke. Nothing like hunting down a cult to start a budding romance off right! Looking for more Malec adventures? Check out the next book in the Eldest Curses series, Lost Book of the White.


6. Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith

This book is beautifully written, filled with both touching and heartbreaking moments. Chris has recently come out as transgender and love is the last thing on his mind as he’s still processing the terrify assault he survived a year ago. Maia is still trying to find where she fits in as she grieves the death of her older sister. But when a near-fatal car accident brings the two of them together, they might just find a way to move forward.


7. Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson

Hutchinson was depressed. He was also an outsider because of his sexual orientation. Eventually, everything combusted leading to an attempt to take his own life. When depression starts talking, it’s hard to convince yourself it’s not telling you the truth. Hutchinson did make it out okay, though. More than okay. And his story is one of hope that everybody should read.


8. Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

Ghosts of the Shadow Market, is all about fan-favorite Jem Carstairs.

Written with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman, the book includes 10 stories of Jem’s adventures in Shadow Markets around the world spanning more than a hundred years.


9. The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

A twisted family tragedy has left Brooke and her siblings on their own. In her last year of high school, Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction as she struggles to find her true place in the world, to navigate her first true romance with new friend Dani, and to learn how to let go of the past.


10. With Or Without You by Brian Farrey

Evan and Davis get beaten up for being loners. For being gay. For just being themselves. When they’re recruited to join the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status, Evan is caught between his best friend and his boyfriend, Erik. Evan has lied to keep his two worlds separate. Now those same lies could destroy the very relationships he’s trying to protect.


11. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson

The life and times of High Warlock Magnus Bane are far to long and sprawling to be confined to just the Mortal Instruments…and Infernal Devices…and Dark Artifices series. So obviously he needed his own book. While no volume could contain all of Magnus’s stories (and he wouldn’t reveal them all, anyway), and his story is far from over, this collection does fill in some vital gaps–including what happened on Magnus’s very first date with Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood.


12. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

After the loss of his family, Andrew Brawley hides out in the hospital, taking solace in only one thing–the superhero he’s created, Patient F. When Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates, Drew recognizes a kindred spirit. But to save Rusty, and himself, Drew must confront death, and tell the truth about who he really is…even if it risks any chance of a future.


13. Social Intercourse by Greg Howard

When Beck’s emotionally fragile dad starts dating the recently single mom of former bully Jaxon Parker, Beck is not having it–and neither is Jax. But when they team up to reverse-Parent Trap their folks, the chemistry between Beck and Jax becomes undeniable. Hearts are broken, new romances bloom, but nothing goes down the way Beck and Jax have planned.


14. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren


When bisexual teen Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, it nudged him temporarily back into the closet. But it only takes one second for him to notice Sebastian, and less than a month to fall completely in love with him. And Sebastian seems to feel the same way. The only problem? Sebastian’s conservative religion forbids romantic relationships between boys.


15. The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

You I've Never Known

Since her mother abandoned the family, Arielle has lived nomadically with her father as he moves from job to job. All she’s ever wanted is to stay in one place for an entire school year, and it looks like she might finally get her wish. With a real friend, Monica, who might be even more than a friend soon. Arielle is a great character in general but it’s so interesting to watch her explore her bisexuality amidst the chaos that is her life.


16. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow


Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies. *Spoiler Alert* At first it seems like Greta is doomed to the “new boy in town, we must fall in love” trope. But it’s actually an old girl friend who has always been there for her that ultimately catches her heart.


17. Boy Robot by Simon Curtis


In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever. His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin. An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny. This book has it all. Isaak is an awesome protagonist and a part of the LGBTQIA community, and the story includes a transgender girl as well as both accepting family members and not so accepting family members.


18. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson


Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—then Tommy vanished. More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie. But as Ozzie tries to find Tommy, he starts to develop feelings for his new physics partner, Calvin. Can you call it a love triangle when one of the people involved doesn’t technically exist?


19. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Read the extended excerpt ofWe are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson!

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. Henry is dealing with an alien invasion while also mourning the loss of his boyfriend. Bottom line, this book gave us so many feels, you just have to read it.


20. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Quinn is a smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister. Of course, that was all before the car accident that changed everything. Enter: Geoff, Quinn’s best friend, who insists it’s time that Quinn came out of hibernation. Geoff drags Quinn to a college party, where he meets a guy and falls hard. Quinn is such a quirky and relatable character. You can’t help but love him. Reading this book is almost like reading the Perks of Being a Wallflower with a gay protagonist.


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


Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. They have nothing in common, but they start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. This is a slow burning love story that we don’t want to say much more about here–we don’t want to give anything away! But read it. Trust us.


22. Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

Read the extended excerpt ofDraw the Line by Laurent Linn!

Adrian is used to blending into the background at his Texas high school. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but none of those social groups get him…at all. When a hate crime spurs Adrian into action, he must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Maybe it’s time to not be so invisible after all—no matter how dangerous the risk. Watching Adrian come into his own and truly decide who he wants to be is magical and inspiring. You’ll be glad you were along for the ride.


23. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Natasha didn’t expect Unhappy Families, her web series adaptation of Anna Karenina, to go viral. Nor did she expect the complications it would bring to her love life and coming out as a romantic asexual. Dealing with the unexpected complexities of overnight success, and a cyberflirtation that has the possibility of being something IRL, puts a strain on Tash, but we couldn’t help cheering for her every step of the way. 


24. The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

Elena Mendoza is just your typical teenager working a thankless job while crushing hard on Freddie, the girl who’s eye she hopes to catch. But their story is anything but simple. See, Elena is the product of a virgin birth, which can be explained scientifically–it’s called parthenogenesis. What defies scientific explanation are the voices she’s been hearing, and the miracles she’s able to perform. Is it possible Elena might actually have the power to save the world? And what does it need saving from?


25. The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

Looking for more LGBTQIA+ books? Check out these must-read sci-fi and fantasy books!

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