I read a lot of books, especially those with LGBTQ+ rep, but I know that I have only just skimmed the surface of what is out there. So I decided to ask Twitter for their favourite recs, and did they come through! I received over 100 replies, which is how I ended up with this list of LGBTQ+ books you should check out.
This is only actually half of the recs I received – due to my normal health issues (ME/CFS) and somehow injuring my neck and spine really badly by simply walking (thanks hEDS) I have only been able to work through the first 80 or so books so far. It has taken me over 10 hours to even do this! So I shall be creating a part 2 to go with this when I have the chance – don’t worry if your rec hasn’t made it yet, I will get there.
Some of the recs were made anonymously – it was important to me that this was an option – and so not all listings will include a link back to the person who recommended it. However these have been included where provided, so that you can also find some new people to follow if you want to.
With many thanks to Katherine for helping me to list some of the books, and telling me in no uncertain terms when I was making way more work for myself than necessary! I could not have done this without your help. Go and give Katherine some love.
Please note that links have been provided to Bookshop.Org to help you support independent bookshops wherever possible. All links marked with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links which provide me with a small payment whenever a sale is made using that link. This is in line with my Disclosure Policy.
Your Handy Guide to all the LGBTQ+ Books in this List
I’ve also included this handy reference guide to all the books included in this list. Simply click on which age group you’d like to explore and it will take you to that section of the post.
Kids’ Fiction Books
My Brother George by Kelly & Zoey Allen
The inspiration for My Brother George came from my son George, and his experience of misgendering and bullying. His strength and support from his little sister also played a part. My hope is that the story helps other families navigate similar experiences and focus on the joy of gender expression and smashing ‘gender norms’. Kelly
My Brother George has queer, gender expression rep, you can add it to your goodreads here, and you can buy a copy here*.
My Momma Zo by Kelly & Zoey Allen
My Momma Zo came about from true events that I experienced and finding that there were not enough trans inclusive books in the world which were accessible for children and parents. It introduces the idea of trans people in families and some of the issues they have and how with love and support everyone can be happy. Zoey
The Case of the French Fry Phantom by Erik Christopher Martin
I am the author of the book. The story is a supernatural mystery for kids aged 9 to 12, featuring a small group of LGBTQIA+ characters in which their blossoming identities are simple fact and the focus is the adventure. I believe it is important for kids to have access to stories where diversity is the norm and not the primary theme. Erik Martin
The Case of the French Fry Phantom has varied LGBTQ+ rep (the author explains that Dotty is a cis-girl with undefined enby characteristics that lead her to be misgendered, that she and Hannah decide to become girlfriends). You can add it to your goodreads here, and buy a copy here.
The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan
It’s a story in verse, told through the perspective of a young and anxious girl, who tries to understand why she has such strong feelings towards a girl in her class. It’s tender and beautiful! – Lou
A Surplus of Light by Chase Connor
An intense, beautiful YA novel about two gay teens who fall in love despite staggering odds against them. This is the story I wish I’d been able to read when I was 16. – Gordon
Against the Stars by Christopher Hartland
It’s an emotional story with an intriguing speculative twist, but the romance at the heart of it is the most compelling element. I laughed, I cried, and was very satisfied with the ending. – Anonymous
Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden
It’s a story about a young girl running away from home after a traumatic incident (TW: mentions of SA) and finding solace in a woman from her hometown who is also leaving to see her aunt. They find a lost cat and attempt to return it. It’s a graphic novel, so it is a huge artistic inspiration to me, and the cross generational relationship between queer people that isn’t strictly a sort of maternal/paternal or mentor relationship is one that’s really important to me. I’d recommend it because it’s beautiful and easy to read, but still really makes you think about yourself. – Andy
As You Walk On By by Julian Winters
This is a very sweet, fun John Hughes-inspired coming of age rom-com about outgrowing toxic friendships and finding your place in the world. It is so much fun to read, and the relationships between the characters are excellently explored. Even better, it’s pretty heckin’ funny. – Chloe
Behind The Frame by Gordon Bonnet
It’s my recently-released queer YA fantasy story — about two gay teenagers from parallel worlds, who have to simultaneously stop a mysterious force from destroying everything around them, and somehow preserve the blossoming relationship they’re finding with each other. It’s a wild fantasy with a touch of sweet first-love romance. – Gordon
Bruised by Tanya Boteju
CW: death, self-harm
Roller derby isn’t a sport for weak. Nor are bruises. But to face your own feelings—the bare truth behind them—demands even more courage than that. Everyone in this story finds their own way of discovering their strength in the least expected place: your heart. – Franka
Bruised has lesbian rep, you can buy a copy here.
Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer
How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan
It’s a book of short stories and not all of them are queer if i remember correctly but one short story deals with being ace or on the aro-ace spectrum and that was very monumental for me as a young kid discovering myself. – Anonymous
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
A beautiful tale of a complex relationship between multiple family members and a coming of age story. One of the main characters is queer and reading this as a queer pre-teen I was struck by how gracefully but realistically his identity was handled by his family and friends. I love everything about this book and can’t recommend it enough, to young adults and adults. – Anonymous
HART by C. A. Wood
This is one of the first blatantly LGBT+ works I’ve written. There’s a lot of myself in there (mainly in the relationship between the two MCs). It’s a story of young love, something I never got to have. I was raised in an incredibly fundamentalist Christian environment, which meant that I suppressed myself and my identity for years. I wrote this to heal myself. To me, this book means healing, acceptance, and being able to love myself and others. I hope it brings these same feelings to other people. – C. A. Wood
Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli
It’s a beautiful letter to closeted and questioning bisexuals. It fearlessly calls out gatekeeping from the queer community, it celebrates diversity and intersectionality of the queer community, and it has Becky’s trademark sparkling prose and passionate characters. – Lou
L.I.F.E by Felyx Lawson
This book is a slice of life (pun intended) that shows how difficult it is to come out even when you have a positive people in your life and how the feels teens have who are only just discovering themselves are completely valid, and they shouldn’t try and fit into a box just for the sake of everyone else . Over all it’s a love story between Rider who hasn’t fully accepted his sexuality and Cam who doesn’t even know he likes guys. The characters capture your soul and won’t let go til the very end. – Anonymous
Monstersona by Chloe Spencer
I wanted to write about the connections between trauma and female-rage, as well as how to find hope in the face of suffering. I also wanted to write a Jennifer’s Body inspired, action-packed horror book about monster girls biting the heads off of villains and recklessly falling in love. – Chloe
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
I’m recommending it because it’s a story of two boys falling in love and then fighting their circumstances to be together, without any of the cliche miscommunication drama and then not talking about it. It’s a love story that means the world to me. – Anonymous
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen
It’s sapphic enemies-to-lovers rom-com, plus fake dating, and a few broken hearts (of course). The story centers around a basketball player and a captain of the cheerleading team, who strike a bargain in order to achieve their own goals, but things don’t go as smoothly as planned. – Franka
She Drives Me Crazy has gender non-conforming and deaf rep, you can buy a copy here.*
Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass
Powerful, brutal, unflinching. This book highlights the very real and present danger of coming out or being outed when it’s not safe and sheds light on the horrors of conversion therapy. I recommend it because queer life is valuable and beautiful and this book shows just how endangered it is! – Lou
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling
Okay, this book has quite a few flaws BUT I started to read it because it had vampires, supernatural powers, and lesbians. Also a cool friendship which always warms my heart to read. And a cat! – Franka
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
The world is fascinating. It’s essentially a dark fantasy Western about a group of girls who escape a brothel and flee for safety across the border of their kingdom. There is a lot of brutality in this story, but ultimately, it’s about found family and how they help you survive. It’s an emotional, moving work that is deeply entertaining. – Chloe
The Paper Boy by James A Lyons
The Paper Boy is a comical story following closeted teen Tim who is trying to not be embarrassed by his mum’s business adventures. During one mission for his mum, involving a stolen tortoise, Tim meets a Swedish boy called Johann and they start getting closer to each other. Tim and his best friend Leo escape from their school prom and come out to each other. Tim as gay, and Leo as bisexual. – Anonymous
Up by Al Stewart and Claire Davis
This book is unique. It features a bipolar character and an autistic character. Neither character are belittled. Their challenges are offered, as well as their victories. I wish we saw more of this in the LGBTQI writing world. – Anonymous
Youngblood by Sasha Laurens
I just loved the vibe, how imperfect the world was, in so many different ways, the difference between the generation of old vamps (almost archaically old vamps with their crazy ideas about the world) and Youngbloods, basically today’s generation. I loved the romance, the drama, the academy full of spoiled rich youngbloods, and how they develop throughout the story. – Franka
A Dance Towards Forever by Alyson Root
This is my first novel. My second book incorporates all the things I love. Travel, sun and Scuba Diving.- Alyson.
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
It was a gift from my partner, who predicted I’d love it and was spot on. Magic, queer romance, and an autistic-coded lead character. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down! – Sarah A
All Tomorrow’s Photos by S. S. Genesee
It is my own book I wrote. It’s a unique tale unlike anything I’ve ever heard, about a gay serial killer in the 1970s finding his true love! Dark, edgy, and unhinged. – S. S. Genesee
Beyond The Mist: Dark Messiah by Reed Logan Westgate
The author has built a will they won’t they romance between the two main characters Xlina and Amber. After the second book we are left with Xlina finding a way to resurrect Amber and get the second chance at happiness. Dark Messiah leaps right into the action letting us know that being resurrected has triggered revelations and the end of times. The two heroines discover that the one god religion is a dark plot by Jesus to banish the other gods and remake the world. The new messiah, the child growing in Amber, threatens a two thousand year scheme by the faithful. Amber and Xlina team up to bring down the one god and save the world from the Dark Messiah. Such a twist, turning the religion into the bad guys and having a lgbt pair usher in a new age. It was everything I wanted from the end of this series! – Anonymous
Blushing Muse by Stella Donato
Blushing Muse is a collection of poems centered around romance, sexuality, and queer identity. Many of these poems convey the intensity of love versus the fear of being queer in a world that’s still filled with judgement and prejudice. I was taken aback by the sheer heart-warming, stomach-twisting, all-encompassing emotion in each line, each stanza, and Donato is a poet I continue to admire with each new project. What was most refreshing for me was the romantic and sometimes erotic themes. I’m used to Sad Girl poetry, but in these pages I was given the chance to feel something new, something my own life lacks. In the same breath, I was glad to see that the difficulties of coming out were not glossed over. That along with a journey of self-love and acceptance made for a deeply moving read. Donato offers new perspectives and approaches to the poetry genre. – Rachel
Falling For The Mark by Dominque Davis
I’m recommending it because it’s the first time I have ever read a romance between a con woman and her love interest (who is also a woman). It’s rare to find many books that feature women as con artist in general, let alone Black and sapphic. But Falling For the Mark is one of a kind because it does feature a main character who is all of those things. I have never read a romance like it before but I was hooked. – Anonymous
Fire at her fingertips by Rebecca Crunden
Fire at her Fingertips is a short story that held my hand through a lot of loneliness. It’s packed with stunning, enchanting prose, telling the story of a witch who finds acceptance and family after growing up with none, with so much love and hope and beauty tucked away in the smallest, quietest of places. The story is told in second person, which was unique and intimate and lovely, somehow making me feel seen though it was never truly about me. I already want to read it again. And again and again. – Rachel
Homebound by Hayley Anderton
Homebound is a gorgeously heart-wrenching young adult tale focused on grief and mental illness. The main character goes through a stunning journey throughout, and after lockdowns I think we can all relate to some aspect of her pain as an agoraphobic who feels trapped. It made me, a sufferer of chronic illness, feel seen and loved in ways most books do not explore, and the suffering was so authentic and undiluted that it took my breath away. – Rachel
His Secret Illuminations by Scarlett Gale
It has a hot, buff, pansexual sword wielding lady. but also the writing is incredible and the pacing and joyful queerness really resonated with me. it also deals a lil with internalised shame regarding desire which was hard hitting for me personally. – Anonymous
I’ve Got A Time Bomb by Sybil Lamb
After surviving a hate crime, a trans woman meanders a strange Amerika as life just keeps on happening. It’s surreal, it’s punk, it’s conversation by queer people for queer people. – Holly
Khirion by Maxime Jaz
Khirion is a dark, queer MMF polyam fantasy erotic romance, laced with elements of Hungarian folktales. It’s a story of self-discovery and building a new life on grief and a brutal past. – Maxime
Miss Havisham Says Yes by Eule Grey
This book is a lesbian romance featuring a plus-sized main character. I’m recommending it because I am plus-sized, and although the lesbian world is supposed to be inclusive toward different-sized people, I have not seen much evidence of this in real life. It is awesome to find a good rep for the way ableism impacts people like me in a manner which is not belittling. – Anonymous
Mother Dearest by Patrick Scattergood
It portrayed its lgbtq+ characters, and also mental health issues, brilliantly well while setting it in a world of gods and magic. – Golda
Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham
As a teacher, I see so many young people struggling with their identity and feeling ‘less than’ if they don’t know what to label themselves as. NQO is exactly the kind of book that those young people need – to see that they don’t have to know for certain and they don’t have to tell everyone for their identity to be valid. – Hannah
Oh My Stars by S-Jay Hart
It’s the ultimate warm, fuzzy lesbian romance. It’s a story about found family, choosing love over negativity, knowing what’s best for yourself, and the most irresistible-sounding muffins and baked goods you ever did read about. This book also has some of the most intricate, poetic descriptions I’ve ever seen in this genre, and it’s hard to believe that this is S-Jay’s debut. – Katherine
Our Darkest Hour by Gabriella E. Mari
“Our Darkest Hour” was originally inspired by my obsession with paranormal shows in the late 00s/early 10s and the thought, ‘What if Fandom became involved?’ What emerged was one part slow-burn romance between two men, one part paranormal thriller, and one part glorious internet chaos. – Gabriella
Paper Forests by Tegan Anderson
This book is a love letter to my dreams: to fish-shaped constellations, fairytales with unhappy endings, and soft boys with bloody knuckles. It’s a love letter to the child in my memories who is still made of magic and monsters and would read fairytales under a chestnut tree. And, most of all, this book is a love letter to the Forest. – Tegan
Phobetor’s Children by MG Mason
I am the author. Two characters who now (in retrospect) are heavily hinted as aspec, though those words are never used partly due to the time period setting, and my only unrealised ace identity. – Matt
Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lin Darrow
A pulpy fantasy heist. It’s a romp! It’s the most I’ve related to a character’s gender ever. – Holly
Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust has bigender, bisexual, and pansexual rep, you can add it to your goodreads here. I cannot find a purchase link unfortunately, so I can only assume it is currently out of print.
Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed
A powerful story about identity, ideals, sexuality, faith, and what it really means to be family. The MC is sapphic, but so much of her story can be universally felt by any queer person, especially brown queer people. It gets very heavy (trigger warnings for pregnancy, miscarriage, characters deaths, and depictions of Islamophobia) but it is a stunning novel. – Zayn
Radiant Fugitives has sapphic bisexual rep, you can buy a copy here.
Ransom to Love by Chloe Keto
It really just doesn’t have enough hype. It shows how love can bring about forgiveness, demonstrates how love can change everything about a person (in a positive way!) and exemplifies how one small interaction, one small mistake, can be turned on its head and prove to be the best thing that could have happened. As well as this, it’s a healthy and realistic representation of being a trans woman. – Katherine
Salmonweird by MG Mason
I am the author. The secondary character who turns out to be gay is one that readers seem to love because initial opinions change radically. The character has depth and lived in a time when it was (arguably) the most dangerous time in English history to be gay. – Matt
Survey by Gina Pond
This was written by the author as the sci-fi/fantasy novel that her wife *should* have been able to read growing up, featuring more diverse characters and a more positive view of the future. – Sarah A
Survey has queer, transgender, non binary, polyamorous, and neurodivergent rep with characters from a range of different ethnicities, nationalities, and religions. You can add it to your goodreads here, and buy a copy here.
The Binding of Bloom Mountain by Siggy Chambers
This is my debut novel. It’s about an autistic lesbian who loses her job and ends up in an alternate Appalachia where she has to bind the magic of a cursed mountain to save a town. – Siggy
The Clothes Make The Man by Finnian Burnett
This novella follows Arthur, a trans man living in a fat, female body as he navigates academia, a complicated relationship with his mother, and the particular challenges that face fat-bodied trans folks. – Finn
The Kappa Child by Hiromi Goto
A dual timeline story about a woman, who may have had a romantic evening with a water imp, navigating the wounds her father inflicted on her family past and present. She searches desperately for connection with other women and grounding with her sisters. It’s just beautiful and harsh and speaks to familiar loneliness. – Holly
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Sci-fi horror, a woman is exploring a cave system alone, except for her handler over the radio. Absolutely gripping, tense, claustrophobic horror that I’ve read multiple times. – Caspian
The Queens of Crime by Sienna Waters
It’s a lesbian romance with no angst, it’s just a sweet, funny story with lovely characters. It’s a great cozy read (though there is a sex scene, so beware). – Anonymous
The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar
Joukhadar is a trans author who writes beautiful and compelling stories about history and identity. The main character in this book is trans, and there is other trans rep in the book as well. Joukhadar often writes two concurrent stories that thematically tie together. The prose is beautiful, and trans identity is so central to the plot. This book is a love letter to SWANA queer folks, especially in diaspora. – Zayn
The Thirty Names of Night has trans and gay rep, you can buy a copy here.
(Un)bury Your Gays by Clinton W. Waters
My first horror book! It’s set in the late 00’s, when I was in high school, and deals with the fear I experienced then as well as the complicated nature of queer friendship. – Clinton
We’re All Monsters Here by Amy Marsden
It is a sapphic vampire story that started life as a prompt and snowballed into a novella with a sequel on the way. It’s the first book I’m self-publishing, and I’m super proud of all the work I’ve put into it. – Amy
What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher
I like the variety, because I don’t read romance or slice of life, but still want queer characters. This book actually goes quite in depth about the worlds nonbinary population, and has a variety of pronouns! – Caspian
Why In Paris? by Harry F. Rey
Being gay and Jewish myself, I had never read a story where I had felt so represented as this story. It felt like it was telling the story of people who we know would have existed at this time, fighting through the difficulties they faced, but whose voices are lost in the layers of marginalisation that those kinds of people would face. But it’s not just a story about or for gay Jews, for me it shines a light on the challenges of survival, of the meaning of art and beauty and objective truth in a world still today trying to tear those things apart. I liked it a lot and would highly recommend it. – Zvi Mayo
Widdershins by Jordan L Hawk
This book is everything to me. The whole series has become my comfort read, combining fantasy, horror and romance in a lovecraftian setting that feels so very real. The characters are both very damaged, but find love despite their different upbringings and own flaws. The character growth across the whole series is phenomenal, and no one comes out unchanged. – Sara
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
A beautiful story about love, addiction, recovery, and family. A real depiction of bisexuality, offering a raw insight to life as a queer brown woman. It’s a really heavy book in terms of themes, but incredibly gripping. – Zayn
Radiant Fugitives has sapphic lesbian and gay rep, you can buy a copy here.
Carrie Kills A Man by Carrie Marshall
It’s a memoir about how a depressed suburban dad became a tattooed transgender rock singer, and it was shortlisted for the 2023 British Book Awards. It’s quite funny 🙂 – Carrie
Coming Out Stories edited by Emma Goswell and Sam Walker
Coming Out Stories is a fabulous collection of personal stories from a wide range of people with varying LGBTQ+ identities. These stories will lift you up, inspire you, make you feel less alone, and give you an insight into the experiences of others. – Amanda
Getting Simon by Kenneth B. Morgen
A memoir about two men trying to become dads in the 90s, a great piece of queer history that has a happy ending/isn’t 90s queer history that’s focused on the trauma of AIDS. – Anonymous
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