Pride Month Reading List for Young Adults

 

June is Pride Month. Celebrate by reading one of these Young Adult novels starring LGBTQ characters. For specific recommendations, try What Do I Read Next? You’ll receive three titles customized to your request. 

 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

When an email falls into the wrong hands, sixteen-year-old, not-so-openly gay Simon is blackmailed into playing wingman for a classmate or risk having his sexual identity revealed and the privacy of the boy he’s been emailing compromised. 

 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Avoiding relationships to protect her sensitive heart, plus-sized Molly supports her once-cynical twin, Cassie, when the latter has her own bout of lovesickness, a situation that is complicated by sibling dynamics and an unexpected romantic triangle.

 

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah Burke is an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom; her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends– not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it’s hard for Leah to strike the right note. And with prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. If only real life was as rhythmic as her drumming.

 

Alan Cole is Not a Coward by Eric Bell

Hoping to keep his older brother silent about his secret crush on another boy at their school, Alan agrees to a ruthless sibling competition involving difficult tasks–from standing up to their demanding father to getting a first kiss.

 

Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block

Spinning a saga of interwoven lives and beating hearts, these postmodern fairy tales take us to a Los Angeles brimming with magical realism: a place where life is a mystery, pain can lead to poetry, strangers become intertwined souls, and everyone is searching for the most beautiful and dangerous angel of all: love.

 

Fat Angie by e.E Charlton-Trujillo

Angie is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school tormentors, and by being the only one who thinks her varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of “crazy mad cow!”) away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. A girl who is one hundred and ninety-nine percent wow! A girl who never sees her as Fat Angie, and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside. With an offbeat sensibility, mean girls to rival a horror classic, and characters both outrageous and touching, this darkly comic anti-romantic romance will appeal to anyone who likes entertaining and meaningful fiction. 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky—

In a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel, Charlie struggles to cope with complex world of high school as he deals with the confusions of sex and love, the temptations of drugs, and the pain of losing a close friend and a favorite aunt.

 

Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark 

Told from three viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Brendan, a wrestler, struggles to come to terms with his place on the transgender spectrum while Vanessa, the girl he loves, and Angel, a transgender acquaintance, try to help.

 

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark 

A transgender teen who was a boy when she last saw her estranged father embarks on a road trip halfway across the country with her best friend to attend her father’s wedding, an adventure that reveals personal truths about the traveling pair and their feelings for one another. 

 

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

Returning home to Los Angeles from her New England boarding school, Suzette considers staying home for good so that she can be near her friends, her crush, and her recently diagnosed bipolar brother, a situation that is complicated by her growing feelings for the girl her brother loves.

 

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children  by Kristin Cronn-Mills

Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl’s body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents–all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe, the popular DJ, is also Elizabeth from school.

 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

In the early 1990s, when gay teenager Cameron Post rebels against her conservative Montana ranch town and her family decides she needs to change her ways, she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center.

 

Sound by Alexandra Duncan 

As a child, Ava’s adopted sister, Miyole, watched her mother take to the stars, piloting her own ship from Earth to space making deliveries. Now a teen herself, Miyole is finally living her dream as a research assistant on her very first space voyage. If she plays her cards right, she could even be given permission to conduct her own research and experiments in her own habitat lab on the flight home. But when her ship saves a rover that has been viciously attacked by looters and kidnappers, Miyole, along with a rescued rover girl named Cassia, embarks on a mission to rescue Cassia’s abducted brother, and that changes the course of Miyole’s life forever. Harrowing, provocative, and stunning, Sound begins roughly a decade after the action in the author’s critically acclaimed Salvage, and is a powerful stand-alone companion.

 

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Imprisoned within a Victorian insane asylum where she is stripped of her identity and modesty, 17-year-old Lucy struggles to learn who is responsible for her wrongful incarceration while endeavoring to stay true to herself and pursuing an unconventional romance.

 

The Disasters by M.K. England 

Nax and a handful of other space Academy washouts are the only surviving pilots after the school is hijacked by terrorists, but in order to spread the truth about the attack, Nax and his fellow failures must execute a dangerous heist.

 

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan 

In Iran, it’s a crime punishable by death to be gay. Sex reassignment surgery, however, is considered a way to fix a “mistake.” Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. But when Nasrin’s parents announce that her arranged marriage will be in a matter of months, Sahar must decide the lengths she’ll go to for love.

 

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

An eighth-grader who dreams of performing in a Broadway musical devises a plan to run away to New York and audition for the role of Elliot in the musical version of E.T.

 

Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle

A sequel to Better Nate Than Ever finds small-town theater geek Nate Foster launching rehearsals for the Broadway show of his dreams only to encounter intimidating child stars, cutthroat understudies and a director who cannot remember Nate’s name.

 

Nate Expectations by Tim Federle 

When E.T.: The Musical closes, Nate reluctantly returns home to begin high school and, with his best friend, Libby, makes a project of turning Dickens’ Great Expectations into a musical

 

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin 

Feeling humiliated and confused when his best friend Tessa rejects his love, high school senior Luke must decide if he should stand by Tessa when she invites a female date to the prom, sparking controversy in their small Indiana town. 

 

Symptoms of Being Human  by Jeff Garvin

A gender-fluid teen who identifies as a boy or girl on different days—and whose challenges are complicated by a new school and a conservative politician father—is encouraged by a therapist to write an anonymous blog that goes unexpectedly viral.

 

Girl Mans Up by M-E. Girard

In Ontario, Pen is a sixteen-year-old girl who looks like a boy and she’s fine with it, but everyone else is uncomfortable–especially her Portuguese immigrant parents and her manipulative neighbor who doesn’t want her to find a group of real friends.

 

Sister Mischief by L. Goode

Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities — or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist. In her crew, Esme’s got her BFFs Marcy (aka DJ SheStorm, the butchest straight girl in town) and Tess (aka The ConTessa, the pretty, popular powerhouse of a vocalist). But Esme’s feelings for her co-MC, Rowie (MC Rohini), a beautiful, brilliant, beguiling desi chick, are bound to get complicated. And before they know it, the queer hip-hop revolution Esme and her girls have exploded in Holyhill is on the line

 

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio 

After being elected as homecoming queen and engaging in a first sexual encounter with her boyfriend, Kristen discovers that she is intersex and possesses male chromosomes, a diagnosis that is leaked to the whole school, throwing Kristin’s entire identity into question.

 

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George 

Jesse is having trysts with Emily, the popular student council vice president, but when they find themselves on opposite sides of a major issue and Jesse becomes involved with a student activist, they are forced to make a difficult decision.

 

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

After realizing he isn’t the only one at his school who is gay and hiding his identity from the rest of the population, Russel Middlebrook decides to create a boring club to be used as a cover for all the gay and bi kids to come and present their true selves without fear

Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger 

When friends Rob, Liam, Mia, and Galen gather for a weekend of fun deep in the forest, one is hiding a lie and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

 

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

Reluctantly agreeing to launch a summertime musical envisioned by her recently deceased best friend, drama-hating Cass takes a cross-country bike trip before joining the backstage crew painting sets, a grueling job during which she unexpectedly falls for Heather, the production’s star and a former middle-school nemesis.

 

Freaks and Revelations by Davida Hurwin 

Hustling to make a buck and survive on the harsh city streets, a 17-year-old neo-Nazi and a 13-year-old gay boy shunned by his family develop an unlikely bond after a devastating hate crime changes both their lives forever.

 

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

After the suicide of his boyfriend, Henry deals with depression and family issues, all while wondering if he was really abducted and told he has 144 days to decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

 

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

When his best friend-turned-boyfriend goes missing and seems to be remembered by nobody else, Ozzie begins to believe that the universe is shrinking and forges ties with a new friend while struggling to figure out what is happening.

 

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice, afraid of explaining her asexuality, has given up on finding love until love finds her in the most unlikely place, the library.

 

Run  by Kody Keplinger

Bo Dickinson is a seventeen-year-old girl from a bad family, but she is also over-protected, legally blind, Agnes Atwood’s best friend–so when Bo calls in the middle of the night, desperate to get out of town, Agnes helps her to steal the Atwoods’ car and the two girls go on the run, even though Agnes is not sure exactly what they are running from.

 

Read Me like a Book by Liz Kessler 

Inspired by a new teacher who makes learning cool, mediocre student Ashleigh feels the urge to do her best for the first time and worries that her teacher will find out that she has fallen in love with her.

 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Hoping to hide her authentic self from her conservative Muslim parents until she can depart for college, 17-year-old Rukhsana is caught kissing her girlfriend and whisked away to Bangladesh, where she fights an arranged marriage by consulting the wisdom she finds in her grandmother’s diary.

 

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

A Persian-American youth who prefers pop culture to the traditions of his mixed family struggles with clinical depression and the misunderstandings of older relatives while bonding with a boy who helps him embrace his Iranian heritage

 

See You at Harry’s by Johanna Knowles

Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy eighteen-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, fourteen-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable, three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention, and when tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.

 

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

Carson Smith is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mom take care of his father, a dying alcoholic he doesn’t really know. Then he meets Aisha Stinson, a beautiful girl who has run away from her difficult family, and discovers a secret regarding his grandfather, who disappeared without warning or explanation decades before. Together, Carson and Aisha embark on an epic road trip to try and save Carson’s dad, restore his fragmented family, and discover the “Porcupine of Truth” in all of their lives.

 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

 Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.

 

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

A chorus of men who died of AIDS observes and yearns to help a cross-section of today’s gay teens who navigate new love, long-term relationships, coming out, self-acceptance, and more in a society that has changed in many ways.

 

Huntress by Malinda Lo

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

 

Ash by Malinda Lo

Forced into becoming an indentured servant when her family dies, Ash lives a lonely and desperate life with no hopes for the future, until she meets Kaisa, the King’s royal Huntress, who teaches her to love, live, and dream once again.

 

Dramarama by E. Lockhart

Theater-mad teens Sadye and her best friend Demi find their bond of friendship sorely tested when they encounter love, rivalry, and a vast array of unforgettable characters while spending the summer at drama camp.

 

True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

A popular high school athlete hides his sexual orientation from his small Vermont town and writes unsent secret letters about his inner struggles to the people in his life, confessions that when discovered are broadcast to his entire school.

 

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Best friends Miel, who has roses growing from her wrist, and Sam, who paints moons to hang from the trees, run into trouble from the four beautiful Bonner girls, who are rumored to be witches and want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin.

 

Hero by Perry Moore 

Thom Creed, the gay son of a disowned superhero, finds that he, too, has special powers and is asked to join the very League that rejected his father, and it is there that Thom finds other misfits whom he can finally trust.

 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy 

Struggling with family problems and still living in a FEMA trailer years after Hurricane Katrina, lesbian teenager Ramona welcomes the return of her childhood friend Freddie but her shifting feelings for him cause her to question her sexual identity.

 

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Katie Ormsbee

When a shout-out by a famed vlogger causes her own web series to go viral, Tash embarks on an ambitious project marked by her love of Tolstoy, adoring fans, high pressure, a cyber-flirtation with a fellow award nominee and her secret asexual orientation.

 

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Juile Anne Peters 

When her charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, suddenly dies from heart failure, a despairing Alix is shocked to learn that Swanee had been secretly dating another girl, Liana, whom Alix is compelled to meet.

 

Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips 

esolving to stop ruining her friendships with destructive choices made to deflect attention from her gay parents, Kat struggles between protecting her relationship with her cousin and pursuing a boy whom her cousin liked first. By the author of Out of Nowhere. 

 

Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan  

When Thor’s hammer goes missing once again, Magnus Chase and his companions are challenged to retrieve the weapon from enemy forces that are threatening the Nine Worlds with an army of giants, an effort that requires an agreement with the demanding Loki. 

 

Carry On  by Rainbow Rowell 

During his last year at Watford School of Magicks, Simon Snow, the Chosen One, faces a magic-eating monster wearing his face, a break-up, and a missing nemesis.

 

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow and friends go on a great American Road Trip and discover that magic is everywhere.

 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 

Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamín 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. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship – the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz

Attending summer camp in a strict, gender-rigid culture, 15-year-old Kivali, who was abandoned as an infant and raised by an ardent nonconformist, questions her sense of identity and her beliefs as she becomes aware of her special intuitive powers.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Having lost his first boyfriend in a terrible accident, Griffin, a youth with OCD, forges a friendship with his lost love’s ex-boyfriend, Jackson, who exhibits suspicious signs of guilt. 

 

Timekeeper by Tara Sim 

In an alternate 1875 England, seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny, aided by the boy he loves, must discover who is sabotaging the towers that control the flow of time and stop him or her before it is too late.

 

The Summer of Jordi Perez  (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding 

  Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.

 

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura 

A girl whose life revolves around big and small secrets struggles with differences between two diverse groups of friends, a boy’s sweet but unrequited affection, her crush on her best friend and her father’s increasingly obvious affair.


Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey 

After a terrifying vision, Braden retreats to an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties, where he learns that the head of one dynasty is his father and the guy for whom he is falling is the son of the head of the other dynasty.

 

Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward 

High school senior Lea wishes she could ignore the blood oozing from the earth, causing her New Hampshire town and the world to panic, but the blood, hair, and bones that grow from the earth turn Lea into a prisoner in her own home, and eventually she will have to rescue her sanity, herself, and her girlfriend.

 

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Hiding the truth about his transgender identity from his parents and bullying peers, David forges an unlikely friendship with attractive newcomer Leo, whose secret past as a girl compels David to come out and stand up for himself.

 

About JMRL Central Reference

Librarians in the reference department at the Central Library of JMRL.

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