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Best LGBTQ+ Books to Have in Your Library

LGBTQ+ Books for Your Library
Great books resonate with their reader. From empathizing with each character’s challenges and victories to encouraging us to step into their shoes, books expand our world to see different perspectives. No one knows better than librarians of the life-changing effects of a great book! It is vital for younger generations to have the opportunity to pick up a book and see themselves on the page.

As librarians, you may have forgotten those early days of adolescence–navigating school, family, friends, obligations, and everything else in between. While there are many books on these themes and subjects, there has been a noticeable lack of choices for LGBTQ+ books for young readers. In recent years, the LGBTQ+ genre has grown significantly.

Do you have LGBTQ+ titles in your library?

Do you have a robust selection of diverse themes and characters in your library? If you are unsure, it is best to take a look at your current LGBTQ+ section to see how you can round out the collection with a fuller spectrum of books. To help you choose titles to add to your collection, we’ve gathered a list of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning books appropriate for middle-school and high-school age patrons.
 

Felix Ever After

By Kacen Callender
Set in modern-day New York, we follow the story of a young teenager grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix is a black, transgender, queer teenager who wants to know what being in love is like. However, Felix decides on a plan to get revenge when an anonymous student begins to send transphobic messages to him. Felix Ever After gives insight to topics about gender, sexuality, identity, privilege, and race. And most importantly, the topic of trans individuals still questioning their identity. Read NPR's full review here.
 

The Best at It

By Maulik Pancholy
From actor Maulik Pancholy comes an engaging story that covers sexuality, mental health, and discrimination. Perfect for middle-grade readers, we are introduced to Rahul Kapoor, a gay Indian-American boy heading into the seventh grade. As Rahul deals with anxiety, bullies, racial prejudice, and he is also trying to follow his grandfather’s advice – find something to be the best at.

The Best at It

By Maulik Pancholy
From actor Maulik Pancholy comes an engaging story that covers sexuality, mental health, and discrimination. Perfect for middle-grade readers, we are introduced to Rahul Kapoor, a gay Indian-American boy heading into the seventh grade. As Rahul deals with anxiety, bullies, racial prejudice, and he is also trying to follow his grandfather’s advice – find something to be the best at.
 
 

All Boys Aren't Blue

By George M. Johnson
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

All Boys Aren't Blue

By George M. Johnson
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
 
 

Mooncakes

By Suzanne Walker
Nova is a young witch who wears a hearing aid and lives with her two grandmothers. Tam is a nonbinary werewolf on the run from their stepdad. The two, who were childhood friends, reconnect and soon romance is in the air. A great graphic novel about love, demons, family, and witchcraft.

Mooncakes

By Suzanne Walker
Nova is a young witch who wears a hearing aid and lives with her two grandmothers. Tam is a nonbinary werewolf on the run from their stepdad. The two, who were childhood friends, reconnect and soon romance is in the air. A great graphic novel about love, demons, family, and witchcraft.
 
 

Of Fire and Stars

By Audrey Coulthurst
For students who crave fantasy and are looking for a book with an LGBTQ+ relationship, this book is a good recommendation. Betrothal, adventure, secrets, and magic—Of Fire and Stars, is about two princesses who fall for one another while trying to save their kingdoms. Check out this review!

Felix Ever After

By Kacen Callender
Set in modern-day New York, we follow the story of a young teenager grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix is a black, transgender, queer teenager who wants to know what being in love is like. However, Felix decides on a plan to get revenge when an anonymous student begins to send transphobic messages to him. Felix Ever After gives insight to topics about gender, sexuality, identity, privilege, and race. And most importantly, the topic of trans individuals still questioning their identity. Read NPR's full review here.
 

Of Fire and Stars

By Audrey Coulthurst
For students who crave fantasy and are looking for a book with an LGBTQ+ relationship, this book is a good recommendation. Betrothal, adventure, secrets, and magic—Of Fire and Stars, is about two princesses who fall for one another while trying to save their kingdoms. Check out this review!
 

Queens of Geek

By Jen Wilde
Fandom, friendship, mental health, LGBTQ+, and diversity–this love story, based around three friends, is all about finding the courage to be yourself. Charlie is a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at a fandom convention. Alyssa, an internet-famous cool-girl, is also attending the convention when she meets Charlie. And Taylor likes to blend into the crowd. Working through each of their challenges, each girl finds themselves through speaking their truth.
 

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli
Simon Spier, a sixteen-year-old, lets one of his emails fall into the wrong hands. Now being blackmailed, he must play wingman to the class clown or let his sexual identity become everyone’s business. Not to mention risking the privacy of his pen pal Blue, who would also have his “dirty” laundry aired out to the entire school.
 

More Happy Than Not

By Adam Silvera
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is having a rough time finding happiness again in the months after his father’s suicide. Working through his grief, Aaron finds a new friend in Thomas. Despite the trouble it is causing with his girlfriend and friends, Aaron cannot stop seeing Thomas. Developing newfound feelings for Thomas, Aaron considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even forgetting who he truly is.

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe, this book is a tearjerker. Check out the full book review from Books at Dawn.
 

If I Was Your Girl

By Meredith Russo
Written by a transgender author, this novel touches on the themes of bullying and the challenges of being a transgender individual. Meredith Russo’s book is a universal story about feeling different, and a love story that everyone will accept with a big heart! The main character, Amanda Hardly, is a new girl at school, trying to fit in and make friends. But she has a big secret and doesn’t want to get too close to anyone.
 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

By Jen Wang
Prince Sebastian’s parents are looking for a bride for him to marry. Meanwhile, Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! With the help of his best friend, Frances, Sebastian hides his secret. But Frances cannot achieve her dream and keep Prince Sebastian’s secret.

An adorable graphic novel for any age, this story focuses on identity, young love, art, and family.
 

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret

By Misa Sugiura
Sana Kiyohara has a secret that she can barely admit to herself–she might have a crush on her best friend...who’s a girl. After moving to California, Sana meets Jamie, who is smart and beautiful and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. Sana quickly learns that telling the truth is easy, but what comes after is a lot more complicated.
 
 

Queens of Geek

By Jen Wilde
Fandom, friendship, mental health, LGBTQ+, and diversity–this love story, based around three friends, is all about finding the courage to be yourself. Charlie is a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at a fandom convention. Alyssa, an internet-famous cool-girl, is also attending the convention when she meets Charlie. And Taylor likes to blend into the crowd. Working through each of their challenges, each girl finds themselves through speaking their truth.
 

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli
Simon Spier, a sixteen-year-old, lets one of his emails fall into the wrong hands. Now being blackmailed, he must play wingman to the class clown or let his sexual identity become everyone’s business. Not to mention risking the privacy of his pen pal Blue, who would also have his “dirty” laundry aired out to the entire school.
 

More Happy Than Not

By Adam Silvera
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is having a rough time finding happiness again in the months after his father’s suicide. Working through his grief, Aaron finds a new friend in Thomas. Despite the trouble it is causing with his girlfriend and friends, Aaron cannot stop seeing Thomas. Developing newfound feelings for Thomas, Aaron considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even forgetting who he truly is.

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe, this book is a tearjerker. Check out the full book review from Books at Dawn.
 

If I Was Your Girl

By Meredith Russo
Written by a transgender author, this novel touches on the themes of bullying and the challenges of being a transgender individual. Meredith Russo’s book is a universal story about feeling different, and a love story that everyone will accept with a big heart! The main character, Amanda Hardly, is a new girl at school, trying to fit in and make friends. But she has a big secret and doesn’t want to get too close to anyone.
 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

By Jen Wang
Prince Sebastian’s parents are looking for a bride for him to marry. Meanwhile, Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! With the help of his best friend, Frances, Sebastian hides his secret. But Frances cannot achieve her dream and keep Prince Sebastian’s secret.

An adorable graphic novel for any age, this story focuses on identity, young love, art, and family.
 

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret

By Misa Sugiura
Sana Kiyohara has a secret that she can barely admit to herself–she might have a crush on her best friend...who’s a girl. After moving to California, Sana meets Jamie, who is smart and beautiful and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. Sana quickly learns that telling the truth is easy, but what comes after is a lot more complicated.

2019 Rainbow Book List

Have you heard of the Rainbow Book List Committee? They’ve placed together 2019’s Rainbow Book List to highlight books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content appropriate for children and young adult readers. The list’s aim is to help aid youth and those working with youth in selecting high-quality books on LGBTQ+ themes and challenges. Take a look at the full list!

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