Seven queer YA contemporaries to read for Pride month!

Hello! Today I have a post that I’ve very excited for: the first in the series of posts I have planned for Pride month!! For this, I’m going to be sharing a list of seven young adult realistic contemporary novels with LGBTQ2s+ representation!

The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar

Rep: Bangladeshi-Irish lesbian main character, Brazilian-Irish bisexual main character, Bangladeshi side characters, Korean side character

Storygraph | Goodreads

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.

As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

Rep: Black Jewish bisexual main character, pansexual side character, lesbian side character, Jewish main character with bipolar

Goodreads | Storygraph

A stunning novel on love, identity, loss, and redemption. When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she’s isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. 

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse. “Little and Lion is beautifully insightful, honest, and compassionate. Brandy’s ability to find larger meaning in small moments is nothing short of dazzling.” — Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything 

Far From the Tree, by Robin Benway

Rep: lesbian main character, biracial Mexican and White main character

Goodreads | Storygraph

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Perfect on Paper, by Sophie Gonzales

Bisexual main character, transgender major character, lesbian major character, many more LQBTQ2s+ characters part of the school’s GSA


Goodreads | Storygraph

In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on PaperLeah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips: 
– Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes–for a fee.
– Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
– Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
– Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
– Does not appreciate being blackmailed. However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89–out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service–that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach–at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back. Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again. Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

Darius the Great is Not Okay, by Adib Khorram

Rep: Gay main character with depression, side character with depression

Storygraph | Goodreads

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Winner of the William C. Morris Debut Award

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.

Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.

Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.

felix ever after cover

Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender

Rep: Queer trans main character of color, various LGBTQ2s+ side characters

Goodreads | Storygraph

From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating, by Adiba Jaigirdar

Rep: bisexual Bangladeshi-Irish main character, Queer Bangladeshi-Irish main character

Goodreads | Storygraph

Everyone likes Humaira Hani Khan–she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate–Ishita Ishu Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl. 

Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

The Weight of the Stars, by K. Ancrum

Rep: lesbian main character, lesbian love interest, three polyamorous characters in a healthy relationship

Goodreads | Storygraph

Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. 

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. 

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . . 

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page. 

What are some contemporary books with LGBTQ+ representation? Have you read any of these? Chat with me in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “Seven queer YA contemporaries to read for Pride month!

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful!! A lot of LGBTQ+ book recommendations are often fantasy, and it can be difficult to find more contemporary. Of course 😁 Thank you for reading, and I hope you like the books if you read any of them!! 💕

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