- 50 must-read gay romance novels
- 50 must-read lgbt fantasy books
- this book is gay paperback – june 2, 2015
- Gay fiction books
- The best classic lgbtq+ novels
- 1. giovanni’s room, by james baldwin
- 2. the color purple, by alice walker
- 3. the price of salt, by patricia highsmith
- 4. orlando, by virginia woolf
- 5. maurice, by e.m. forster
- 6. middlesex, by jeffrey eugenides
- 7. the line of beauty, by alan hollinghurst
- 8. rubyfruit jungle, by rita mae brown
- 9. zami, by audre lorde
- 11. the city and the pillar, by gore vidal
- 12. the picture of dorian gray, by oscar wilde
- 13. city of night by john rechy
- 14. stone butch blues, by leslie feinberg
- 15. tales of the city, by armistead maupin
- 16. a boy’s own story, by edmund white
- 17. well of loneliness, by radclyffe hall
- 18. fun home, by allison bechdel
- 19. death in venice, by thomas mann
- 20. under the udala trees, by chinelo okparanta
- 21. oranges are not the only fruit, by jeanette winterson
- 22. the hours, by michael cunningham
- 23. a little life, by hanya yanagihara
- 24. tipping the velvet, by sarah waters
- 25. faggots, by larry kramer
- The line of succession by harry f. rey
- Speak no evil by uzodinma iweala
- Last place in the chalet by sue brown
- Into? by north morgan
- We are the ants by sean david hutchinson
- The front runner by patricia neil warren
- Release by patrick ness
- What if it’s us? by becky albertalli and adam silvera
- At swim, two boys by jamie o’neill
- Giovanni’s room by james baldwin
- Maurice by e.m forster
- Free spirit by spencer spears
- Boy meets boy by david levithan
- Less: a novel by andrew sean greer
- Through the valley of the nest of spiders by samuel r delany
- Ingenious by barrie farris
- Doctor daddy by aiden bates
- A single man by christopher isherwood
- A boy’s own story (the edmund trilogy book 1) by edmund white
- Dancer from the dance by andrew holleran
- The city and the pillar by gore vidal
- The cowboy’s secret by riley knight
- The clothesline swing by ahmad danny ramadan
- City of night by john rechy
- A home at the end of the world by michael cunningham
- Something like summer by jay bell
- Kiss of the spiderwoman by manuel puig
- The farewell symphony by edmund white
- Two boys kissing by david levithan
- Fatal shadows by josh lanyon
- One man guy by michael barakiva
- The lost language of cranes by david leavitt
- The miseducation of cameron post by emily m. danforth
- History is all you left me by adam silvera
- Death of a pirate king (the adrien english mysteries) by josh lanyon
- Shattered glass by dani alexander
- All out: the no-longer-secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages by saundra mitchell
- The lightning-struck heart by t.j. klune
- The picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde
- Last seen leaving by caleb roehrig
- Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli
- Caught running by madeleine urban and abigail roux
- by emily m. danforth
- by julie anne peters
- Jesse cuts her own hair with a swiss army knife. she wears big green fisherman’s boots. she’s the founding (and only) member of nolaw, the national organization to liberate all weirdos. emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. she’s vice president of the student council. she has a boyfriend.
- By gabby rivera
- by david levithan
- Proxy by alex londo
- Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli
- by kenneth logan
- Release by patrick ness
- Cut both ways by carrie mesrobian
- The gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzi lee
- by ashley herring blake
- by julie anne peters
- by kristin clark
- The art of being normal by lisa williamson
- Openly straight by bill konigsburg
- by sarah prager
- None of the above by i.w. gregorio
- Let’s talk about love by claire kann
- Beast by brie spangler
- Ramona blue by julie murphy
- by laura nowlin
- We awaken by calista lynne
- Alex as well by alyssa brugman
- The love interest by cale dietrich
- by adam silvera
- Dress codes for small towns by courtney c. stevens
- More happy than not by adam silvera
- Tactical submission by ada maria soto
- * by austin chant
- * by damon suede
- *tigers and devils by sean kennedy
- Gays of our lives by kris ripper
- *starting from scratch by jay northcote
- Shame and a disgrace by holley trent
- *for real by alexis hall
- *the nothingness of ben by brad boney
- Kings and butterflies by lina langley
- by cecil wilde
- *autumn: a crow city side story by cole mccade
- *shattered glass by dani alexander
- *king consort by j.r. gray
- Syncopation by anna zabo
- *galley proof by eric arvin
- *home by william neale
- *love me tomorrow by ethan day
- *shaking the sugar tree by nick wilgus
- Daddy, daddy, and me by sean michael
- *hearts alight by elliot cooper
- by rick r. reed
- *witches of london-lars by aleksandr voinov
- *shatterproof by xen sanders
- The alpha’s claim by holley trent
- *the lightning struck heart by t.j. klune
- Chaos station by jenn burke and kelly jensen
- *aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by benjamin alire sáenz
- by michael barakiva
- *chulito by charles rice-gonzalez
- *running with lions by julian winters
- *the love interest by cale dietrich
- by libba bray (ga)
- Dreadnought by april daniels (lt)
- Pantomine by laura lam (bti)
- Beyond binary: genderqueer and sexually fluid speculative fiction edited by brit mandelo (bt)
- City of strife by claudie arsenault (lgbtqa+)
- Love beyond body, space, and time edited by hope nicholson (lgbtq2)
- Meanwhile, elsewhere: science fiction and fantasy from transgender writers edited by cat fitzpatrick and casey plett (lgbt)
- Peter darling by austin chant (gt)
- The second mango by shira glassman (lb)
- Sea swallow me and other stories by craig laurance gidney (g)
- When fox is a thousand by larissa lai (l)
- Shyam selvadurai
- Nemat sadat
- Abdellah taia, frank stock (tr.)
- Chike frankie edozien
- Saleem haddad
- Kamal al-solaylee
- Lydia kwa
- Ahmad danny ramadan
To celebrate pride month we have LOTS of LGBTQ+ reading recommendations for you! A few weeks ago, we asked the community what books they’d recommend using the hashtag #YAPride. We had an amazing conversation about why LGBTQ+ rep is important, books that prominently feature LGBTQ+ characters, and which YA books have positively affected the LGBTQ+ community. We were so inspired by all your responses and decided to compile this list of must-read YA books featuring LGBTQ+ characters. We hope this list continues to grow each year so let us know which other books you’d like to see featured on this list!Keep scrolling for a written out list with descriptions for each book!
50 must-read gay romance novels
The world of gay romance novels is, if not quite as vast as the world of m/f romance, still quite expansive. Are you looking for a royal-commoner romance? A fake marriage? Something dark and gritty, or something that’s the literary equivalent of a basket of puppies? Whatever it is that floats your romance boat, I guarantee there’s an m/m romance out there that will satisfy.
In making this list, I’ve highlighted as many #ownvoices authors as possible. There’s a misconception that the only people who write m/m romance are straight women, and while it’s true that some of the biggest names in gay romance are straight women, there are also dozens of queer men writing fantastic gay romance. But because of the biases and shortcomings of publishing (and a slew of other complicated factors), it’s straight women who often get the most recognition in the genre.
This is not to say that straight women can’t, or shouldn’t, write gay romance novels. You’ll find several (including some of my absolute favorites!) on this list. You’ll also find many wonderful books by queer men that deserve the same praise and recognition. I’ve tried to make this list as wide-ranging as possible, and it includes books about diverse characters written by queer men and women, queer authors of color, and trans and genderqueer writers.
Over the years, these tales of queer happily ever afters have brought me much joy and comfort. Whether you’re entirely new to gay romance novels, or whether you’ve been reading them for years, I hope they’ll bring you the same delight.
Note: Books marked with an asterisk are #ownvoices, which, in this case, means that the author is a queer man. Many of the other novels on this list are #ownvoices for different reasons. I’ve chosen only to make note of books written by queer men, but it is by no means intended to erase or ignore the many other identities held by the fabulous writers who have produced these works.
50 must-read lgbt fantasy books
Who doesn’t love great LGBT fantasy books? If you’re reading this, you probably do! But they can sometimes be hard to find, particularly amongst the heterosexual and cisgender nonsense and the LGBT science fiction and fantasy lists that bury the fantasy under the science fiction. This list of must-read LGBT fantasy books is here to help! It features 50 amazing queer fantasy books, from high/epic fantasy to urban fantasy to superheroes and everywhere in between.
If you’re a fan of LGBT YA fantasy books in particular, you’re in luck: I’ve made a specific section of queer YA fantasy books just for you! There are also plenty for adults. I’ve noted what kind of LGBT+ representation can be found in each book in parentheses after the title. Enjoy and let me know in the comments what great books I dared leave off this list!
this book is gay paperback – june 2, 2015
There’s a long-running joke that, after "coming out," a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.
Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask, with topics like:
This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBTQ also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.
You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don’t) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.
Praise for This Book is Gay: A Guardian Best Book of the Year 2018 Garden State Teen Book Award Winner "The book every LGBT person would have killed for as a teenager, told in the voice of a wise best friend. Frank, warm, funny, USEFUL." ―Patrick Ness, New York Times bestselling author "This egregious gap has now been filled to a fare-thee-well by Dawson’s book."―Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
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Gay fiction books
Gay fiction books are no longer as out of reach as they seemed to be in the pre-internet and pre-surge of LGBTQIA+ media around twenty years ago.
Established and new writers of gay fiction bring us beautifully written love stories, thrillers and comedies, and some novels are being turned into blockbuster as well as inspiring Gay TV Shows.
With the rise of independent internet Gay Web Series stories seem to be never ending.
We looked across the globe for the best Gay Fiction novels out there and we’ve listed 72 of them right here:
The best classic lgbtq+ novels
Recently, Alan Hollinghurst said the gay novel is dead. “There was an urgency, a novelty to the whole thing,” said the gay authorThe Line of Beauty. “And in our culture at least those things are no longer the case.” With all due respect to Hollinghurst, it is still an urgent time to write (and read) about LGBTQ+ lives. Queer people face dangerous and deadly challenges — both in the United States and abroad — and it falls on writers to continue to bring these stories to light.
To this end, The Advocate asked the fiction nominees of the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards to nominate the best LGBTQ+ novels of all time. Oureditors then added our own selections. Spanning from the 19th century to the present day, these books demonstrate that, while much has changed for LGBTQ+ people, many struggles persist. Their words have much to offer in lessons about our history, our shared experience of being otherized, and how to address the challenges of today.
Below, see The Advocate’s ranking of the best LGBTQ+ novels ever written. Nominate your own favorites in the comments.
1. giovanni’s room, by james baldwin
Author Chavisa Woods is far from alone when calling Giovanni’s Room “masterfully written, heartbreaking.” It’s a book that has resonated with so many queer people since first being published in 1956, speaking to issues of identity even now. Woods, a Lambda :Literary Award nominee for her novel Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country, says Baldwin succeeded at “blurring the lines of hero and villain and bringing the complexity of human nature into horrifying focus.” Maybe that’s because Baldwin said the book isn’t actually about being gay. “Giovanni’s Room is not really about homosexuality,” said Baldwin in a 1980 interview about queer life. “It’s the vehicle through which the book moves. Go Tell It on the Mountain, for example, is not about a church, and Giovanni is not really about homosexuality. It’s about what happens to you if you’re afraid to love anybody.”
2. the color purple, by alice walker
A revelation when it was published in 1982, Alice Walker’s novel delves into the intersections of race, gender, family, and sexuality in Georgia circa 1930.
For all of the painful physical and sexual abuse and heartache Walker’s protagonist Celie endures at the hands of Mister, the man she’s forced to marry as an adolescent, and the violent, institutionalized racism she faces as a woman of color, the novel teems with hope and light. Epic in scope, the novel is, in part, a story of love between women —Celie’s love for her long-lost sister Nettie and for Shug Avery, the blues singer and former lover of Mister’s Celie falls for and with whom she eventually makes a home.
"An epic tale of perseverance and empowerment as well as a celebration of love in all its forms," Tailor-Made author Yolanda Wallac, said of the novel.
Of Walker’s masterpiece, Long Shadows author Kate Sherwood said, "I loved how the characters found hope (and love) despite everything standing in their way."
Steven Spielberg directed the 1985 adaptation of the film that starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey and earned several Oscar nominations.
3. the price of salt, by patricia highsmith
On the heels of her successful debut novel Strangers on a Train (with its own intimations of queerness), an encounter Patricia Highsmith had with a New Jersey socialite while working at a shopgirl at a department store became the seed for 1952’s The Price of Salt. The result, which Highsmith’s publisher forced her to publish under the pseudonym Claire Morgan at a time when a bold depiction of desire between women that eschewed the requisite tragic ending for those who transgressed could have tanked her career, would become that rare example of a lesbian-themed novel with what would prove to be a radically hopeful ending.
"A novel that is simultaneously of its time and timeless, and it holds the distinction of being the first of its kind to have a happy ending," Yolanda Wallace said of the novel. SJ Sindu, author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies, called it, "One of the first Anglophone works to challenge the trope of the sad/suicidal gays who die at the end, this book gave us a blueprint of what queer fiction could look like."
The Price of Salt’s dizzyingly erotically charged prose also telegraphed her signature sense of an ominous "menace" (in this case, the threat of being caught or found out just as the Red Scare hit the United States). Highsmith went on to write more queer-tinged fiction, including The Talented Mr. Ripley and all of the Ripley novels to follow.
The Price of Salt, of course, became the critically acclaimed Todd Haynes-helmed 2015 film Carol ,starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
4. orlando, by virginia woolf
Orlando, which Virginia Woolf wrote in tribute to friend and lover Vita Sackbville-West, is a study in gender fluidity across time and space.
The eponymous protagonist starts as a rakish young nobleman in Elizabethan England, finding favor with the queen, then falling out with her and indulging liberally in sex with a variety of women but having an intense friendship with a male poet. Later Orlando is sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, where he finds he’s become a woman, and the gender switch offers an opportunity for commentary on the limitations society places on women.
The book ends in 1928, with Orlando still a woman, with a husband and children but also a new sense of possibility, as this is the year women won full voting rights in England. And while the novel’s action spans more than 300 years, Orlando ages only 36. A well-received 1992 film version, directed by Sally Potter, featured Tilda Swinton and Quentin Crisp.
5. maurice, by e.m. forster
Although the great E.M. Forster (A Passage to India, A Room With a View, Howards End) wrote the benchmark gay novel Maurice circa 1913, it was published posthumously in 1971.
In a lush tale of manners, position, and desire, the titular character meets and falls for his classmate Clive while at Oxford. The pair embark on a two-year affair until Clive leaves Maurice to marry a woman and live out his proscribed life as part of the landed gentry, leaving Maurice in shambles and seeking to cure his homosexuality.
But Forster’s novel does not end in gay tragedy. Maurice falls in love with another man, Alec Scudder, and finally abandons his station so that they can be together. The author of Night Drop, Marshall Thornton called the novel "the original gay romance." A note found on Forster’s manuscript for Maurice, which was discovered tucked in a drawer, read “Publishable, but worth it?” Ismail Merchant and James Ivory adapted the novel to the big screen in a gorgeous film starring James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves.
6. middlesex, by jeffrey eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2002 coming-of-age story about intersex protagonist Cal Stephanides. Inspired by the 19th-century memoirs of Herculine Barbin, Middlesex incorporates elements of Greek mythology as well as Eugenides’s Greek-American upbringing to tell a groundbreaking story about gender identity in the 21st century. While Middlesex has received some criticism from the intersex community — the author does not identify as intersex, nor did he consult with those who do — the novel is undoubtedly a landmark in queer visibility. In some literary circles, it is considered a candidate for the title of the Great American Novel.
7. the line of beauty, by alan hollinghurst
Alan Hollinghurst famously questioned the future of the gay novel this year, which is striking since he’s often viewed as helping make queer books accessible to a mainstream audience. His 2004 novel broke through in a major way — The Line of Beauty won that year’s prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction.
Hollinghurt was praised for his expert command of the English language and his flawless re-creation of upper-class British society and conservative political circles of the 1980s. Hollinghurst set his pen on the sexual hypocrisies of homophobic politicians, many of whom had their own indiscretions behind closed doors. The book follows Nick Guest, a gay graduate student unofficially adopted by the family of a schoolmate. Nick gets a sneak peek at the aristocracy, while indulging in no shortage of sex and party favors; the fun comes to a crashing halt as AIDS enters the fray. Amid all the human drama, there’s an amusing and memorable cameo from the Iron Lady. "Captures a vitally important era in lovely prose" is how Night Drop’s Marshall Thornton describes Hollinghurst’s most acclaimed book.
8. rubyfruit jungle, by rita mae brown
Many queer female writers see Rita Mae Brown’s 1973 coming-of-age book as an iconic work of LGBT literature: "[I love Rubyfruit Jungle] because, well, because. I think this was the first ‘lesbian’ book I ever read! And devoured. And loved," writes The Year of Needy Girls’ Patricia Smith. Yolanda Wallace, author of Tailor-Made, tells us, "When I was a teenager questioning my sexuality, this book provided the answers I was looking for."
Semi-autobiographical, Rubyfruit Jungle follows Molly Bolt’s amorous adventures from childhood to adulthood, including a stint in swinging New York City. While Molly has sexual adventures with men, her true love is women, and Brown never shies away from describing Molly’s insatiable passion for the ladies (the title perfectly captures Molly’s zeal for female anatomy). Now assigned in many queer literature courses, Rubyfruit Jungle is brazen and brave; its frank discussion of lesbian sexuality can seem shocking to modern readers who imagine life in the early 1970s was less raunchy. Rubyfruit Jungle is a page-turning reminder that queer lust and queer sex are timeless.
9. zami, by audre lorde
"She calls it a biomythography and leads us through a heart-wrenching account of the black lesbian experience." – SJ Sindu, Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction Winner
This 1982 autobiography by the iconic queer black poet Audre Lorde is an experience of intersectionality, in a genre of intersections. Lorde classified it as biomythography, which combines history, biography, and myth.
A fierce love letter to the strength women have given her throughout her upbringing, the book explores her challenges growing up blind in 1930s Harlem, fighting for dignity in the heat of Jim Crow, and finding a voice in the New York City lesbian bar scene.
While books like The Price of Salt show lesbians walking away from motherhood, Zami celebrates the beauty of when mothers stay through the harshest of challenges.
11. the city and the pillar, by gore vidal
The City and the Pillar shocked America when it was released in 1948. The queer coming-of-age novel about Jim Willard and his search for love was the first novel from a respected writer (Gore Vidal) to speak directly and sympathetically about the gay experience in an era when homosexuality was still very much taboo. The book is remembered today for this legacy as well as for various themes — Hollywood’s glass closet, being gay in the military, the poisonous effects of homophobia on society — that still reverberate today.
12. the picture of dorian gray, by oscar wilde
The only novel by the great Oscar Wilde may not be overtly gay, but there’s plenty of gay subtext there for the careful reader – about as much gay subtext as a popular author could get away with in 1891.
Dorian’s friends Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton express intense admiration for his beauty, and passages that show Basil’s feelings for Dorian as more clearly homoerotic were excised by an editor, according to Nicholas Frankel, who edited an edition presenting Wilde’s original text in 2011.
Even the text as originally published has references to Dorian’s corruption of not only young women but young men: “There was that wretched boy in the Guards who committed suicide. You were his great friend,” Basil tells Dorian at one point. “There was Sir Henry Ashton, who had to leave England, with a tarnished name. You and he were inseparable.” “At the Wilde trials of 1895, the opposing attorneys read aloud from ‘Dorian Gray,’ calling it a ‘sodomitical’ book,” Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker in 2011. “Wilde went to prison not because he loved young men but because he flaunted that love, and ‘Dorian Gray’ became the chief exhibit of his shamelessness.”
13. city of night by john rechy
City of Night, a 1963 novel by John Rechy, is a seminal piece of fiction that follows the life of a gay hustler in New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Through stream-of-consciousness narration, the reader gets a glimpse of queer life in mid-century America, with a long and fascinating cast of characters that includes drag performers, S&M practitioners, and sex workers. The book has inspired music from the Doors as well as a film by Gus Van Sant, My Own Private Idaho. "This epic chronicle of gay culture in the American sixties is as far-reaching as it is important, giving us a glimpse into identity and motive,” affirmed SJ Sindu, the author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies.
14. stone butch blues, by leslie feinberg
Well ahead of its time, Leslie Feinberg’s 1993 Stone Butch Blues, about Jess Goldberg, a butch working-class lesbian, took massive strides in breaking down the gender binary. A story that is both hopeful in Jess’s determination to forge an identity and heartrending in its depiction of violence against her for her daring to be herself, Stone Butch Blues endures as essential to the queer canon. Feinberg, whose bio reads “writer and transgender activist,” would in later years become known more for activism, but the landmark novel about Jess’s refusal to fit into a prescribed box for gender is arguably Feinberg’s legacy.
15. tales of the city, by armistead maupin
Gay literature was forever changed the day Mary Ann Singleton first met her transgender landlady, Anna Madrigal, when she moved to San Francisco’s 28 Barbary Lane. What began as serialized stories in the San Francisco Chronicle by writer Armistead Maupin became a 1978 novel. It was followed by a Tales of the City series of books, which chronicled decades of queer life in the Golden Gate City, including the AIDS crisis. Tales of the City was adapted in 1993 into a PBS television miniseries, which starred Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis. The pair are set to reprise their roles in an upcoming Netflix adaptation, proving the enduring power of Maupin’s words.
16. a boy’s own story, by edmund white
A Boy’s Own Story is comparable to another literary classic, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The 1982 book by Edmund White, which begins with the first sexual encounter of a 15-year-old boy, is based on his own experiences coming to terms with his gay identity as a youth in the Midwestern United States. White would later write two additional novels, The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988) and The Farewell Symphony (1997), which follow his gay protagonist into young adulthood. Together, they form a poignant trilogy that chronicles a gay life in the latter half of the 20th century.
17. well of loneliness, by radclyffe hall
Integral to the lesbian canon (despite its being considered somewhat problematic) British writer Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 novel focuses on Stephen Gordon, an upper-class lesbian who dons men’s clothing and becomes a novelist who eventually becomes a part of a literary salon in Paris at a time when there were no overt laws expressly barring homosexuality. Hall’s novel was groundbreaking in her introduction of the views of “sexologists” Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis, who posited that homosexuality was an inborn, unalterable trait that was considered a congenital sexual inversion that simply meant a “difference” and not a defect. The novel also stood trial on obscenity charges both in the United Kingdom where the book was deemed obscene and ordered destroyed, and in the United States, where it was eventually banned.
18. fun home, by allison bechdel
You might not expect to see a graphic novel in this list, but iconic cartoonist (and Bechdel test namesake) Alison Bechdel always takes the less traveled road. Off the success of her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she created the deeply personal Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which touches on her dysfunctional relationship with her father through a lesbian lens. Chronicling Bechdel’s confusing childhood in rural Pennsylvania, the book took seven years to create in Bechdel’s laborious artistic process, which included photographing herself in poses that are drawn into each human figure.
This queer exploration of broken family, unraveling emotions, and suicide was a New York Times best seller, and snagged nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award and three Eisner Awards – becoming a mainstream critical and commercial success.
The book was adapted into a musical, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. When it hit Broadway in 2015, it won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
19. death in venice, by thomas mann
Some might say Death in Venice is not necessarily a gay novel, since there is no overt same-sex coupling or coitus. Others might say it’s about a man with pedophilic tendencies. Then others might say it’s brilliant.
German writer Thomas Mann crafted this novella based on his own experience in Venice, where he caught sight of a handsome young man who captivated him, body and soul. Is Aschenbach, the 50-something protagonist, just fixated on beautiful objects, where human beings and centuries-old buildings are of equal lure? Or is it something more lustful and disturbing? It’s difficult, in 2018, to divorce the rich subject of sexual desire from the fact that it revolves around a 14-year-old boy. But the novella’s legacy endures, amd it serves as an important artifact of secret desire at the turn of the 20th century.
20. under the udala trees, by chinelo okparanta
"This lyrical book is a wonderful story with a background of a civil war and a love story between two young girls on the frontlines. Wonderful book," gay refugee activist and columnist Danny Ramadan raves about the global-minded story.
The book unpacks the emotional life of a young girl displaced by the Nigerian civil war who begins a gut-wrenching affair with a fellow refugee. These girls are from different ethnic communities, forcing them to face not only the taboos of being queer but the prejudices of surviving in a nation that is eating itself alive.
"A great recollection of everything anyone would say in Nigeria against homosexuality using the defense of religion," explains David Nnanna Ikpo, the Nigerian author of Fimisile Forever.
21. oranges are not the only fruit, by jeanette winterson
Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, published in 1985, is a semiautobiographical coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in a Pentecostal family in England’s industrial Midlands region.
Winterson captures the weirdness of religious zealotry with the authority of someone who’s lived in this environment, and her portrayal of the young woman’s burgeoning lesbian sexuality – problematic in the Pentecostal world – rings true as well. Quirky and memorable secondary characters further enhance the novel, which made Winterson a literary star overnight, esteemed by both readers and fellow authors.
“A beautiful piece of fiction, this novel takes us through the complicated relationship between religion and LGBTQ+ identity.”, says SJ Sindu, the prize-winning author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies.
22. the hours, by michael cunningham
Cunningham’s 1998 novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, tells three parallel stories involving queer characters in different times and places.
In England in the 1920s, Virginia Woolf struggles with depression and writing Mrs. Dalloway, a novel to which Cunningham pays homage; in mid-20th-century Los Angeles, housewife Laura Brown, discontented with her life, confronts her attraction to women; and in 1990s New York City, Clarissa Vaughan, who is lesbian, plans a party for her best friend, writer Richard Brown, a gay man dying of AIDS.
Cunningham weaves their stories together seamlessly and movingly in a novel that is deservedly recognized as a modern classic.
The 2002 film adaptation, written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, received several Oscar nominations, and Nicole Kidman won Best Actress for her portrayal of Woolf. It costarred Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Ed Harris.
23. a little life, by hanya yanagihara
In 2015, when the novel was published, reviewer and author Garth Greenwell declared in The Atlantic, A Little Life: The Great Gay Novel Might Be Here.” Hanya Yanagihara’s story of four friends — Jude, Malcolm, JB, and Willem — lasts over 700 pages as you witness the evolution of friendship and love between these men who met in college. We follow them for three decades, withstanding alongside them the waves of trauma that life so often sends. The friends survive together, as described in intensely vulnerable detail. Yanagihara talked with The Guardian about friendship and hardship. “We might all have had that feeling: as a friend, what is my responsibility to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? Or tell someone to keep living when they don’t want to live?” Gay men are often blindsided by A Little Life’s penetrating clarity about what binds them or drives them apart.
24. tipping the velvet, by sarah waters
Sarah Waters’s 1998 page-turner is the coming-of-age story of Nan, a Whitstable “oyster girl” (talk about a euphemism) circa 1890 who, upon taking in a show in her local theater, becomes smitten with the charismatic masher (male impersonator) Kitty. Waters’s heroine follows Kitty to London, where the more experienced woman schools Nan in the ways of impersonating a dapper dandy onstage.
The pair begin performing as men together and become the toast of London’s music halls while simultaneously falling in love. Heartbreak eventually ensues and Nan is left to her own defenses on the streets in the big city. She dabbles in sex work to survive before she becomes a boy-toy for a wealthy older lesbian renowned for throwing Bacchanalian gatherings of women. Finally, though, without the trappings of a male alter ego, Nan comes into her own.
The book, an immediate smash with queer women for its frank depiction of lesbian desire and of flirting with gender roles, was made into a 2002 BBC miniseries that reinvigorated interest in the novel, which won the Lambda Literary Award and earned a place on the New York Times list of notable books the year it was published.
"Love the sensuousness of it, the unapologetic portrayal of Nan—the sex scenes," said Patty Smith, author of The Year of Needy Girls.
25. faggots, by larry kramer
Larry Kramer, a founder of ACT UP and the playwright of The Normal Heart, may be known for his vocal AIDS activism. But his 1978 novel, Faggots, was also a loud statement that portrayed the hedonism of gay New York City. The book features a cast of dozens of gay men, who variously engage in bathhouse orgies, use a slew of party drugs, and cavort in clubs with names like The Toilet Bowl and Fire Island. The book was condemned by numerous LGBT people upon its release for what many perceived as sex-negativity. But the ensuing AIDS crisis established Faggots as a bellwether of the storm to come.
The line of succession by harry f. rey
Families are built on secrets, but when it’s the royal family, the stakes-and the secrets-can be deadly. Fifteen years ago, Prince James’s father, Prince Richard, was killed in a mysterious helicopter crash, along with his secret Irish lover. The young James became heir to the British throne over his twin sister, Princess Alexandra. With Queen Victoria II turning ninety, James’s personal life, now that he’s thirty, has come more into the public spotlight as he’s expected to marry and produce an heir.
Known for his playboy lifestyle, he’d gladly accept that reputation to hide the truth that he’s gay and in a secret long-term relationship with his best friend and press secretary, Andrew. His twin sister knows his secret and plans to use it to create a scandal that will help her take the crown for herself, but her plans rely on trust, and she will soon learn her allies are not as trustworthy as she thought. Will James win his throne, while keeping the love of his life? Or will the monarchy topple in the face of naked ambition and public scandal? The Line of Succession is a 38,000-word erotic romantic drama. If you love TV’s The Crown or The Royals, then you’ll love this deliciously sly royal drama filled with sex, secrets, and lies. Buy The Line of Succession now and dive into a royal family of secret gay lovers, ambitious lusts for power, passions for revenge, and hidden secrets that will shake the monarchy to its very core. This isn’t your real-life fairy-tale wedding; this is a royal family at war.
Speak no evil by uzodinma iweala
A revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences. On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.
When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.
Last place in the chalet by sue brown
Noel Garrett leaves for his Christmas vacation with an engagement ring in his pocket. But he boards the plane alone and with a broken heart when his boyfriend dumps him in the airport.
His seatmate, Angel Marinelli, takes care of him with gentle determination… whether Noel wants it or not, and Noel doesn’t expect to see Angel again. But when an overbooking leaves Angel without a room and Noel is asked to host him, one night turns into the whole vacation and they settle into the chalet and mix with an eclectic group of guests, including the Wise Guys and a pregnant woman. As they ski and spend every moment together, Noel finds himself falling for Angel, and though his feelings are returned, Noel worries it’s just a rebound romance. It’ll mean taking a leap of faith, but Noel has to make a decision before he hurts Angel, and Christmas is fast approaching.
Into? by north morgan
In Into? North Morgan shines a coolly mesmerizing light on the modern generation of gay men that are living firmly outside the closet, elevated by popular culture, but plagued by a new set of problems, insecurities, and self-destruction. As the men of Into? swipe right from bed to bed, North Morgan spins a darkly hilarious, and shockingly perceptive story of excess and love that’s like nothing you’ve ever read. You know Konrad from your various social feeds – sun-kissed, gym ripped, and always having a better time than you. Or is he?
Konrad Platt needed to get out of town. Heartbroken after his boyfriend left him for another man, Konrad abandoned his life in London for the warm sun and blue surf of LA. Here he attends parties in the Hollywood Hills filled with handsome men and beautiful women, snorts mountains of Adderall, and dances the weekends away at Coachella with each move endlessly documented on social media. He mends his broken heart through dating apps, constantly scrolling through profiles and chatting with a seemingly endless supply of men, each one more handsome than the last. But when one captures his heart, a twisted modern romance takes root that’s thrilling, confusing, and devastating – revealing that underneath this perfectly curated profile is a man desperate for real connection.
We are the ants by sean david hutchinson
From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes an “equal parts sarcastic and profound” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving. 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 to push a big red button.
Only he isn’t sure he wants to. After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year. Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him. But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.
The front runner by patricia neil warren
The Front Runner is a 1974 novel by Patricia Nell Warren. The story centers on Harlan Brown who is a tough, conservative track coach hiding from his past at a small college. Billy Sive is a brilliant young runner who is homosexual and doesn’t mind who knows it. When they fall in love, they enter a race against hate and prejudice which takes them to the ’76 Olympics and a shattering, shocking conclusion.
With 10 million copies in 7 languages, this landmark classic is the most popular gay love story of all time. Wildcat Press presents the 20th Anniversary bear-magazine.com Front Runner is noted for being the first contemporary gay novel to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success.
Release by patrick ness
Inspired by , Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches.
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, romance, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.
What if it’s us? by becky albertalli and adam silvera
A New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller! Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.
ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ? Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited. But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs? What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is? What if it’s us?
At swim, two boys by jamie o’neill
Praised as “a work of wild, vaulting ambition and achievement” by , Jamie O’Neill’s first novel invites comparison to such literary greats as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Charles Dickens.
Set during the year preceding the Easter Uprising of 1916—Ireland’s brave but fractured revolt against British rule— is a tender, tragic love story and a brilliant depiction of people caught in the tide of history. Powerful and artful, and ten years in the writing, it is a masterwork from Jamie O’Neill.
Jim Mack is a naïve young scholar and the son of a foolish, aspiring shopkeeper. Doyler Doyle is the rough-diamond son—revolutionary and blasphemous—of Mr. Mack’s old army pal. Out at the Forty Foot, that great jut of rock where gentlemen bathe in the nude, the two boys make a pact: Doyler will teach Jim to swim, and in a year, on Easter of 1916, they will swim to the distant beacon of Muglins Rock and claim that island for themselves. All the while Mr. Mack, who has grand plans for a corner shop empire, remains unaware of the depth of the boys’ friendship and of the changing landscape of a nation.
Giovanni’s room by james baldwin
A gay fiction classic, Giovanni’s Room is a 1956 novel that centers on the events in the life of an American man living in Paris.
The book explores his feelings and frustrations with his relationships with other men in his life, particularly an Italian bartender named Giovanni whom he meets at a Parisian gay bar.
Maurice by e.m forster
Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life, this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. We follow him through public school and Cambridge, and into his father’s firm. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way―except that he is homosexual.
Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after Howards End, and not published until 1971, Maurice was ahead of its time in its theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy. “Happiness,” Forster wrote, “is its keynote…. In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture, I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him.”
Maurice has also been made into a movie which made our list of our Best Gay Movies.
Free spirit by spencer spears
He’s my fake boyfriend and I’m straight. So why do I suddenly want more? Tate: I’m everything people hate— Spoiled, arrogant heir to a billion-dollar fortune. Scion of a family that made its name opposing LGBTQ+ rights. The last thing I expected to develop was a conscience.
I blame Emory Murphy—the golden-haired mess of a dreamer who turned my life upside down. Somehow, I agree to pretend to be Em’s boyfriend for his brother’s wedding. Somehow, I don’t realize this means we’ll share a bed. Somehow, I find myself kissing him. More than kissing him. And liking it. How do you go back to being friends after that? Hey, wanna grab some beers and forget about the time I had my mouth around your— Yeah. Not happening. With my family calling me home, I need to put this all behind me. But try as I might, I can’t get Em out of my mind. He has no idea that I’m really falling for him. And my family has no idea who I really am. I just want to feel free for once in my life— But am I brave enough to tell either of them the truth? Free Spirit is a 122,000-word m/m romance that’s got more sweetness than sunshine and peaches, more angsty pining than a coniferous forest, and more steam than a south Georgia summer night. Fake boyfriends, discovering bisexuality, and out-for-you themes. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed HEA.
Boy meets boy by david levithan
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
Less: a novel by andrew sean greer
Who says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. : You accept them all.
shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.
Through the valley of the nest of spiders by samuel r delany
Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders—explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking—propels readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and women, a network of rural gay relations—with the twist that this one is supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, started in the early 1980s by a black multi-millionaire, Robert Kyle III, to improve the lives of black gay men.
In 2007, days before his seventeenth birthday, Eric Jeffers’ stepfather brings him to live with his mother, who works as a waitress in the foundering tourist town of Diamond Harbor on the Georgia coast. In the local truck stop restroom, on his first day, Eric meets nineteen-year-old Morgan Haskell, as well as half a dozen other gay men who live and work in the area. The boys become a couple, and for the next twenty years labor as garbage men along the coast, sharing their lives and their lovers, learning to negotiate a committed open relationship. For a decade they manage a rural movie theater that shows pornographic films and encourages gay activity among the audience. Finally, they become handymen for a burgeoning lesbian art colony on nearby Gillead Island, as America moves twenty years, forty years, sixty years into a future fascinating, glorious, and—sometimes—terrifying.
Ingenious by barrie farris
Welcome to the Triangle, where a man’s greatest asset is his ability to breed. In a dystopian world ruled by women, brilliant but awkward Cadet Quiggs Fallon has a bright future. Academically gifted with a brain like the ancestors, he’s well on his way to figuring out how to kill the vines overtaking the land, earning him—a male—an unheard-of seat in the Assembly of Ruling Mothers. And with inheritance and an impeccable pedigree, he’s guaranteed his pick of virgins to marry after graduation from the academy.
Instead, one moment changes everything. Caught in a compromising position with his loyal-to-a-fault friend Beau, a half-breed feral, his plans are derailed. Now Quiggs’s life depends on the gorgeous soldier who saves him. Their forbidden attraction burns hotter than Quiggs’s new fuel paste as political intrigue, danger, and the rules of society threaten their lives, and their budding romance. Now it’s a battle to save the world as they know it . . . or create a new one.
Adventure, science fiction, and scorching hot m/m romance come together in a slow burn that heats up with every unexpected twist and turn in this first book of the Ingenious series.
Warning: For readers 18 and older. Contains emotionally charged, explicit m/m love. Look elsewhere if you want horny heroes jumping into bed by the second chapter. If you want a plot with steamy sex only when a scene justifies it, this sci-fi is written for you. But, yeah, there are plenty of totally justified, smoking hot scenes.
Doctor daddy by aiden bates
Sixteen years ago, I lost the love of my life. Callum was everything to me, right up until a twist of fate tore us apart. After that, I thought Cal was out of my life good. But I thought wrong. Now, Cal’s back, and he only wants one thing from me: a baby.
Talk about a curveball, right? It might have been if I didn’t happen to run the best fertility clinic in the city. Even though I know Cal and I are still over, I’d never dream of denying him the chance to become a father. Even though having a baby is the last thing on my mind. Even though the sperm donor he ends up choosing bears a striking number of similarities to, well… me. But if I thought hooking my favorite ex-boyfriend up with some premium baby batter was going to be the end of it, turns out I’m wrong again. Sparks are flying between Cal and I, and the hotter the flames of passion burn between us, the more complicated the story gets. See, Cal isn’t my only ex. When my psychopathic, baby-crazy former boyfriend learns that Cal and I might have a chance together, he’ll stop at nothing to break us up all over again. But that’s the thing about love: sometimes, the harder the universe pulls you away from each other, the closer you become. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect Cal and his baby, whether it’s mine or not. This time, Cal’s mine, and he’s staying that way. I’m not making the same mistake twice.
A single man by christopher isherwood
When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, determined to persist in the routines of his daily life.
An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the true textures of life itself.
A boy’s own story (the edmund trilogy book 1) by edmund white
Originally published in 1982 as the first of Edmund White’s trilogy of autobiographical novels, became an instant classic for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality.
The book’s unnamed narrator, growing up during the 1950s, is beset by aloof parents, a cruel sister, and relentless mocking from his peers, compelling him to seek out works of art and literature as solace-and to uncover new relationships in the struggle to embrace his own sexuality. Lyrical and poignant, with powerful evocations of shame and yearning, this is an American literary treasure.
Dancer from the dance by andrew holleran
One of the most important works of gay literature, this haunting, brilliant novel is a seriocomic remembrance of things past — and still poignantly present. It depicts the adventures of Malone, a beautiful young man searching for love amid New York’s emerging gay scene. From Manhattan’s Everard Baths and after-hours discos to Fire Island’s deserted parks and lavish orgies, Malone looks high and low for meaningful companionship.
The person he finds is Sutherland and one of the most memorable literary creations of contemporary fiction. Hilarious, witty, and ultimately heartbreaking, Dancer from the Dance is truthful, provocative, outrageous fiction told in a voice as close to laughter as to tears.
The city and the pillar by gore vidal
A literary stands as a landmark novel of the gay experience.
Jim, a handsome, all-American athlete, has always been shy around girls. But when he and his best friend, Bob, partake in “awful kid stuff,” the experience forms Jim’s ideal of spiritual completion. Defying his parents’ expectations, Jim strikes out on his own, hoping to find Bob and rekindle their amorous friendship. Along the way, he struggles with what he feels is his unique bond with Bob and with his persistent attraction to other men. Upon finally encountering Bob years later, the force of his hopes for a life together leads to a devastating climax. The first novel of its kind to appear on the American literary landscape, remains a forthright and uncompromising portrayal of romantic relationships between men.
The cowboy’s secret by riley knight
Bobcat Ranch is struggling. Since the illness of his father, Malcolm is trying to keep the ranch in business and hold onto the family property–as he promised his father he would. But his brothers want to sell, and they send Kyle, an up-and-coming lawyer to try to convince him to let the farm go.
Their scheme doesn’t quite go as planned because Malcolm has a secret hidden away in his heart–one only Kyle has the key to unlock. This gay cowboy romance is for adults only–you won’t regret giving love a try.
The clothesline swing by ahmad danny ramadan
The Clothesline Swing is a journey through the troublesome aftermath of the Arab Spring. A former Syrian refugee himself, Ramadan unveils an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt, and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.
Inspired by Arabian Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, The Clothesline Swing tells the epic story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, keeping life in a forward motion by relaying remembered fables to his dying partner. Each night he weaves stories of his childhood in Damascus, of the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, of leaving home, of war, of his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile Death himself, in his dark cloak, shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.
City of night by john rechy
When John Rechy’s explosive first novel, , was first published in 1963, it became a national bestseller and ushered in a new era of gay fiction. Bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution, Rechy is equally unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “Youngman” and his restless search for self-knowledge.
As the narrator careens from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at a neon-lit life on the edge. Said James Baldwin of the author, “Rechy is the most arresting young writer I’ve read in a very long time. His tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own; and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful reckless.”
A home at the end of the world by michael cunningham
From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of , comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate.
In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city’s wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father Clare’s child. Then, when Clare and Bobby have a baby, the three move to a small house upstate to raise “their” child together and, with an odd friend, Alice, create a new kind of family. masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.
Something like summer by jay bell
Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change. The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple.
If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart. Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.
Kiss of the spiderwoman by manuel puig
is a graceful, intensely compelling gay fiction novel about love and victimization. In an Argentine prison, two men share a cell: Molina, a gay window dresser who is self-centered, self-denigrating, yet charming as well; and Valentin, an articulate, fiercely dogmatic revolutionary haunted by memories of a woman he left for the cause.
Both are gradually transformed by their guarded but growing friendship and by Molina’s obsession with the fantasy and romance of the movies.
The farewell symphony by edmund white
Named for the work by Haydn in which the instrumentalists leave the stage one after another until only a single violin remains playing, this is the story of a man who has outlived most of his friends. Having reached the six-month anniversary of his lover’s death, he embarks on a journey of remembrance that will recount his struggle to become a writer and his discovery of what it means to be a gay man.
His witty, conversational narrative transports us from the 1960s to the near-present, from starkly scenes in the back rooms of New York clubs to episodes of rarefied hilarity in the salons of Paris to moments of family truth in the American Midwest. Along the way, a breathtaking variety of personal connections–and near misses–slowly builds an awareness of the transformative power of genuine friendship, of love and loss, culminating in an indelible experience with a dying man. And as the flow of memory carries us across time, space, and society, one man’s magnificently realized story grows to encompass an entire generation.
Sublimely funny yet elegiac, full of unsparingly trenchant social observation yet infused with wisdom and a deeply felt compassion, is a triumph of reflection and expressive elegance. It is also a stunning and wholly original panorama of gay life over the past thirty years–the crowning achievement of one of our finest writers.
Two boys kissing by david levithan
bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.
While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of dating sites while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
Fatal shadows by josh lanyon
Adrien English runs a small bookstore in Pasadena, which is reputed to have the largest collection of gay and gothic whodunnits around.
But mystery invades his own life one morning when his best friend is found stabbed to death and he is seen as the most likely suspect.
One man guy by michael barakiva
Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.
Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.
The lost language of cranes by david leavitt
David Leavitt’s extraordinary first novel, now reissued in paperback, is a seminal work about family, sexual identity, home, and loss.
Set in the 1980s against the backdrop of a swiftly gentrifying Manhattan, The Lost Language of Cranes tells the story of twenty-five-year-old Philip, who realizes he must come out to his parents after falling in love for the first time with a man. Philip’s parents are facing their own crisis: pressure from developers and the loss of their longtime home. But the real threat to this family is Philip’s father’s own struggle with his latent homosexuality, realized only in his Sunday afternoon visits to gay theaters. Philip’s admission to his parents and his father’s hidden life provoke changes that forever alter the landscape of their worlds.
The miseducation of cameron post by emily m. danforth
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a coming-of-age teen novel by Emily M. Danforth published in 2012.
The novel’s protagonist is Cameron Post, a 12-year-old Montana girl who is discovering her own homosexuality. After her parents die in a car crash, she is sent to live with her conservative aunt.
History is all you left me by adam silvera
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes.
Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
Death of a pirate king (the adrien english mysteries) by josh lanyon
Gay bookseller and reluctant amateur sleuth Adrien English’s writing career is suddenly taking off. His first novel, Murder Will Out, has been optioned by notorious Hollywood actor Paul Kane.
But when murder makes an appearance at a dinner party, who should be called in but Adrien’s former lover, handsome closeted detective Jake Riordan, now a Lieutenant with LAPD — which may just drive Adrien’s new boyfriend, handsome UCLA professor Guy Snowden, to commit a murder of his own.
Shattered glass by dani alexander
A gay man, a mangy cat, a murder, and a maniacal mix-up that threatens his career, his impending marriage, and his life. Nothing is going as planned for Austin Glass.
Austin—seems to have it all. At least on the surface. A loving fiancee. A future with the FBI and a healthy sized trust fund. He also has a grin and a wisecrack for every situation. But the smile he presents to everyone hides a painful past he’s buried too deeply to remember. And his quips mask bitterness and insecurity. Austin has himself and most of the whole world fooled. Until he meets someone who immediately sees him better than he sees himself. As events unfold and Austin’s world unravels, he finds himself pushed into making quick life-changing decisions. But can he trust Peter or what’s happening between them when each meeting seems to be just a series of volatile reactions?
All out: the no-longer-secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages by saundra mitchell
Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love, and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.
From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.
The lightning-struck heart by t.j. klune
Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by bear-magazine.com course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king’s wizard, Morgan of Shadows.
When Sam’s 14, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of bear-magazine.com 15, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle – Knight Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.Naturally, it all goes to hell when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the king sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never bear-magazine.com, so he thinks.
The picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde
Oscar Wilde’s only novel depicts a story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in .”
Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
Last seen leaving by caleb roehrig
Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. One of the features on our list of gay movies, ‘Love, Simon’, was inspired by this novel.
Caught running by madeleine urban and abigail roux
A recent gay fiction book. Ten years after graduation, Jake “the jock” Campbell and Brandon “the nerd” Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake’s baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they’d ever expected.
High school is all about image, even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better. Read a full chapter excerpt at bear-magazine.com
by emily m. danforth
Set in rural Montana in the early 1990s, emily m. danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a powerful and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel in the tradition of the classic Annie on My Mind.Cameron Post feels a mix of guilt and relief when her parents die in a car accident. Their deaths mean they will never learn the truth she eventually comes to—that she’s gay. Orphaned, Cameron comes to live with her old-fashioned grandmother and ultraconservative aunt Ruth. There she falls in love with her best friend, a beautiful cowgirl. When she’s eventually outed, her aunt sends her to God’s Promise, a religious conversion camp that is supposed to “cure” her homosexuality. At the camp, Cameron comes face to face with the cost of denying her true identity.
by julie anne peters
With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship?This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.
Jesse cuts her own hair with a swiss army knife. she wears big green fisherman’s boots. she’s the founding (and only) member of nolaw, the national organization to liberate all weirdos. emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. she’s vice president of the student council. she has a boyfriend.
These two girls have nothing in common, except the passionate “private time” they share every Tuesday afternoon. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what’s more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?
By gabby rivera
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding bear-magazine.com Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
by david levithan
bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to bear-magazine.com the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
Proxy by alex londo
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to bear-magazine.com is a Proxy. His life is not his bear-magazine.com again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.
by kenneth logan
If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student, and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree bear-magazine.com whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world—letters he never intends to send—he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s his friend, a boy, who lingers in his bear-magazine.com’s secret letters are his safe space—but his truth can’t stay hidden for long. Will he come clean to his parents, his teammates, and himself, or is he destined to live a life of fiction?This heartfelt debut novel explores the muddy landscape of truth and lies and lays bare the sometimes painful but often hopeful work of writing one’s own authentic story.
Release by patrick ness
Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart. At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, bear-magazine.com all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the bear-magazine.com the New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a raw, darkly funny, and deeply affecting story about the courage it takes to live your truth.
Cut both ways by carrie mesrobian
It took Will Caynes seventeen years to have his first kiss. He should be ecstatic…except that it was with his best friend, Angus, while they were both drunk and stoned. Will’s not gay, but he did sort of enjoy whatever it was he felt with Angus. Unsettled by his growing interest in Angus, Will avoids his friend and even starts dating a sophomore, Brandy. When he’s hooking up with her, he’s totally into it, so he must be straight, right? Then why does he secretly keep going back to Angus?Confusing as Will’s feelings are, they’re a welcome distraction from his complicated home life. His father has started drinking earlier each day when he should be working on never-ending house renovations. And his mom—divorced and living in a McMansion with her new husband—isn’t much help, unless she’s buying Will a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need. Between the two of them, neither feels like much of a parent—which leaves Will on his own in figuring things out with his girlfriend and best friend. He loves them both, but deciding who to be with will ultimately hurt someone. Himself, probably the most.
The gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzi lee
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the bear-magazine.com “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, bear-magazine.com Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he bear-magazine.com, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
by ashley herring blake
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s bear-magazine.com attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
by julie anne peters
Regan’s brother Liam can’t stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister’s clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam’s family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives?Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen’s struggle for self-identity and acceptance.
by kristin clark
From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?In razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.
The art of being normal by lisa williamson
Two boys. Two bear-magazine.com Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a bear-magazine.com the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that bear-magazine.com Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…
Openly straight by bill konigsburg
Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to bear-magazine.com, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single bear-magazine.com when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.
by sarah prager
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of bear-magazine.com author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every bear-magazine.com turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.
None of the above by i.w. gregorio
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with bear-magazine.com Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
Let’s talk about love by claire kann
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, bear-magazine.com then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!)bear-magazine.com her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.
Beast by brie spangler
Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for bear-magazine.com vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
Ramona blue by julie murphy
Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life bear-magazine.com then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than bear-magazine.com return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.
by laura nowlin
Bandmate, best friend or boyfriend? For Ramona, one choice could mean losing them all. Ramona and Sam are best friends. She fell for him the moment they met, but their friendship is just too important for her to mess up. Sam loves Ramona, but he would never expect her to feel the same way–she’s too quirky and cool for someone like him. Together, they have a band, and put all of their feelings for each other into bear-magazine.com Ramona and Sam meet Tom. He’s their band’s missing piece, and before Ramona knows it, she’s falling for him. But she hasn’t fallen out of love with Sam either. How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?
We awaken by calista lynne
Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is bear-magazine.com then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
Alex as well by alyssa brugman
What do you do when everybody says you’re someone you’re not? Alex wants change. Massive change. More radical than you could imagine. Her mother is not happy, in fact she’s imploding. Her dad walked bear-magazine.com has turned vegetarian, ditched one school, enrolled in another, thrown out her clothes. And created a new identity. An identity that changes her bear-magazine.com Alex—the other Alex—has a lot to say about bear-magazine.com As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience—of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong. Alex is a strong, vulnerable, confident, shy and determined character, one you will never bear-magazine.com the same tenderness and insight as YA stars such as John Green and David Levithan, Alyssa Brugman has crafted a knockout story about identity, sexuality and family that speaks effortlessly to a universal teen experience.
The love interest by cale dietrich
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable bear-magazine.com is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will bear-magazine.com the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
by adam silvera
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off bear-magazine.com make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him bear-magazine.com Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
Dress codes for small towns by courtney c. stevens
Billie McCaffrey is always starting things. Like couches constructed of newspapers and two-by-fours. Like costumes made of aluminum cans and Starburst wrappers. Like trouble. This year, however, trouble comes looking for her. Her best friends, a group she calls the Hexagon, have always been schemers. They scheme for kicks and giggles. What happens when you microwave a sock? They scheme to change their small town of Otters Holt, Kentucky, for the better. Why not campaign to save the annual Harvest Festival we love so much? They scheme because they need to scheme. How can we get the most unlikely candidate elected to the town’s highest honor? But when they start scheming about love, things go bear-magazine.com Otters Holt, love has been deﬁned only one way—girl and boy fall in love, get married, and buy a Buick, and there’s sex in there somewhere. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple. Can the Hexagon, her parents, and the town she calls home handle the real Billie McCaffrey?
More happy than not by adam silvera
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting bear-magazine.com Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly bear-magazine.com does happiness have to be so hard?
That’s it for this list but there are many more LGBTQ+ YA books out there! Which ones do you recommend? Join the conversation by using #YAPride
Tactical submission by ada maria soto
MCs: a gay SWAT commander who’s mostly in the closet about being kinky and submissive and a bisexual, polyamorous kinky doctor who works for the coroner’s office.Setting: L.A. CountyTropes/themes/secondary plot: BDSM, polyamory, characters dealing with PTSD, lots of on-the-page sex (this one is definitely erotic romance)bear-magazine.com bisexual, polyamorous MC
* by austin chant
MCs: an intern at a political campaign, just out of college and stunned he’s landed his dream job, but also dealing with the stress of being out and trans in a not-very-supportive workplace and the somewhat prickly and uptight campaign strategist who actually ends up being super charming and kind.Setting: the offices of a political campaign somewhere in contemporary AmericaTropes/themes/secondary plot: workplace romance; the MC dealing with transphobia from coworkers (but not the love interest); some fun behind-the-scenes political campaign bear-magazine.com trans MC, bisexual MC
* by damon suede
MCs: two lifelong best friends and Brooklyn firefighters (who may or may not have been hiding their feelings for each other for years) who decide to work as models for a gay porn website because one of them is basically broke.Setting: Brooklyn post-9/11Tropes/themes/secondary plot: friends to lovers; total hilarity; a satisfying and authentic secondary cast of friends and family; tasty homemade Italian food described in bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*tigers and devils by sean kennedy
MCs: a famous football player who’s spent his life in the closet and a mega football fan who is also kinda lonely and runs an independent film festival.Setting: Melbourne, AustraliaTropes/themes/secondary plot: sports romance; lots of angst; celebrity romance; characters dealing with homophobia (from the public and in their families); a wonderful and heartwarming collection of friends and chosen family surrounding both bear-magazine.com gay MCs
Gays of our lives by kris ripper
MCs: a somewhat grumpy recluse who has MS, which sometimes means his body does not act as he wants it to, and a super cheerful, open and not-at-all grumpy artist/hipster.Setting: Oakland/Bay AreaTropes/themes/secondary plot: adorable opposites-attract romance; a character that deals with chronic illness on a daily basis, especially as his illness pertains to sex; BDSM; a strong sense of queer community and queer bear-magazine.com disabled MC
*starting from scratch by jay northcote
MCs: a quiet trans college student who’s just returned to university after transitioning and the outgoing ex of one of his friends.Setting: Plymouth, EnglandTropes/themes/secondary plot: college romance; authentic and sweet depiction of friendship among young gay university students; some downright adorable and geeky board game bear-magazine.com trans MC
Shame and a disgrace by holley trent
MCs: a pharmaceutical sales rep who’s just dumped his much younger boyfriend who he thinks is too young to settle down and commit, and the much younger boyfriend, who is determined to win back the love of his life.Setting: New OrleansTropes/themes/secondary plot: second chance romance; age bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*for real by alexis hall
MCs: a thirty-something trauma doctor and submissive who’s getting tired of the BDSM scene he’s been a part of for so long and a 19-year-old line cook who is just coming out as kinky and dominant.Setting: LondonTropes/themes/secondary plot: age gap romance; BDSM; lots of angst surrounding the MCs emotional openness; a strong circle of friends and chosen family; a slow-burn romance; a fair bit of on-the-page bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*the nothingness of ben by brad boney
MCs: a rising hotshot lawyer who is forced to return home to care for his three teenage brothers after his father dies and his next-door, small-town, openhearted neighbor.Setting: Austin, TXTropes/themes/secondary plot: parenting; characters dealing with grief; family bear-magazine.com gay MCs
Kings and butterflies by lina langley
MCs: the owner of an inn on one of the most popular seaside resort boardwalks in the world and a mysterious guest who offers him $10,00 in cash to stay for a week and then disappears.Setting: a fancy seaside resort townTropes/themes/secondary plot: lots of fun food-related details; a love interest who is a mysterious stranger; a very sweet section where the MCs are apart geographically and connect online; some bear-magazine.com bisexual MC
by cecil wilde
MCs: a famous billionaire and a charmingly grumpy art student.Setting: California and a cabin in OregonTropes/themes/secondary plot: May/December romance; billionaire romance; wonderful cast of supporting characters (mostly trans); characters dealing with dysphoria and transphobia who hold each other and support each other in truly wonderful ways; very little angst. Rep: trans MC, genderqueer MC, bisexual MCs
*autumn: a crow city side story by cole mccade
MCs: a forty-something man grieving the kidnapping of his niece and the man he’s always loved, who happens to be his sister’s ex-husband and the father of his niece.Setting: Crow City (fictional)Tropes/themes/secondary plot: characters dealing with grief and loss; enemies-to-lovers; a lot of emotional baggage; dark themes including bear-magazine.com disabled MC, bisexual MC
*shattered glass by dani alexander
MCs: a detective who’s about to get married and has dreamed his whole life of joining the FBI and a waiter he meets one day at a diner who turns out to be a whole lot more than he seems.Setting: Denver, COTropes/themes/secondary plot: age gap romance; murder mystery; lots of drama and angst and situations where characters frequently in danger; a fantastic supporting cast of friends and bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*king consort by j.r. gray
MCs: a prince and heir to the throne of England and a paparazzi photographer with whom, against his better judgment, he shares a one-night stand.Setting: Toronto and LondonTropes/themes/secondary plot: royal/commoner romance; a character dealing with being closeted due to his position (English royalty); fantastic supporting characters (especially the MC’s grandmother, the Queen); bear-magazine.com gay MCs
Syncopation by anna zabo
MCs: the lead singer of a rock band and the man who joins them as their new drummer after a scandalSetting: various locales in contemporary America (the band tours throughout the book)Tropes/themes/secondary plot: musician/rock band romance; BDSM; characters dealing with trauma; complex secondary characters/bandmates that form a wonderful queer chosen bear-magazine.com pansexual aromantic MC
*galley proof by eric arvin
MCs: a fiction writer and the editor of his latest book.Setting: small town America and ItalyTropes/themes/secondary plot: snarky, hilarious first-person narration; a great supporting cast including the MCs mom and best friend/roommate; engaging depictions of small town bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*home by william neale
MCs: an ad exec who returns to his hometown after the death of his father and the man who bullied him in high school, now the deputy chief of police.Setting: small-town Southern AmericanTropes/themes/secondary plot: characters who share a past traumatic relationship (which involved one MC bullying the other); a stalker situation; a return-to-hometown romance; characters dealing with homophobia from various bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*love me tomorrow by ethan day
MCs: an event planner and a paramedic (who also happens to be the brother of his newest, most important client).Setting: Wilde City (fictional)Tropes/themes/secondary plot: a man working to build up his business and the challenges he faces; a love interest in an existing relationship; a cast of endearing supporting bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*shaking the sugar tree by nick wilgus
MCs: a single dad and failed writer struggling to make ends meet and a nurse who recently moved to Mississippi from Boston.Setting: MississippiTropes/themes/secondary plot: parenting; complicated family dynamics; lots of interesting supporting characters; a lot of emotional backstory; characters dealing with various bear-magazine.com gay MCs, deaf secondary character (the son of one of the MCs)
Daddy, daddy, and me by sean michael
MCs: a single dad who finds himself raising his biological kids after his best friend, to whom he donated sperm, dies and a young man who just finished his degree in early childhood education and is looking for a nannying job.Setting: OntarioTropes/themes/secondary plot: parenting; fantastic depiction of queer family building; an adorable meet-cute (involving screaming children); almost no bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*hearts alight by elliot cooper
MCs: a young man who’s become sick of the meaninglessness and consumerism of his family’s Hanukah celebration and his long-time crush, his best friend’s uncle, who also happens to be a golem.Setting: a city in contemporary AmericaTropes/themes/secondary plot: holiday (Chanukah) romance; romance involving a long-time crush; lots of geekiness (including an amazing scene where the MCs play D&D); family dynamics and a lovely supporting cast (esp. the MC’s best friend)bear-magazine.com bisexual MC
by rick r. reed
MCs: a man who’s given up on romantic love, so decides to marry a woman and (of course!) his wedding planner.Setting: SeattleTropes/themes/secondary plot: marriage of convenience; forced proximity; various relationships explored besides the main love interest; an arc of self-discovery and affirmation that’s separate from the love bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*witches of london-lars by aleksandr voinov
MCs: a pagan man and contractor who’s just joined a new circle of queer witches and a man who has just quit his stressful job and bought an old house in the suburbs, due to his failing health.Setting: LondonTropes/themes/secondary plot: a character with a life-threatening illness; queer witches who practice various forms of paganism; an exploration of spirituality and faith; a lovely portrayal of queer family among the bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*shatterproof by xen sanders
MCs: an immortal EMT who feeds on the souls of those he loves and an artist whom he stops from attempting suicide.Setting: London and its suburbsTropes/themes/secondary plot: a dark fairytale with a satisfying ending; heavy subject matter including depression and suicide; lots of emotional heft; lyrical writing; some exploration of Haitian bear-magazine.com black MC, bisexual MC
The alpha’s claim by holley trent
MCs: the alpha of the New York coyote pack and an aspiring actor/waiter.Setting: small town New YorkTropes/themes/secondary plot: a condensed time frame (most of this book takes place over a weekend); coyote shifter pack politics; lots of witty bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*the lightning struck heart by t.j. klune
MCs: a wizard’s apprentice and a dreamy knight who spends altogether too much time dating other people.Setting: a fantasy kingdom populated by beautiful queer creaturesTropes/themes/secondary plot: a creative and unique cast of characters and creatures including gay dragons; lovely friendships; a totally fun and wacky fantasy world; dangerous quests; many moments of total laugh-out-loud bear-magazine.com gay MCs
Chaos station by jenn burke and kelly jensen
MCs: a spaceship engineer and an ex-supersoldier, both with traumatic pasts, who are also childhood best friends (and former boyfriends), reunited after being separated for years.Setting: a spaceship roaming the galaxy after a major interplanetary warTropes/themes/secondary plot: second-chance romance, friends-to-lovers, a lot of fast-paced action; a truly wonderful sense of chosen family among the spaceship crew; fascinating aliens; characters dealing with PTSD from a brutal bear-magazine.com bisexual MC
*aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by benjamin alire sáenz
MCs: two Mexican-American teenage boys coming of age in 1980s Texas.Setting: El PasoTropes/themes/secondary plot: complex family dynamics; friends-to-lovers; self-discovery; exploration cultural heritage and bear-magazine.com Latinx MCs
by michael barakiva
MCs: a high school freshman from an Armenian family and the brash, irreverent boy he meets at summer school.Setting: NYCTropes/themes/secondary plot: family dynamics; a coming-out storyline that’s not the center of the book at all; first love; so many amazing food scenes; an exploration of culture and heritage and how important their Armenian identity is to the MCs bear-magazine.com gay MCs
*chulito by charles rice-gonzalez
MCs: a teenage boy from the South Bronx and his childhood best friend, whom he distanced himself from when folks around the neighborhood started teasing him for being gay.Setting: NYC (specifically the South Bronx)Tropes/themes/secondary plot: beautiful descriptions of the neighborhood and community; characters dealing with homophobia; friends-to-lovers; nuanced supporting characters; exploration of masculinity and bear-magazine.com Latinx MCs
*running with lions by julian winters
MCs: the star goalie of the high school soccer teen and his childhood best friend, who arrives unexpectedly at summer training camp.Setting: soccer training campTropes/themes/secondary plot: sports romance; a diverse and lovable soccer team that feels more like a family; friends-to-lovers; a sweet and tender love story low on the bear-magazine.com bisexual MC, Muslim British Pakistani MC
*the love interest by cale dietrich
MCs: two boys raised as “love interests” (forced to compete for the interest of the same girl) by a secret and powerful organization that trains teenage spies.Setting: dystopian AustraliaTropes/themes/secondary plot: fascinating world-building; lots of high-stakes action; a queer and creative twist on the spy novel; lots of angst; a creepy dystopian bear-magazine.com gay MCs
Looking for more gay romance novels? Check out 8 of the Best M/M Romances and A (Semi) Comprehensive Guide to LGBTQ Romance. Gay romance novels also appear on this list of must-read YA romances and this list of must-read LGBT fantasy books.
by libba bray (ga)
The first book in a four-part paranormal series is set in Manhattan during the 1920s and follows a group of Diviners, teens with special paranormal powers. “The story is a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.” The second book in particular focuses on two characters, one of whom is gay and the other who is asexual.
Dreadnought by april daniels (lt)
“Until superhero Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction.”
Pantomine by laura lam (bti)
“Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is intersex. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy. The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus.”
Beyond binary: genderqueer and sexually fluid speculative fiction edited by brit mandelo (bt)
“These seventeen stories explore the ways in which identity can go beyond binary from space colonies to small college towns, from angels to androids, and from a magical past to other worlds entirely, the authors in this collection have brought to life wonderful tales starring people who proudly define (and redefine) their own genders, sexualities, identities, and so much else in between.”
City of strife by claudie arsenault (lgbtqa+)
“A hundred and thirty years have passed since Arathiel last set foot in his home city. His family is long dead, a magical trap has dulled his senses, and he returns seeking a sense of belonging now long lost. He hides in the Lower City, befriending an uncommon trio: the Shelter’s rageful owner, Larryn, his dark elven friend Hasryan, and Cal the cheese-loving halfling. When Hasryan is accused of Isandor’s most infamous assassination of the last decade, what little peace Arathiel has managed to find for himself is shattered. Hasryan is innocent…he thinks. In order to save him, Arathiel may have to shatter the shreds of home he’d managed to build for himself.”
Love beyond body, space, and time edited by hope nicholson (lgbtq2)
“Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman trying an experimental transition medication to young lovers separated through decades and meeting far in their own future. These are stories of machines and magic, love, and self-love.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere: science fiction and fantasy from transgender writers edited by cat fitzpatrick and casey plett (lgbt)
“Brand new from Topside Press, twenty-five transgender writers imagine different worlds inthe #1 post-reality generation device approved for home use! This manual will prepare you to travel from multiverse to multiverse. No experience is required. Choose from twenty-five preset post-realities! Rejoice at obstacles unquestionably bested and conflicts efficiently resolved. Bring denouement to your drama with THE FOOLPROOF AUGMENTATION DEVICE FOR OUR CONTEMPORARY UTOPIA.”
Peter darling by austin chant (gt)
“Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is. But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.”
The second mango by shira glassman (lb)
“Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she’s also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately. Especially if the warrior’s willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.”
Sea swallow me and other stories by craig laurance gidney (g)
“Ancient folklore and modern myth come together in these stories by author Craig Laurance Gidney. Here are found the struggles of a medieval Japanese monk, seduced by a mischievous fairy, and a young slave who finds mystery deep within the briar patch of an antebellum plantation. Gidney offers readers a gay teen obsessed with his patron saint, Lena Horne, and, in the title story, an ailing tourist seeking escape at a distant shore but never reckons on encountering an African sea god. Rich, poetic, dark and disturbing, these are tales not soon forgotten.”
When fox is a thousand by larissa lai (l)
“A lyrical, magical novel, rich with poetry and folklore and elements of the fairytale that interweaves three narrative voices and their attendant cultures: an elusive fox growing toward wisdom and her 1000 birthday, the ninth-century Taoist poet/nun Yu Hsuan-Chi (a real person executed in China for murder), and the oddly named Artemis, a young Asian-American woman living in contemporary Vancouver. With beautiful and enchanting prose, and a sure narrative hand, Lai combines Chinese mythology, the sexual politics of medieval China, and modern-day Vancouver to masterfully revise the myth of the Fox.”
In Sri Lanka, same-sex relations are considered unnatural or indecent acts and are punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine. Selvadurai’s debut novel is set against the backdrop of the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict that led up to the 1983 riots and is a poignant coming-of-age story about growing up gay in Colombo. Arjie Chelvaratnam is considered ‘funny’ because he prefers to dress up like a girl and play “bride-bride” instead of hanging out with the boys and kicking balls around. As he grows older, he struggles to come to terms with his sexuality even as his world is torn apart by the unrest around him. Funny Boy is an evocative novel that merges the political and the personal through simple yet elegant prose.
Sadat’s debut novel, The Carpet Weaver, poignantly shows how difficult it is to grow up gay in a country where not only is homosexuality illegal and punishable by death, but gay men are called the derogatory term ‘kuni’ and are often disowned by their family and society. In 1977 Afghanistan, Kanishka Nurzada, a carpet seller’s son, finds himself falling in love with his best friend, Maihan. They must, however, keep their love a secret. When Afghanistan gets involved in a war, their life becomes even more complicated. The book follows Nurzada as he goes from Kabul to an internment camp in Pakistan, and finally, to the U.S.A., but he never stops pining for Maihan. This powerful novel from Afghanistan’s first openly gay native is heart-breaking but beautiful.
Abdellah taia, frank stock (tr.)
Taia was the first openly gay Arab writer and hails from Morocco, which punishes ‘lewd or unnatural acts’ with a person of the same sex with a prison term ranging from six months to three years as well as a fine. An Arab Melancholia is an autobiographical novel that spans 20 years and traces Taia’s journey from growing up in Salé, to being exiled in Paris, to shooting movies in Cairo. Written in the stream-of-consciousness style, it is the “chronicle of a man who repeatedly searches for, finds, wrestles with, and loses love.” Melancholia isn’t just about the travails of growing up gay in Morocco, but also about love, which transcends sexual identities.
Chike frankie edozien
Nigeria’s laws are particularly harsh on the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only does it penalise same-sex relations and marriages but even the discussion of LGBT rights and public displays of affection between two people of the same sex are criminal offenses. Punishment ranges from imprisonment to death, depending on the offense. Edozien’s LAMBDA Award-winning memoir, , portrays what it means to be gay in Nigeria. Through his book, he shares stories of African gay men from around the world, and how they are trying to build their lives in an increasingly hostile society. He talks of Scott, his boyfriend; Kwabena, who lives in Accra and is determined to be true to his sexuality despite pressure from his family; and Amadou Diallo, the victim of a hate crime in 1999. Written with humour and pathos, this book is an ode to all the African queer men who persevere in creating a life full of love and hope, despite the odds.
One Last Drink At Guapa is the debut novel by Saleem Haddad who hails from Kuwait, where consensual intercourse between adult men is punishable by up to seven years in prison and those who imitate the opposite sex may be punished by one year in prison and/or a fine of 1,000 Kuwaiti dinar. The book unfolds over the course of one day and follows Rasa, a young gay man living in an unnamed Arab country. Rasa lives with his rather traditional grandmother and his only sanctuary is Guapa, a bar where queer folk can be themselves. He spends his days as a translator and his nights sneaking his lover into his room. One day, everything changes when his grandmother finds him in bed with his lover. Later, Rasa discovers that his friend Maj, a drag queen, has been arrested. Eventually, Rasa must decide whether to reject the notion of ‘eib’ (shame) or make peace with his identity as a gay man.
Al-Solaylee hails from Yemen where homosexual acts are punished with 100 lashes and one year in prison for unmarried men and death by stoning for married men, while women face a sentence of 100 lashes and up to three years in prison. The book follows Al-Solaylee’s family as they move from country to country, only to eventually return to Yemen. Ultimately AL-Solaylee “escapes” from life in the Arab world for a myriad of reasons, his sexuality being one of them. Intolerable is as much a coming-out story as it is the tale of a Yemeni family caught up in the politics of the region for over six decades.
Lydia Kwa was born in Singapore where same-sex relations are considered acts of gross indecency and are punishable by up to two years in prison. Set in 7th-Century China, is a magical realist novel. As the empress Wu Zhao rises up the ranks in the Tang court, her lover Xie is searching for the oracle bone, a magical object that will make Xie immortal. However, Qilan, a Daoist nun with a mysterious power, is standing in his way. Meanwhile, Harelip, a young monk, is struggling with his faith and his attraction to other men. The first in a trilogy, Oracle Boneattempt on Kwa’s part “to subvert the dominant narrative”. The second book in the trilogy, The Walking Boy, follows Baoshi, a queer monk, who is charged with finding Harelip’s former lover, and explores LGBTQIA+ themes in more detail.
Ahmad danny ramadan
Ramadan is a refugee from Syria, which punishes unnatural sexual intercourse with up to three years in prison. Inspired by One Thousand And One Nights, his multiple award-winning debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, is set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and Syrian Civil War and spans Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Canada. The book follows two male lovers- one of them is a storyteller who narrates stories to his dying partner. Through these tales, we learn of the storyteller’s childhood, the persecution he has faced for his sexuality, of war, of leaving home, and of how he met his partner. Lyrically written, this book brings the experience of a gay Syrian refugee to life.