39 LGBTQ Books We Highly Recommend For Pride Month And Beyond
From fiction to memoirs to young adult to romance — there's something for everyone!
The BuzzFeed Books team put together a list of some of our favorite LGBTQ books across all genres that we highly recommend reading during Pride month. Do check them out if you're looking for your next favorite read!
by Alison Cochrun
After his public image takes a hit, tech genius Charlie Winshaw agrees to go on reality dating show Ever After. But Charlie isn’t really interested in finding love, and this comes across on camera. That’s where producer extraordinaire and hopeless romantic Dev Deshpande comes in. Dev starts working closely with Charlie to help him loosen up and connect with one of the 20 female contestants. But as they spend time together, they realize that the two of them have more chemistry with each other behind the scenes than Charlie has with anyone else on camera.
by Casey McQuiston
Cynical 23-year-old August was sure that New York was the perfect place to prove that there was no such thing as magic or grand romantic love stories. I mean, where’s the magic in having too many roommates and waiting tables, right? Wrong. During her subway commute one day, August spots Jane, a punk rocker with a leather jacket and swoon-worthy smile. Now, riding the subway is the best part of August’s day. But then she discovers that Jane isn’t just a too-cool, stylish New Yorker — she’s literally been displaced from the 1970s. As August tries to help Jane, she realizes that maybe there’s such a thing as magic...and love...after all.
by Cat Sebastian
Kit Webb has worked hard to put his thieving days behind him, retiring his life of crime to run a coffee shop instead. So he’s a little shocked when the son of a duke walks through his door and not only knows about his criminal past but tries to hire him to steal something. Kit refuses him at first, but Lord Percy Holland is very determined. Against his better judgment, Kit agrees to a compromise — he won’t steal anything himself, but he’ll teach Percy how to. As their thievery lessons begin, Kit and Percy’s untrusting glances evolve to ones of curiosity and even desire. But when their heist goes awry and secrets come out, everything they feel for each other is thrown into question and they’ll have to learn trust if they plan to have a future.
by Olivia Waite
After Sophie Roseingrave and her family lost almost everything to a con man — including their beloved piano shop — Sophie is not as quick to trust. So when she meets silk-weaver Madeline Crewe, she's immediately suspicious of the local beauty. Madeline just needs one final score to fund the weavers union and has already set her sights on greedy draper Mr. Giles. But when Sophie starts snooping her nose where it doesn't belong, Madeline must get her on her side by any means necessary, even seduction.
by Jennet Alexander
Up-and-coming horror actor Lila Silver is finally on the brink of her big break, but she can't do it alone. She enlists the help of her trusted makeup artist Noa Birnbaum — who's secretly been crushing on Lila for a while. Long hours in the makeup chair working together to make their respective dreams come true builds a connection neither of them saw coming.
by Annabeth Albert
Growing up, Milo and Jasper were two nerdy best friends. But, as Milo drifted into the jock crowd, they drifted apart. When Milo loses his brother's extremely rare game cards, he's forced to reach out to Jasper for help, who now runs a popular gaming blog. Jasper is reluctant to help, worried spending time with his former friend will cause old feelings to resurface. But when Milo offers him a chance to help run a cosplay event at a local children's hospital, he agrees. Just as Jasper predicted, spending time with Milo reignites a former flame, but maybe this fire between them is one they don't want to put out.
by Paul Rudnick
Event planner Carter Ogden is nursing his wounds after a bad breakup, so when he happens to meet Edgar — the openly gay English prince — at a work event and feels a spark, he's not sure if it's all in his head. But one thing leads to another, and soon Carter and Edgar are full steam ahead. But between the Queen's disapproval and the media spotlight, Carter and his prince have to fight for their happily ever after.
by Alyssa Cole
In this Anastasia retelling, Makeda Hicks is minding her own business, trying to recuperate from losing her job and her girlfriend — all while hearing her grandmother once again retell the story of her summer fling with a runaway prince — when royal investigator Beznaria Chetchevaliere pops into her life with wild theories about Makeda being a long-lost royal heir. When her grandmother's livelihood is threatened, Makeda finds herself on a journey filled with adventure, high jinks, and even love on the high seas.
by Alexandria Bellefleur
Brendon Lowell is the ultimate romantic, even creating a dating app to help people find The One. When his sister's best friend shows up for a visit, he thinks maybe it's finally his chance to find love. After all, he's crushed on her since they were kids. But Annie isn't looking for love, especially not with her best friend's younger brother...or so she keeps telling herself. Determined to fight for his happy ending, Brendon takes a page out of every rom-com screenplay, planning elaborate dates and wooing Annie in a way that would make Nora Ephron proud.
by Alexis Hall
Rosaline Palmer has always done what she's needed to do to take care of herself and her daughter. So when her house starts to crumble and she's on the edge of financial disaster, she signs up for a cooking competition show without thinking twice. She's got her eyes on the prize money, but the attention from two men — the suave, put-together Alain and a shy electrician named Harry — start to make her lose focus. Soon, the competition — both baking and the one for Rosaline — begins to heat up, and she has to make a lot of decisions about life, love, and her future.
by Kamala Puligandla
Puligandla’s debut is quiet and contemplative, a tender story about Aneesha, a young writer who’s feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned after her first year working toward her MFA in LA and so decides to spend the summer in Chicago, her former (short-lived) hometown she can’t stop thinking about. There she crashes with her old flame, Whitney, whose life is now barely recognizable, dominated by a full-time job and serious boyfriend. Puligandla, editor-in-chief of Autostraddle, follows Aneesha as she reconnects with the circle of friends who were, at one point, everything to her — but as they hop from bar to party, from beach to lunch, she confronts the fact that inevitably hits every twentysomething: As lives and priorities change, relationships shift. It’s an insightful and evocative exploration of love, community, identity, and the clumsy work of trying to make sense of it all.
12. Shuggie Bain
by Douglas Stuart
Stuart’s vivid, sweeping novel tells the story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain in 1980s–early ‘90s Glasgow, a city struggling with the closure of its mines and the resulting widespread unemployment. He and his mother, Agnes, live in rundown public housing; Agnes is beautiful and loving but often incapacitated by her alcoholism; Shuggie worships her but is often the caretaker. Theirs is a beautiful and tragic bond. Shuggie’s father, neighbors, and peers ridicule him for being different — he’s “no right,” they say in the book’s Scottish dialect — but he doesn't understand what makes him different or why such difference is bad. Agnes sees and loves and defends who he is: a child who doesn't yet have the language or models to recognize his queerness. Stuart, who spent 12 years creating this masterpiece, draws a vivid picture of working-class Glasgow, clearly evoking the smells and sounds and textures of Shuggie's bleak corner of the city, inviting us into this complicated but tender family — not only Agnes and Shuggie, but also Shuggie's brother, Leek, who wants to be an artist but knows it's impractical; his sister, Catherine, who marries young and follows her husband to a job in South Africa; and his estranged father and namesake.
13. Summer Fun
by Jeanne Thornton
Jeanne Thornton’s epistolary novel centers on Gala, a thirtysomething transgender woman who lives and works at a New Mexico hostel and spends her days writing letters to B---, the former lead singer of legendary ‘60s beach band the Get Happies. Gala is obsessed with the Get Happies and has dedicated her life to finding out why they stopped making music and how she can get them to reunite. She’s writing these letters as part of a ritual — Gala is spiritual, chaotic, and impossibly endearing — and she needs to believe not only in the possibility of more music, but also in the magic she’s drawing upon to make it happen. But as much as the letters are about the Get Happies, they are also, despite her insistence otherwise, about Gala herself. With intimacy and yearning, Thornton captures the intensity of fandom and self-discovery, of our relationships with art and each other, and the transcendent joy of truly being seen.
by Jordy Rosenberg
Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox is many things at once: It’s historical fiction — a romp through 18th-century London alongside legendary thief and gaol-breaker Jack Sheppard. It’s speculative fiction — Rosenberg takes Sheppard’s story and queers it, imagining the notorious criminal as trans in a time when he wouldn’t necessarily have (and, we see, would be constantly seeking) the language with which he could describe himself. It’s wildly erotic — I’ll say that reading this novel prompted my own hourslong research journey into the history of sex toys. And above all this, it is a meta-analysis of all these moving parts. The “confessions” are presented as a found manuscript, which we read along with literary scholar Dr. Voth. Dr. Voth — who, like Sheppard, is trans, and raging against the capitalist machine — peppers the text with personal footnotes, slowly revealing the parallels between both stories. In less capable hands, this conceit could be Too Much, but Rosenberg is as dexterous in storytelling as his protagonist is with locks; everything just fits.
15. Going Dutch
by James Gregor
PhD candidate Richard is burned out at 29 years old: He can't get himself to care about his thesis and is at risk of losing his funding; he's disillusioned by the New York City dating scene, though it seems everyone around him is coupling up; he suspects he's becoming old and irrelevant. When Anne, an academic ally with a crush, offers some help, their relationship turns romantic — which is complicated for Richard, since he's gay and finding that a bad first date with a charming lawyer named Blake might be evolving into something serious. Going Dutch is a sharp, endearing update of the love-triangle rom-com, and James Gregor's depiction of millennial New York is masterful. It's an exciting debut and will leave you eager for more.
16. With Teeth
by Kristen Arnett
The New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things (which, by the way, you should definitely check out, too) returns to dysfunctional Florida families in her latest novel, which follows a woman trying to make sense of motherhood and marriage, despite her ambivalence about both. Her son is moody and intimidating, and her wife is growing distant. When her life starts to unravel, she has to give up the facade of domestic bliss and figure out what she wants and who she wants to be. It’s an insightful, darkly funny, and candid exploration of family and queerness — Arnett at her best.
Read Arnett’s essay “Queering Barbie.”
by Alexia Arthurs
The stories in Alexia Arthurs’ How to Love a Jamaican are about home, identity, how we define family, and what we owe them. At the core is Jamaica, where each of Arthurs’ characters is from — whether they live there or not. But these relationships between person and homeland are complicated by gender, sexuality, and wealth. In “Bad Behavior,” a mother sends her 14-year-old daughter to live with her grandmother in Jamaica because she’s scared of her burgeoning sexuality; in “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowland,” a first-year NYU student grapples with the fact that a fellow Jamaican student lives that same identity in a very different way; and in “Mermaid River,” a teenager finally joins his mother in Brooklyn after being raised by his grandmother in Jamaica and is saddened to find a stranger. In vibrant, evocative prose, Arthurs brings these characters, and their varied experiences of a shared home, to life.
by Alex DiFrancesco
Alex DiFrancesco packs a ton of insight into this slim essay collection, writing frankly about their years spent figuring out their identity, navigating complicated relationships, surviving mental illness, and contending with the often overwhelming desire to abandon everything and just disappear. Most compelling, though, is DiFrancesco's work toward finding evidence of connections between them and others in the trans community — both presently and in the past.
by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Following her brilliant debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn returns to familiar themes of strained mother-daughter relationships, class, and sexuality in Patsy. Her sophomore book is meaty and consequential, following single Jamaican mother Patsy in her attempt to secure a visa for a new life in the US. Her journey begins in 1998, when she gets a tourist visa with the caveat that she must leave her 5-year-old daughter, Tru, behind. But she keeps her dream of a better life in New York at the forefront of her mind — a better financial future for Tru, and a better romantic life for herself; she nurses hope of rekindling a romance with her childhood best friend (and current Brooklyn resident), Cicely. But reality, as it tends to do, gets in the way of these dreams, and in dual perspectives, Dennis-Benn shows us how both Patsy and Tru survive the aftermath of Patsy's world-shattering decision in the years that follow.
Read Dennis-Benn’s essay “The Burden Of Being A First-Generation Immigrant.”
by Michael Arceneaux
I laughed out loud frequently while reading I Can't Date Jesus, which is surprising, since much of Arceneaux’s memoir is rooted in pain — of growing up in a violently anti-gay environment, of trying to push his identity away, of slowly coming out despite being afraid, and of coming to terms with the fact that the church he grew up in hasn’t made room for him. Still, Arceneaux is as joyful as he is shrewd; his writing is affecting, whether describing the pain of his mother’s disapproval or the power of Beyoncé’s music. His moments of levity are like little rest stops on the thorny path through the loss and redefinition of faith as a gay Black man. How lucky we are to have Arceneaux as our guide.
by Katie Heaney
In her debut memoir Never Have I Ever, former BuzzFeed employee Katie Heaney recounted a lifetime of unrequited crushes on the wrong guys. In Would You Rather?, four years later, she writes with the same wit, heart, and unflinching honesty about falling in love — with a woman. Heaney’s re-examination of her romantic history is nuanced, complicating the idea that a person might have an a-ha moment and suddenly fit neatly into an identity; and her story of meeting and falling in love with her first girlfriend is of the same sweep-you-off-your-feet caliber as any classic love story. Anyone who’s struggled to find their place in the world — especially those figuring out their own sexualities — will find comfort and hope in this book.
Read an excerpt: “I Fell In Love With The First Girl I Dated After Coming Out”
by Matt Ortile
In this witty and insightful essay collection, Ortile (a former BuzzFeed employee) covers a lot of ground but does so gracefully. He writes about moving from the Philippines to Las Vegas as a child with tenderness and bittersweet clarity, capturing both the dreamy anticipation of a thrilling change and the understanding, with distance, of just how much the reality would fall short. He writes about his changing relationship with his Asian identity, deftly exploring the ways in which he learned to hide aspects of himself, and what he gained and lost in his efforts toward assimilation. And he writes frankly about dating in New York as a gay Filipino man, inhabiting a body “marked as other, even by men who desire it.” Throughout, Ortile expands upon his own experiences through historical and cultural analysis.
by Krys Malcolm Belc
In this poignant memoir-in-essays, nonbinary, transmasculine author Krys Malcolm Belc considers the ways parenthood honed his understanding of his gender, diving into the experience of pregnancy and birth — and the attendant expectations — from the perspective of someone who isn’t a woman, and who doesn’t feel at home within the category of “mother.” Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Belc’s memoir is both personal and philosophical, resisting mainstream notions of gender and family while exploring the interplay between the body and the self.
by Alexander Chee
In the essays collected in How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, Chee writes vividly and tenderly about his many intersecting identities: a gay Korean American man, a tarot reader, a student, a writer, an activist. Through these lenses, he generously shares his hard-earned insights about love, art, and humanity — and if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself underlining many passages to return to.
Read an excerpt: “My Inheritance Was My Father’s Last Lesson To Me, And I Am Still Learning It”
25. Against Memoir
by Michelle Tea
Michelle Tea's 2018 anthology gathers essays, speeches, and new texts into a collection weaving personal history with deeply considered, researched, and necessary ideas on queerness, gender, humanity, and belief. It's a book best read here and there — so many of the pieces are short but dense and warrant the reader's own reflection. But there's another benefit to reading this one slowly: Reading Tea can feel like conversing with your smartest friend, and it's one of those hangouts you never want to end.
by George M. Johnson
Told through poignant personal essays, All Boys Aren't Blue explores George M. Johnson's reflections about his childhood, bullies, sexual identity, toxic masculinity, family, sex and relationships, and more. Captivating and honest, you're not going to want to miss Johnson's emotional memoir.
Read more: 21 LGBTQ Memoirs You Need To Listen To
by Emily M. Danforth
Listening to the Plain Bad Heroines audiobook, narrated by Xe Sands, was perhaps the most fun I had as a reader in 2020 — a whopping 19 hours and I still wanted more. The queer horror novel centers on the Brookhants School for Girls, a Rhode Island boarding school that’s infamous for the grisly deaths of three of its students at the turn of the 20th century. One woman connects those three girls, as well as their young principal: Mary MacLane, whose controversial memoir is passed among them, and in whom they see reflections of their own queerness. In the current timeline, Mary is present still, now as the source of fascination for Merritt Emmons, whose book about Brookhants is being turned into a movie, and the two young women who will star in it. It’s creepy, romantic, hilarious, and a mighty celebration of women who refuse to follow the rules.
by Natasha Ngan
What it's about: Every year, eight beautiful "Paper girls" are chosen to serve the king; this year, a ninth girl is chosen. Lei is also a member of the low-born Paper caste, but it's her strange and mesmerizing golden eyes that catch the king's interest. She and the other girls train to please the cruel king, learning to simply accept their fate, but then Lei does the unthinkable: She falls in love with another Paper girl.
by Aminah Mae Safi
Sana Khan is a cheerleader, straight-A student, and overachiever. Rachel Recht has one ambition: to become a director someday. Rachel hates Sana, mostly because she believes she was the butt of a cruel prank at Sana's expense in the past. After a certain incident on campus, both girls are forced to work together on Rachel's directorial project — what could go wrong? This is an amazing f/f, enemies-to-lovers YA romance that draws inspiration from the iconic Paris and Rory friendship from Gilmore Girls, set in Los Angeles.
by Amy Spalding
Plus-size blogger Abby has never pictured herself in the limelight of her own love life. That's reserved for her other friends. But when she falls for Jordi Perez at Lemonberry — the boutique both girls are working at over the summer — she starts to realize that maybe she can shine in her own story. Abby has her own insecurities but is ultimately happy in her own skin, often noting that fat isn't a bad word unless you give it the power to be one. Spalding's funny and charming writing will have readers flying through the pages. Readers will absolutely connect with these lovable characters.
by Derek Milman
17-year-old Aidan finds himself in New York City for a night and spontaneously decides to hook up with a guy named Benoit. But the next morning, Benoit is dead beside him, and Aidan receives a mysterious call telling him to flee. Caught up in a huge case of mistaken identity, Aidan is on the run from everyone, including federal agents and a cyberterrorist group. Once Aidan discovers the object they want returned, he'll have to find a way to deliver it before being caught — or killed. Milman’s action-packed thriller isn’t one to miss.
by Dahlia Adler
At the start of her senior year, Lara arguably has everything she's wanted: a group of best friends and a hot football star who is finally flirting with her. But when Jasmine transfers to Lara's school, Lara's world is thrown askew. She's just spent a magical summer in the Outer Banks with Jasmine and wasn’t expecting her to re-enter her life. But if Lara now has everything she's always wanted...why is she so stuck on Jasmine? Adler's heartfelt contemporary romance is as bright and sweet as its cover and poignantly explores queer identity and self-discovery.
by Adam Silvera
What it's about: Death-Cast is a system used to warn people 24 hours in advance of their End Day — also known as the day they die. Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive a call on the same day and through a series of events, wind up meeting each other using an app called the Last Friend, which pairs people up so they can find company on their final day. Mateo has always lived life carefully while Rufus has been slightly more carefree, but together, they travel the city in one last effort to make peace with their lives. Told through both boys' points of view with third-person narrations sprinkled throughout, Silvera not only poignantly captures the raw emotion of facing your own morality but creates such relatable and authentic characters you want to follow on their journey. His gorgeous writing and wonderful storytelling will wreck you in the very best possible way.
by Mackenzi Lee
Set in 18th-century Europe, this novel features overconfident Monty, his best friend Percy — whom he has strong feelings for — and Monty's younger sister, Felicity, are attending a grand tour of Europe when Monty's scoundrel ways get the three of them into trouble. Monty has stolen something of great significance. Because of this, the trio happens upon an adventure of a lifetime. Full of hilarious banter, unexpected misadventures, and characters that feel like friends, you'll sail right through this one! Lucky for you, there's also a companion novel: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.
35. Ramona Blue
by Julie Murphy
Set in Eulogy, a southern Mississippi town, Ramona Blue features Ramona "Blue" Leroux, who carries the weight of everyone else's stress on her shoulders. She's close with her older sister, who's been knocked up by a guy who's not very responsible. Ramona feels the pressure to help be the breadwinner with her sister's baby on the way, but she's also struggling from her recent breakup with Grace. Then Freddie, a childhood friend, returns for their senior year. Ramona and Freddie both feel a quiet, growing attraction to each other, which leaves Ramona questioning her sexual identity. Murphy does a phenomenal job creating a gorgeously told coming-of-age story that features a strong sisterly bond, the importance of family, and figuring out how you fit in the world.
by Saundra Mitchell
This short story collection features diverse queer stories from a wide range of authors, including Mackenzi Lee, Robin Talley, and Elliot Wake. The anthology spans centuries, from a Little Red Riding Hood retelling set in 1870s Mexico to a girl discovering her asexuality in 1970s disco clubs. All of the stories feature characters that reflect the authors' identities (aka they're #OwnVoices stories) and the representation feels true and honest.
37. Felix Ever After
by Kacen Callender
Felix is a Black trans boy who has never been in love, yet desperately wants to experience it. He worries his marginalization won't lead him to finding his happily ever after. When a student publicly posts his deadname, Felix seeks revenge — but he doesn't expect his catfishing plan to land him in a quasi–love triangle. Callender crafts a beautiful novel full of authentic characters who explore identity and the love they deserve.
by Akwaeke Emezi
Jam is a black, transgender girl who lives in a utopian society called Lucille. This world is free of monsters, or rather, free from corruption, crime, and injustice. When Jam's mother paints a creature and Jam accidentally brings it to life, Pet is born. Pet's goal is to rid her world of monsters, but Jam has been led to believe there are none in her utopian world. That is, until Pet tracks down a monster in Jam's best friend's home. Though this powerful, poignant story is set in a world unlike ours, Emezi gracefully tackles real issues in a way that reminds us all that we must not turn a blind eye to the monsters in our own world.
39. Hot Dog Girl
by Jennifer Dugan
Lou Parker has landed a summer job as a giant, dancing hot dog at Magic Castle Playland. But things won't be too bad, because Lou is bound and determined to set her BFF Seeley up with a cute girl in order to get closer to her crush, Nick. While her intentions might be murky, Lou is also determined to stop Magic Castle Playland from closing by the end of summer. This coming-of-age queer romance is fun and adorable in all the best ways.