Our Top 10 LGBTQ+ Adult Novels
Putting together a list of the books that have helped shaped my queer journey felt nearly impossible. Over the years I've collected a list of books that have helped me accept who I am, broken my heart, turned me on, and in moments have been exactly what I needed to put myself back together. While this list does not include a lot of the classics, it does include recent novels with LGBTQ+ representation. I hope you find something here that helps you the way they've helped me.
Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button. Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving.
Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups,thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found "the one"and she’s beginning tofeel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.
"Moss has been suffering from panic attacks ever since his father was murdered by police. Now a sophomore in high school, he’s not only dealing with continued police brutality, but heightened school security as well. He and his friends decide to fight back. This is a heartbreaking book, but it’s also a celebration of queer youth of color. Moss’s group of queer friends is rendered with such care and detail; they are so real they leap off the page." - Book Riot
At just 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet, with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal. Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood, and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.
"It’s hard to describe this novel—it’s a queer coming of age, a letter from a Vietnamese son to his mother, a portrait of families struggling amid economic collapse and the opioid epidemic, a tender and heartbreaking first love story, a collection of memories of abuse, trauma, joy, survival. The language so incandescent that reading it sometimes feels like looking directly into the sun." - Book Riot
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they're thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Ben's attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. What started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
The essays in Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future.
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. But now, Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
Morgan, an elite track athlete, is forced to transfer high schools late in her senior year after it turns out being queer is against her private Catholic school's code of conduct. There, she meets Ruby, who has two hobbies: tinkering with her baby blue 1970 Ford Torino and competing in local beauty pageants. The two are drawn to each other and can't deny their growing feelings. But while Morgan--out and proud--doesn't want to have to keep their budding relationship a secret, Ruby isn't ready to come out yet.
Though Nelson veers off into many fascinating tangents about art and gender theory, this is a book about queer family-making. It’s the story of falling in love, building a queer relationship, and Nelson’s experience of pregnancy and motherhood as a queer woman. She comes at these experiences from different angles, often blending genres and deep-diving into philosophy, but she always returns to the the particular joys and heartbreaks of making a queer family." - Book Riot