All year round is a good time to read books featuring LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, but this Pride Month it’s especially on our minds. YA has seen an explosion in characters who show a wider range of gender and sexuality – here are just a few books to celebrate people all over the LGBTQ+ spectrum this June.
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
One of the pleasures of Anger Is a Gift is the casual diversity of Moss’s Oakland home – his friend Bits is nonbinary, Moss is gay, another one of his friends has two moms, and it’s all perfectly normal – just part and parcel of how the real world looks. This novel about a group of teenagers struggling to find justice as their school is overtaken by an increasingly menacing police presence resonates with the power of a strong, close-knit, and inclusive community.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire’s novel asks the question: what happens to children who’ve gone to magical lands after they come home? Many of them find their way to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Nancy is one of those children, struggling to adjust to the non-magical world – and find her way back to the one that feels more like home. The heroine, Nancy, is asexual, and that doesn’t help her feeling out of place – but her new friends at the Home are more accepting and welcoming than most.
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
This early classic of lesbian YA, published in 1982, was one of the first to have a positive ending. Annie and Liza, two New York City girls, meet and become fast friends. As they grow closer together, their friendship blossoms into love. This sweet story of first love and self-discovery holds up to the test of time and remains a must-read.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Amanda is the new girl at her high school, and she’s just trying to keep her head down and avoid getting noticed. As she begins to grow closer to a boy named Grant, though, she finds her determination being tested, she yearns to open up to him and tell him that she’s trans. But speaking up might cost her more than she’s willing to lose. Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, If I Was Your Girl is a touching novel about falling in love and being seen for who you really are.
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
Emmy King is the bisexual drummer for the hit band The Brightsiders – an iconic rock star. But in the world of celebrity, everyone loves a scandal, and when Emmy lands in a hospital after partying too hard, the paparazzi are quick to turn on her. Now she has to put her life back together while navigating a risky new romance with a fellow band member. A highly diverse cast populates this quirky novel – and while you’re at it, check out Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek for a fun and feminist love letter to pop culture with its own strong cast of LGBTQ+ characters.