LGBT/Queer YA! A Rec Thread

my taste in books barely gets past queer YA rec lists so I was wondering if anyone had any good recs for others who like to read about queer teens!

my faves are:

  • the raven cycle series by maggie stiefvater
  • more than this by patrick ness
  • six of crows/crooked kingdom by leigh bardugo
  • aristotle & dante discover the secrets of the universe by benjamin alire sáenz

let me know yr best recs (please let me know if u have books about queer teen girls bc im severely lacking in that department)


heck yeah me too I’ll be watching this thread like a hawk (and then lamenting that my library has none of these books)

I talked about a couple in the lgbt game thread (I hate staying on topic) but quoting summaries is confusing so I’m just gonna repeat myself here.

  • Carry On - Rainbow Rowell is essentially elaborate Harry Potter fanfic about a useless chosen one and his evil jerk (vampire?) roommate, with a genuinely fascinating (to me) magic system.
  • Son of a Witch - Gregory Maguire is the sequel to Wicked, and tbf, I forget how old he actually is and how much time passes so might be stretching ‘teens’ here but.
  • I’m also gonna rec The Song of Achilles - Madeline Millar. Which is about Achilles and Patroklos so uh, spoilers, it’s not the happiest story. (cn self-harm at one point? it’s been a while)

I’ve come across Aristotle & Dante before but not read it, is it good? (obvs if it’s one of yr favs but)


I’ve read carry on and song of achilles but not son of a witch! i’ll give it a go, thank u!!

aristotle and dante is beautiful, i loved it so much, really tender and kind, and just lovely.

Oh man Aristotle & Dante is SO GOOD. I actually was making a list of books to read and be able to rec at my last library, but I forgot to email it to myself before my contract ended. I hope the other librarians there are using it, though.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is good if a little dizzying/brainweird. If you sometimes think things are pretentious it’s maybe not for you. I think it focuses more on the het romance, though? But good.

I enjoyed Beauty Queens by Libba Bray but a lot of people have leveled criticisms that it’s too shallow with its ideology. Read some reviews and decide for yourself.

I also liked I am J by Cris Beam, but ymmv. He is a bit misogynistic, but that’s not completely out of the ordinary for guys in early transition - internal misogyny is a killer.

If you’re into fantasy and fairy tale retellings, you might enjoy Ash by Malinda Lo.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley left me kinda cold as the protag keeps doing ethically dubious things but it’s okay because she’s helping~ and the neurodivergent stuff was treated as “solvable” in a way I didn’t super like.

Nimona is a GREAT comic that I think everyone will adore.

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton is light and fluffy but nice if that’s what you want.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is also very intro to a queer story, but if you want something uplifting and v gay, it can be nice.

Oh, Lumberjanes! Everyone should also read the Lumberjanes comics.

Okay I’m gonna leave it there for now.


thank so for all the good recs!!! i’ve read i’ll give you the sun/simon vs and the first lumberjanes. i’ve owned nimona for ages and still haven’t read it, maybe i’ll actually get into it!!!

adding the others to my list, cheers!

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: A novella about what happens to the kids that go on great, fantastical adventures, and then go back home.

New Moon by Ian McDonald: Not YA, but lots of teenage characters, a space opera about the five families that rule the moon. Has a sequel.

Pretty much anything by Shira Glassman. All of her books feature queer characters. The Second Mango is a good starting place.

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: In the future, all rulers give up one of their children as a hostage. If you go to war, your child dies.

A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: Also not YA, but this is some of the best world-building I’ve ever seen. Like stories about a crew that becomes a family? Then read this. Also has a great sequel.

Also for a really good resource, check out All Our Worlds:


Probably old hat to recommend by now, but Ash and Huntress by Malinda Lo are both pretty good. I’ve only read Adaptation, not Inheritance, so I can’t speak for that series as a whole, but the first book isn’t bad either.

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I’ll third the recommendation for Malinda Lo’s Ash and add on Juniper Lane by Kady Morrison (used to write Inception fic as gyzym). Romance of two girls that find themselves back in the suburbs.

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NK Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms does something I’ve never seen before, which is root the cosmology of the universe in the relationship of a mmf poly triad of deities–who then are main, or at least major, characters within that trilogy.

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New recs? New recs!

  • Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore features a bisexual/queer young woman as its protagonist, as does the middle book of her Graceling Realms trilogy, Fire. They are both coming-of-age tales in a way, but the former is a hijinksy, semi-puzzleboxy genre-bender, whereas the latter is a fantasy dealing with some rather heavy themes (though not so heavy as its sequel…). If they are to be compared, I think JU is the better crafted by far, simply by virtue of the author having had that much more experience during the writing of it – and I confess I do value a bit of structural experimentation!

  • Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz, which won the Tiptree Award a few years back – a 20-minutes-in-the-future dystopia that isn’t about a teenager singlehandedly taking down the dystopia while in the throes of a star-crossed heterosexual love triangle. Instead, it examines the ways in which marginalized people cope and survive and lean on each other in a dystopic world that they only know as normal. I think it is the only novel I know which features a nonbinary human hero. (Note both “human” and the very deliberate phrasing of “hero”. Please tell me immediately if you know of any others.)

  • Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis, a frenetically paced not-quite-portal-fantasy story, is all about messy, apparently no-win situations, and the central f/f romance is as much a part of that as anything else. I will say it is not Tragic Dead Lesbians, because that is a thing I will always break my no-spoilers rule for (whether as a reader or a reviewer) – it’s just a very un-pretty relationship in the midst of a very un-pretty nest of intrigue and attempted murder. Worldbuilding and character development alike are top-notch – my only caveat is that this has a little more graphic violence than the other recs, by nature of the female deuteragonist’s position in a violently oppressive society.


I’m biased because I know her, but Betsy Cornwell is a queer ya writer who I like. Her stuff is more fairy tale/steampunk. Her first book, Tides, which I love, didn’t have queer teens but has a lovely older same sex relationship and her Mechanica series seems to have a poly main triad (I’m a lazy reader who hasn’t gotten to those ones yet…)

Also, I second the Seanan McGuire recommendation. Thanks for reminding me to read more of her!