In honor of Pride season, we’ve compiled fourteen essential LGBTQIA books for youth published in the past five years. These novels, memoirs, and nonfiction titles each received a Booklist starred review (excerpted and linked to below). Happy Pride, and happy reading!
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, by Jazz Jennings
A well-written, informative, and acessible memoir by the world’s first trans-teen reality star.
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Kuklin’s book profiles six transgender teens in both their own words and the author’s excellent photographs. The result is a strikingly in-depth examination of the sometimes clinical complexities of being transgender,
Draw the Line, by Laurent Linn
Adrian is 16; he is gay, though only his two best friends know it; he is diffident and welcomes his ability to fade into the background; and he is the creator of Graphite, a gay superhero whose illustrated adventures he posts on an anonymous website—and which are integrated into the novel’s text to dramatically good effect.
Freakboy, by Kristen Elizabeth Clark
When Brendan Chase types “Want to be a girl” into his Mac’s search engine, one word pops up: transsexual. In Clark’s raw, honest debut novel, told in verse, three voices capture a few experiences of teens on the transgender spectrum.
Golden Boy, by Abigail Tarttelin
Although marketed at adults, bright teens should relish this coming-of-age story about a popular, drop-dead handsome son of wealthy parents who is captain of the soccer team, an outstanding student, and the keeper of a closely guarded secret that he is intersex.
The Great American Whatever, by Tim Federle
A novel about a bereaved teenager who sequesters himself inside his increasingly messy bedroom—until his best friend persuades him to go to a party where he meets the guy, and his life begins to turn around.
Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, by David Levithan
He’s baaack: Tiny Cooper, the larger-than-life costar of Levithan and John Green’s 2010 novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, claims center stage in the former’s latest, which—according to its title page—is “a musical in novel form (or, a novel in musical form).”
I Am J, by Cris Beam
Who is J? Though born a girl, he has known since early childhood that he is really a boy. This novel brings clarity and charity to a state of being that has too long been misunderstood, ignored, and deplored.
The Marvels, by Ben Selznick
Caldecott Medalist Selznick has been creating acclaimed illustrated novels for years now, and his latest takes his groundbreaking narrative format to new heights.
Silvera structures his debut novel beautifully. More Happy Than Not will resonate with teens tackling life’s big questions. Thought-provoking and imaginative, Silvera’s voice is a welcome addition to the YA scene.
The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konisgberg
A friendship between a straight boy and a lesbian is relatively rare in YA fiction and is, accordingly, exceedingly welcome.
Skyscraping, by Cordelia Jensen
Summer Days and Summer Nights, by Stephanie Perkins
From the truly fantastical to the requisite summer-camp story, love in its many forms—straight and gay, beginning, rekindled, and ending—is examined in these stories from bestselling YA authors.
This Book Is Gay, by James Dawson
Often breezy in tone but always informative, Dawson’s book is filled with facts and stories about being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or, as the author puts it, “the full and infinite spectrum of sexual and gender identities.”