Let me start this post by saying that I’ve read most, if not all, of the books that are typically suggested when someone looks for Young Adult LGBTQ+ novels. I’ve read them and I’ve liked them, so this is absolutely not a criticism of these novels.
But let us be honest for a while. I feel like every time I’m looking for some new LGBTQ+ stories, the same old ones appear. Aristotle and Dante. Simon and the Homo sapiens Agenda. More Happy Than Not. Carry On. These are all incredible novels, and if you haven’t read them yet, I can only recommend you do it now! However, I love hearing about the not so well-known novels, those that don’t have the same number of reviews as, say, Carry On has on Goodreads.
So there it is – a gift to myself and every other reader who’s looking for representation: a list of five not-so-famous LGBTQ+ YA novels. Some of these I’ve read; some are on my ”read it as soon as possible” list (it’s quit a long list, unfortunately). Feel free to drop more in the comments; I’ll add them on the list and credit you for it!
Proud made me, for lack of a better word, proud to be who I am. This is an amazing collection of short stories, poetry and art, all written or made by LGBTQ+ authors and artists. If you aren’t convinced yet, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe just that all of the stories are incredible in their own way. Some might be extremely relatable to you; some might make you laugh; some might make you tear up. All in all, it was a great read for me (I read all of it in one night), and if I could, I’d offer a copy to every awkward, sad LGBTQ+ teenager out there. If you’re reading this: you can do it.
A book with a non-binary character? Uh, yes please. A book with an anxious non-binary character? I’m in. A book with an anxious non-binary character, written by a non-binary author? Say no more, it’s on my list. I cannot wait to read this book! In it, we follow Ben’s story. After coming out to their parents as non-binary, Ben got thrown of the house and had to move in with their sister, which, of course, means a new school. And when I say new school, I mean new unknown cute boy. Want to read it? Well, let me finish this by saying that it has a 4.25 rating on Goodreads as I’m writing this.
This is one of those books that make me happy just by existing because, wow, the diversity in YA novels today! I find it incredible to see how things change – slowly, maybe, but surely, and I’m all for it. In this novel, the story of Rukhsana Ali, a young Muslim girl who also happens to have a girlfriend, will probably make you cry. When Rukhsana’s parents accidentally discover her kissing her girlfriend, she is immediately shipped off to traditional Bangladesh, and will have to fight to be reunited with her previous life. Interesting, isn’t it?
I’ve recently reviewed Last Bus to Everland (see here) and, though I was not a hundred percent convinced by the story, I was still moved by its fantastic, Peter Pan-esque atmosphere, and the way it spoke about topics such as the difficulty of coming out to your parents. If you like Tinkerbell and the Lost Children, and if you’ve liked the fantastic universe of Boy Meets Boy, I’m sure this book will be one of your new favs!
I feel like Pulp doesn’t really get the fame it deserves. Not only does it display a set of diverse (and very likeable) characters, it also has the twist of talking about queerness in the fifties. And all of that is linked by the two main (female) characters loving to write. Let me tick this off: Diverse characters? Check. Nerdy characters? Check. Historical background? Check. Cute girlfriends? Check.