Out and About - LGBTQ Books for Teens

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Article in Category:Young Adult Fiction and Category:Diversity categories.

Gay + Lesbian Fiction for Teens - Including books featuring bisexual, transgendered, and questioning characters

A sweet romance where an anonymous online friendship gradually deepens into something more in spite of the crisis of a classmate threatening to out Simon. Simon may not always make the right choices, but you’ll root for him just the same.
This re-telling of The Odyssey is set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles after a massive earthquake has unleashed devastating floods. As Pen searches for her family, she must face cloned giants and a madman who wants to see her dead.
Stranded by a plane crash, 13 teen beauty contestants must struggle to survive on a tropical island. Between finding food and combating the dangerous other inhabitants of the island they still find time to practice their dance routines in the hope they might be rescued before the competition date. Audiobook fans shouldn’t miss this one, which is masterfully read by the author.
Charlie struggles to cope with complex world of high school as he deals with the confusions of sex and love, the temptations of drugs, and the pain of losing a close friend and a favorite aunt.
Although they have been friends and neighbors all their lives, straight Naomi and gay Ely find their relationship severely strained during their freshman year at New York University. Other books by Cohn and/or Levithan feature LGBT support/characters.
Laura, a seventeen-year-old Cuban American girl, is thrown out of her house when her mother discovers she is a lesbian, but after trying to change her heart and hide from the truth, Laura finally comes to terms with who she is and learns to love and respect herself.
Two Chicago area teens, both named Will Grayson, one straight, one gay, cross paths one night. Their individual relationships with Tiny Cooper, the "world's largest person who is really, really gay," bring them deeper into each other's social circles as they struggle to be true to themselves. Don't miss Tiny's story in *Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
After realizing he isn't the only one at his school who is gay and hiding his identity from the rest of the population, Russel decides to create a boring club to be used as a cover for all the gay and bi kids to come and present their true selves without fear. Try the sequels The Order of the Poison Oak and Split Screen.
Julia is dead, and Cass is trying to deal with that. Julia was her best friend, the girl she could count on to include her and listen to her...and some people whispered Julia was more than that to Cass. Julia was also very talented, and wrote a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad before she died, and now her theater friends want to stage it as a tribute. Cass has to decide whether to help out with the play, even though she can't stand the new lead, Heather.
Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names. Try Totally Joe by this author.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, two teenage dressage riders, one a spoiled rich girl and the other a closeted gay sixteen-year-old boy, come to terms with their identities and learn to accept themselves.
Astrid hasn't even figured out who she is or what she wants yet, but everyone else in her small town seems to know (and tell) her secrets - whether or not they're true. Her dad is always stoned, her mom loves her sister more, and her two best friends pretend to date each other so no one will find out their biggest own secret. Will she escape the town rumors and figure things out for herself?
As Bobby Framingham, quarterback of his high school football team, finally acknowledges to himself that he is gay, events start to spin out of control when his sexual orientation is revealed in the local papers, and he learns that his father has cancer.
  • YA Levithan, David, Wide Awake by David Levithan
In the not-too-distant future, when a gay Jewish man is elected president of the United States, sixteen-year-old Duncan examines his feelings for his boyfriend, his political and religious beliefs, and tries to determine his rightful place in the world. Also try How They Met, Boy Meets Boy and The Realm of Possibility by this author.
  • YA Lo, Malinda, Ash
In this fantastical retelling of Cinderella, Aisling “Ash” is trapped in servitude under the cruel treatment of her stepfamily. She finds escape in her secret trips to the fairy realm, where she becomes enchanted with male fairy Sidhean. Ash learns all magic comes with a price as she uses fairy help to pursue an unlikely relationship with the Royal Huntress, Kaisa, and must make a difficult choice between love and salvation.


Theater-mad teens Sadye and her best friend Demi find their bond of friendship sorely tested when they encounter love, rivalry, and a vast array of unforgettable characters while spending the summer at drama camp.
  • YA PB Moore, Perry, Hero
Thom Creed, the gay son of a disowned superhero, finds that he, too, has special powers and is asked to join the very League that rejected his father, and it is there that Thom finds other misfits whom he can finally trust.
Sixteen-year-old Lissa's relationship with her best friend changes after they kiss at a party and Lissa does not know what to do, until she gets help from an unexpected new friend.
In a small Kansas town, sixteen-year-old Mary-Elizabeth "Mike" Szabo tries to come to terms with her father's suicide and her own homosexuality. Peters has also written Luna and Between Mom and Jo.
Ari and Dante appear to have nothing in common other than both being loners. But as they spend time together, a deep and special friendship grows between them. A story of first love and discovering who you are and who you want to be.
Being gay and a drag queen, Billy Bloom finds fitting in to his new conservative high school in Florida a challenge like none he's ever faced before and now must decide whether to adjust to the masses and fit in or stand-out and be true to himself despite the hardships he knows he will have to endure.
When openly gay Manuel transfers to Paul's high school, Paul, a born-again Christian, begins to question his own sexuality. Sanchez writes many other books with GBLT characters, including Getting It and So Hard To Say.
Three high school seniors, a jock with a girlfriend and an alcoholic father, a closeted gay, and a flamboyant gay rights advocate, struggle with family issues, gay bashers, first sex, and conflicting feelings about each other. The story continues in Rainbow High and Rainbow Road.
  • YA PB Telgemeier, Raina, Drama
  • YA Wilkinson, Lili, Pink by Lili Wilkinson
After starting to publish a zine in which he writes his secret feelings about his lonely life and his parents' divorce, sixteen-year-old John meets an unusual girl and begins to develop a healthier personality. John’s friend Marisol has her own book Love & Lies: Marisol's Story.
Grady, a transgendered high school student, yearns for acceptance by his classmates and family as he struggles to adjust to his new identity as a male. Wittlinger has also written What's In a Name and Razzle.
A collection of original poems, essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early twenties explores many sexual issues, including coming out, first kisses, break-ups, religion/faith, and friendship.

Classic choices that still have appeal

Liza puts aside her feelings for Annie after the disaster at school, but eventually she allows love to triumph over the ignorance of people. Garden also wrote Hear us out!, which discusses the social and political issues faced by GLBT youth from 1950 to the present, and adds two stories about gay young people from each decade.
Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman. Also try The House You Pass on the Way or others by the same author.

For more ideas, check out these sites: