My Top 10 YA LGBTQ Novels

My Top 10 YA LGBTQ Novels

1. Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg

Star quarterback Bobby Framingham, one of the most talented high school football players in California, knows he’s different from his teammates. They’re like brothers, but they don’t know one essential thing: Bobby is gay. Can he still be one of the guys and be honest about who he is? When he’s outed against his will by a student reporter, Bobby must find a way to earn back his teammates’ trust and accept that his path to success might be more public, and more difficult, than he’d hoped. An affecting novel about identity that also delivers great sportswriting.

2. Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle

Kate was Lissa’s best friend. They’ve shared everything for four years. Then one night at a drunken party, Kate leaned in to kiss Lissa, and Lissa kissed her back. And now Kate is pretending Lissa doesn’t exist. Confused and alone, Lissa’s left questioning everything she thought she knew about herself, and about life. But with the help of a free-spirit new friend, Lissa’s beginning to find the strength to realize that sometimes falling in love with the wrong person is the only way to find your footing.

3. With or Without You by Brian Farrey

Eighteen year-old Evan and his best friend, Davis, get beaten up for being loners. For being gay. For just being themselves. But as rough as things often seem, at least Evan can take comfort in his sweet, sexy boyfriend Erik–whom he’s kept secret from everyone for almost a year.

Then Evan and Davis are recruited to join the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status. Davis is swept up in the excitement, but Evan is caught between his loyalty to Davis and his love for Erik. Evan’s lied to keep his two worlds separate. Now his lies are about to implode…and destroy the very relationships he’s been trying to protect.

4. Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey

When Chris Talberman’s family moved to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Chris left behind his boyfriend and friends. Six months later, Chris still feels alone.

When a pod of dolphins strand themselves on the cove outside Chris’s house, his autistic younger sister, Cece, runs out to see them. A boy named Noah Silver helps catch Cece before she gets hurt. Noah is even more alone than Chris, and he’s just as eager to find a friend.

Then everything goes downhill — Chris’s mother leaves, putting Chris’s workaholic father in charge. With no one else to talk to, Chris turns to Noah, and their relationship deepens. But Noah has problems he isn’t willing to share.

5. Thinking Straight by Robin Reardon

If only Taylor Adams had kept on lying to his parents, none of this would have happened. He wouldn’t have been shipped off to Straight to God, an institution devoted to “deprogramming” troubled teenagers and ridding them of their vices—whether those vices are drugs, violence, or—in Taylor’s case—other boys.

At Straight to God, such thoughts—along with all other reminders of Taylor’s former “sinful” life—are forbidden. Every movement is monitored, privacy is impossible, and no one—from staff to residents—is quite who they first appear to be. There’s Charles, Taylor’s clean-cut roommate, desperate to leave his past behind…Nate Devlin, a handsome, inscrutable older boy who’s alternately arrogant and kind…gorgeous, secretive Sean, who returns to Straight to God each year to avoid doing prison time for drugs. Here, where piety can be a mask for cruelty and the greatest crimes go unpunished, Taylor will learn more than he ever dreamed about love, courage, rebellion, and betrayal—but the most surprising lessons will be the truths he uncovers about himself.

6. Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Regan’s brother Liam can’t stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister’s clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam’s family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen’s struggle for self-identity and acceptance.

7. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

8. Made of Stars by Kelley York

When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.

Then Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent…they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?

9. Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Kendra, fifteen, hasn’t felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can’t remember the most important detail– her abuser’s identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it’s her only way of coping.

Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who’s becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra’s abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences.

Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl’s frightening path to the truth.

10. Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates

Noah York is a closeted gay teenager with a foul mouth, a critical disposition, and plenty of material for his tirades. After his father dies, Noah’s mother, a temperamental poet, takes a teaching job in a small New Hampshire town, far from Chicago and the only world Noah has known. While Noah gets along reasonably with his mother, the crumbling house they try to renovate quickly reveals dark secrets, via dusty Mason jars they discover interred between walls. The jars contain scraps of letters, poems, and journal entries, and eventually reconstructs a history of pain and violence that drives a sudden wedge between Noah and his mother. Fortunately, Noah finds an unexpected ally in J.D., a teenager down the street who has family troubles of his own.

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