Here is a selection of great teen books relating to LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) experiences. For more LGBTQ books, check out the Stonewall Awards presented annually by the American Library Association.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at a swimming pool, they form an instant bond and quickly become inseparable. Through their friendship and love, Ari and Dante learn the most important truths about themselves, their place in the universe, and the kind of people they want to be.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
The stories of a variety of gay teenage boys navigating life in the 21st century, including two who attempt to set a world record for kissing, are narrated by the generation of gay men who died of AIDS. The unique narrators bring an important historical context to today's realities in a book that is lyrical, thoughtful, hopeful, and warm-hearted. Also available in: eBook
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Sahar and Nasrin, friends since childhood, are in a secret relationship when Nasrin’s arranged marriage is announced. Distraught, Sahar vows to do something and discovers that, while homosexuality is a crime in Iran, being a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. It seems like a perfect solution to Sahar, but is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self? Also available in: eBook
Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Angie, struggling with the status of her MIA soldier sister and the constant taunts of her classmates, overeats to cope. Following a failed suicide attempt (in front of a gym full of kids), she’s back at school just trying to make it through each day. That all changes when new girl KC Romance comes to town and sees Angie for who she really is.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
In this remarkable transgender coming of age story, teenager Gabe has identified as a boy his whole life, despite being born in a girl’s body. Bullied at school and not accepted by his family, Gabe finally gets the chance to be himself when he becomes a late night DJ at a local radio station, but it also brings up other issues for both him and the station.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
When two teens meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined, going in new and unexpected directions, and building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical. Also available in: eBook & downloadable audiobook
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Logan is stunned when new girl Sage reveals that she is biologically a boy after they kiss for the first time. As Logan works through his feelings of denial, anger, anxiety and finally acceptance, Sage is struggling with her fear of being found out and her desire to be seen as a normal girl. Also available in: eBook
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Imagining that she is sending love to passengers in airplanes flying overhead, Astrid Jones, a teen from a small town torn by gossip and narrow-mindedness, struggles with her family's dysfunction and her growing love for another girl. Also available in: eBook and downloadable audiobook
I Am J by Cris Beam
J was born Jenifer, but never felt like a girl. After being rejected by his best friend and frustrated with the parents who don’t know what to make of him, J decides that he's done hiding. He runs away and discovers an LGBT high school, a transgender support group, and the sense of community he’s been longing for.
Ash by Malinda Lo
In this adaptation of the Cinderella story, orphaned Ash grows up believing in the fairy realm that the king and his philosophers have sought to suppress. When she does encounter the dark and dangerous fairy, she must choose between one cursed to love her and Kaisa, the king’s huntress whom she has fallen in love with.
Hero by Perry Moore
16-year-old Thom Creed has a lot of secrets. His parents are superheroes, or were, before his dad was kicked out and his mom vanished. Thom’s own powers (the ability to heal people) have begun to manifest. And he’s been asked to join the League – the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But nothing is more complicated than Thom’s deepest secret: he’s gay.
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George
Every Tuesday afternoon, Jesse and Emily meet in the third-floor library bathroom to make out. The only problem? Emily has a long-term boyfriend. When the girls find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what’s more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
After her father's death, 19th-century teenager Louisa is being sent to live with family friends. Or so she believes, until her carriage arrives at Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, Louisa tries to maintain her sanity amid the deplorable conditions. Louisa soon realizes that to free herself, she must find out who she really is and what she really wants.
Freak Show by James St. James
Having faced teasing that turned into a brutal attack, Christianity expressed as persecution, and the loss of his only real friend when he could no longer keep his crush under wraps, seventeen-year-old Billy Bloom, a drag queen extraordinaire, decides the only way to become fabulous again is to run for Homecoming Queen at his elite, private school near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
When 16-year-old Australian Ava transfers to an elite private school, she decides to try out a new personality--and sexual orientation. But pretending to be someone else is harder than she thought. Can Ava find what she really wants, without blowing her cover or hurting anyone (her girlfriend and potential boyfriend included) in the process?
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park by Steve Kluger
Three high school friends in Boston reflect back on their most excellent year for an English assignment, and narrate their experiences of new friendships, first loves, and coming into their own.
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Russel was convinced that he was the only gay kid in his high school until he discovers that there are others like him -- including Min, his longtime best friend, her girlfriend Terese, Terese's friend Ike, and gorgeous, popular jock Kevin. Together, they form a support group, the Geography Club.
Down to the Bone by Mayra Dole
Laura, a Cuban American teenager in Miami, is thrown out of her house and kicked out of her school when it's discovered 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.
Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
Nelson, out to the world, is secretly in love with his best friend Kyle. Kyle doesn't look gay or advertise it, but is secretly in love with Jason, a popular jock who has a popular girlfriend, but dreams about boys. When Jason shows up at a Rainbow Youth meeting, the three boys lives are intertwined as they struggle with family issues, gay bashers, and conflicting feelings about each other.
It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living
This collection of essays and testimonials written to teens from celebrities, political leaders, and everyday people, stresses to gay and lesbian youth that they can lead fulfilling lives free of bullying, and that their adult years will get better. Also available in: downloadable audiobook and streaming audiobook
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel
A helpful yet unflincing guide to the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens, as well as practical advice, real-life experiences, and resources and support groups.