Diverse Stories for YA: LGBTQIA+

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

This diverse collection of books explores LGBTQIA+ themes for middle grades and young adults, from questions of identity and culture to friendship and love. For related booklists, see:

All the Yellow Suns

Illustration of a young woman looking at the viewer
Age Level: Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Maya Krishnan is fiercely protective of her friends, immigrant community, and single mother, but she knows better than to rock the boat in her conservative Florida suburb. Her classmate Juneau Zale is the polar opposite: she's a wealthy white heartbreaker who won’t think twice before capsizing that boat. When Juneau invites Maya to join a secret society of artists, vandals, and mischief-makers who fight for justice at their school, Maya descends into the world of change-making and resistance.

Ander & Santi Were Here: A Novel

Two people embracing

The Santos Vista neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, is all Ander Martínez has ever known. The smell of pan dulce. The mixture of Spanish and English filling the streets. And, especially their job at their family's taquería. It's the place that has inspired Ander as a muralist, and, as they get ready to leave for art school, it's all of these things that give them hesitancy. That give them the thought, are they ready to leave it all behind?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

A red truck in a field under a night sky.
Age Level: 9-12, Middle Grade
Language: Spanish vocabulary featured

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 the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — one through which they will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence. Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard.

Darius the Great Deserves Better

You man looking at two other men
Age Level: Young Adult

Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran, a lot has changed. He's getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, varsity soccer practices, and an internship at his favorite tea shop, things are falling into place. Then, of course, everything changes. Darius's grandmothers are in town for a long visit, and Darius can't tell whether they even like him. The internship is not going according to plan, Sohrab isn't answering Darius's calls, and Dad is far away on business.

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Two young men talking

Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life. Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown ― literally ― out the closet. Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable.

Flamer

Illustration of young man surrounded by flames
Age Level: Young Adult

It's the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone's going through changes ― but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can't stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.

Juliet Takes a Breath

Illustration of the back of a young woman's partially shaved head.
Age Level: Young Adult

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of. Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland and most importantly, herself.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

A streetlight shines in front of a night club on a San Francisco street at night
Age Level: Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root — that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily.

Like a Love Story

Trio of teens walking through a city
Age Level: Young Adult

It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing. Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS. Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP.

Love Beyond Body, Space, Time

Age Level: Young Adult

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman undergoing an experimental transition process to young lovers separated through decades and meeting in their own far future. These are stories of machines and magic, love and self-love.

Only This Beautiful Moment

Three generations of young men
Age Level: Young Adult

Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.

Ophelia After All

Ophelia After All
Age Level: Young Adult

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys — way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to. So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself.

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing up Female in America

brightly colored hands raised in fists and peace signs

From Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, and more of your favorite YA authors comes an anthology of essays that explore the diverse experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America.

The Black Flamingo

A boy dressed in black feathers holding a black flamingo and surrounded by pink flamingos.
By: Dean Atta
Age Level: Young Adult
Language: English

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican — but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As he gets older, Michael’s coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.

The Chandler Legacies

Teens on a boarding school lawn
Age Level: Young Adult

Beth Kramer is a “townie” who returns to her sophomore year after having endured a year of tension with her roommate, Sarah. But Sarah Brunson knows there’s more to that story. Amanda Priya “Spence” Spencer is the privileged daughter of NYC elites, who is reeling from the realization that her family name shielded her from the same fate as Sarah.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

Young woman with a rose
Age Level: Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she's gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don't fall in love. Granted, she's never been great at any of those things, but that's a problem for Future Yami.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

Young woman standing with arms crossed
Age Level: Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn't so absolute. Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

The Magic Fish

Illustration of a young boy looking at a book
Age Level: Young Adult

Tien and his mother may come from different cultures — she's an immigrant from Vietnam still struggling with English; he’s been raised in America — but through the fairy tales he checks out from the local library, those differences are erased. But as much as Tien's mother’s English continues to improve as he reads her tales of love, loss, and travel across distant shores, there’s one conversation that still eludes him — how to come out to her and his father. Is there even a way to explain what he’s going through in Vietnamese?

The Truth Is

The Truth Is
Age Level: Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn't think she has time for love. She's still struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school ― who happens to be trans ― all bets are off.