LGBTQ+ Fiction, and all its various subcategories, is a genre that has been growing over the past few years, branching out into young adult (YA), adult, and even children’s literature. Fictional LGBTQ+ stories are full of beautiful messages, unforgettable characters, and relatable experiences that readers of all ages can enjoy.
Avid readers will know that there is something incredibly exciting (and admittedly a little stressful) about adding new releases to their TBR (to-be-read) lists. So, with that being said, here are twenty one LGBTQ+ Fiction books to look out for over the remainder of the year. Happy reading!
1. Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sigiura (June 8)
Nozomi Nagai dreamt of having a summer romance, but definitely not a fake one. Until the beautiful and heartbroken Willow appears. Determined to make her ex jealous, Willow has Nozomi stand in as her new girlfriend. Nozomi has an agenda of her own: show Willow that their relationship can be something real. However, the more lies that build up between the two girls, the more likely disaster will strike and Nozomi’s plans will take a course she didn’t expect.
2. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa (June 8)
Julian Luna is determined to graduate high school and attend UCLA, which means escaping from the restrictive environment of Corpus Christi, Texas and the inauthentic life he had to create for himself. But after posting an impulsive tweet, the next nine months of Jules’ life will be anything but normal and quiet. Now that the truth about his sexuality is out there for the whole world to see, Jules knows he risks facing rejection, but also is reassured that he can finally start to live as his true self. Soon after, a “Twitter crush” named Mat from Los Angels starts DMing Jules and the two start to develop a close bond. When Jules’ fears about coming out start to become a reality, all Jules wants is the person who lives fifteen hundred miles away from him. Jules must face these hardships alone and take control of what happens to him next.
3. Renegade Rule by Ben Kahn (June 8)
The Manhattan Mist have earned themselves a place in the national championships for Renegade Rule, one of the most popular virtual reality games. The competition is tougher than they realized, and winning the championships can actually change the lives of one of the Mist’s members. The four queer female gamers (and good friends) must not only fight the competition, but overcome self-doubt and even romance if they want to succeed.
4. Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow (June 8)
Dalia has two goals for the summer: finally ride on a roller coaster and make a new best friend. But the surprise announcement of her father’s engagement turn Dalia’s plan on its head. Dalia’s father and soon-to-be stepmother want Dalia to bond with Alexa, Dalia’s future stepsister over the last few weeks of summer. Dalia decides that perhaps she can still achieve her summer goals if she joins Alexa on the amusement park road trip Alexa had been planning for months, and bring along Rani (a girl from Dalia’s swim team). The summer fun of rollercoasters and funnel cakes is suddenly made more complicated when Alexa’s girlfriend joins the trip. Dalia must now keep Alexa’s secret and come to realize she might be hiding something too. What if she likes Rani more than a friend?
5. Both Can Be True by Jules Machias (June 8)
Ash is familiar with the hardships of feeling like you don’t belong. Frequently switching between their genders, Ash feels somedays that they are female, but other days male.
Daniel struggles to control his emotions and is tired of feeling as if being overly sensitive isn’t acceptable in society. He wants someone to accept him for who he is. When Daniel decides to rescue a dog that would otherwise be euthanized, Ash volunteers to help.
This secret allows Ash and Daniel to become friends, but also creates a problem once the two start developing feelings for one another. Daniel perceives Ash as only female. The two will either never feel satisfied with themselves for not fitting into society’s binary molds, or will embrace themselves for who they truly are, which is living between those binaries.
6. The Queer Principles of Kit Webb: A Novel by Cat Sebastian (June 8)
Kit Webb thinks he’s left his “stand-and-deliver days” in the past, but long, boring days working at a coffee shop cause him to daydream about thievery. And when a mysterious, rude, and handsome stranger barges into the shop one day, Kit feels as if he must submit to anything this man tells him to do. Lord Percy Holland needs to retrieve an important item in order to save himself and a friend: a book that Percy’s mother once owned and one Percy’s father never lets leave his sight. Although Kit won’t have any part in the actual robbery, he will teach Percy how to do what needs be done. As these lessons continue, Percy “discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit.” The two men must overcome the snags in their plan, as well as a revelation that is sure to shatter their growing relationship and feelings for one another.
7. Rainbow Milk: A Novel by Paul Mendez (June 8)
It’s the 1950s, and Jamaican immigrant Norman Alonso is an ex-boxer, determined to live a modest and peaceful life in Britain with his family. Unplanned illnesses and racism cause the family develop their resilience and the realization that hope alone won’t allow them to survive in this new country.
At the beginnings of the millennium, Jesse travels to London for a new start, leaving behind his immediate family (unstable and broken), a restrictive religious community, and his hometown in Black County. Soon Jesse is defining his masculinity, spirituality, and ideas about love through music, art, and sex work.
8. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury (June 15)
All witches must pass the Calling in order to receive their full powers. But Voya Thomas definitely did not expect to fail hers. Voya receives a second chance to pass thanks to one of her ancestors. But the price that must be paid is not what Voya expected: kill her first love or all Thomas witches will lose their magic. Voya is determined not to fail and cause her family shame. Although she’s never been in love, she must find someone to fall for. Fast. She decides to take part in a matchmaking program to find herself someone. Voya’s task is made more complicated when she’s matched with Luc, who seems as if he couldn’t be any less interested in her. Voya’s morals and dedication to her family are at war with each other. She wants to save her family and Luc, but in doing so must give her ancestor something worth more than blood. “And in witchcraft, blood is everything.”
(This book features a trans love interest, a trans side character, and a lesbian demi side character)
9. Darling by K. Ancrum (June 22)
When a mysterious and enchanting boy named Peter appears at Wendy’s window on her first night in Chicago, she agrees to spend the night exploring the city with him. Instead of attending a party, Wendy and Peter end up in the city’s undergrounds. She meets Tinkerbelle and the lost boys, who Peter cares for. Soon she’s become enemies with Detective Hook. And as she learns more of Peter’s secrets, Wendy risks naming him an enemy too.
10. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron (June 29)
Briseis has the ability to make small seeds grow into beautiful blooms with only a single touch.
Bri’s aunt died and has left Bri her decaying estate in rural New York. Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn and spend the summer there instead. Maybe being surrounded by all the plants and vegetation will help Bri learn how to control her gift. However, the family discovers their new home is full of dark secrets, including a garden, full of fatal botanicals, that is only accessible to those with Bri’s talents. People begin appearing at the estate, inquiring after elixirs and tinctures. Bri learns she is skilled at producing them. One of these strangers is Marie, who Bri soon befriends. Marie educates Bri about this estate and the neighboring community. Bri decides to learn the full extent of her inheritence, until a dangerous group starts hunting her and a powerful elixir that grants immortality. Bri’s gift is the only weapon that can save her and her family.
11. Stranger Things: Rebel Robin by A.R. Capetta (June 29)
You met her in Stanger Things Season 3, now learn more about Robin in this Stranger Things prequel!
At the beginning of their sophomore year, Robin and her group of friends decide this year they will finally fit in with everyone else: dates, college, future careers, and becoming “normal.” None of this is new to Robin, she’s been “playing the game” for years. However, Robin begins to realize that one part of her identity can never fit in with these ideas of what’s “normal”: she’s attracted to girls. Robin thinks about escaping to Europe for the summer to live as her true self for the first time in her life. But she has no money, no permission, nor a traveling companion. Robin must figure out what else it will take to escape Hawkins.
12. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (July 6)
Olivia is no stranger to falling in love and getting heartbroken. But her last breakup caused her to be an outcast at school and at home. She decides it’s time for a new chapter in her life. What better way than a weekend with her best friend at a music and arts festival? No crushes, and no broken hearts.
Toni is about to start college, and isn’t exactly thrilled about it. She’s unsure of which direction she wants to take in life, and is still mourning the death of her father. He was a musician, but became a roadie. This music festival is what changed his life, maybe it’ll change hers.
Once Olivia and Toni meet, they realize they needed each other to achieve what they hoped for out of attending the festival, especially thanks to the power music can have in bringing people close together.
13. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (July 20)
1345. China. Mongol rule. Starvation. Desperation.
A destiny of greatness was fated for the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, but no one knows how this greatness will manifest itself. On the other hand, their second daughter is expected to receive nothing special. But in an surprising turn of events, when a gang of bandits attack the two children, the daughter is the one who escapes while her brother dies. In this “gender-bending” Mulan-inspired story, the daughter decides to use her dead elder brother’s identity to become a monk with the hopes of escaping her fate. Ultimately, Zhu decides there is another objective, one greater than she can possibly image: claim her brother’s unachieved greatness for her own.
14. I Kissed a Girl by Jennet Alexander (August 3)
Lilah is an aspiring actress with dreams of moving upwards from the B-List category. When she’s cast as the lead in a role that could be her big break, she realizes she’ll need extra help to be successful and prove herself to everyone who doubted her.
Noa has the talents as a makeup and special effects artist, but is struggling to find her way in the professional world. She’s struggling to keep those around her happy, but decides to help her secret crush Lilah achieve her dreams of stardom.
Long hours and hard work present their own obstacles, but can Lilah and Noa’s growing bond make it once they step out into the spotlight?
15. Windfall by Shawna Barnett (August 12)
Captain Liana Foley is well-versed in fighting. She’s fought the King’s Navy, she’s fought against the uneven power in Vioria, she’s fought to gain respect as a female bisexual captain, and she’s struggling to overcome her biggest challenge of all: leaving behind her past as a princess. When a stranger and a letter appear, threatening to blackmail Liana, she’s suddenly in charge of protecting the Princess Rhian. Liana agrees, hoping this unforeseen arrangement will finally allow her to learn the truth of her parents’ deaths and the events that forced Liana into hiding. Rhian has her secret powers, and soon she, Liana, and the pirate crew are on the run. Liana decides the safest place for Rhian is right under the nose of Liana’s dangerous brother-in-law. (A Kindle book)
16. Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn (September 7)
It’s barely been a year, but Ryia Cautella has already built a reputation for herself as having the “quickest blade” (and the “sharpest tongue”) in Carrowwick. However, “Ryia Cautella” is not her true name. She’s spent the last six years traveling from town to town, hiding a deadly secret, all while trying to avoid the formidable Guildmaster sovereign of the kingdoms of Thamorr. His servants always manage to find Ryia, but she knows they can be defeated. Now, Ryia is a the center of the Guildmaster’s stronghold and she can no longer manage alone. She forms a team with various smugglers, miscreants, and thieves, then carefully calculates her next plan. But her new accomplices are selfish like her, each with their own hidden motives and secrets.
17. Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles (September 21)
Gio’s life has always had a hole in it. It’s not his bisexuality, his father’s alcoholism, or his friends’ never-ending drama. The hole is Gio’s birth mother, who left the family when Gio was nine years old. It’s been eight years since he last heard from her and she comes back into his life once Gio starts getting his life together. Does Gio forgive his mom? Or has too much time passed for her to make things right? And when Gio starts spending more time with David, his feelings grow more complicated. Are the two boys just friends, or something more? It seems as if Gio can’t figure out what he wants or needs from anybody lately.
18. City of Reckoning by Brianna da Silva (September 21)
Kindy Sharro is a Nocturan, with bat wings, night vision, and claws. Being a Nocturan indicates she is constantly at risk of being captured by hunters who kill Nocturans for sport. Then, an invasion changes everything. Nocturans are now enlisted to serve those who once killed them to defend themselves against “a godlike foe.” Kindy joins the war, but only because she believes she will have a chance at murdering Charris Pouden, her sworn enemy, before he tries to kill her.
Lasia Mae’olo is a skilled warrior. She’s plotting a rebellion against the Dorish Empire. Once she enters the war, she must determine how to fulfill her own plans. She’s plagued by suspicion and distrust, leading Lasia to question which side of the war she truly belongs to. (A Kindle book)
19. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (September 21)
Wallace suspects he might be dead when a reaper comes to him at his own funeral. An owner of a special tea shop named Hugo says he’ll help Wallace cross over to the other side, which indicates to Wallace that he’s certainly dead. But Wallace isn’t ready to leave his unfulfilled life behind, so when he’s permitted one more week to live, Wallace vows to “live a lifetime” over the next seven days.
20. Traitors of the Black Crown by Cate Pearce (September 22)
“Three women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen.”
The Queen’s guard murdered Raena’s family, but Raena barely escaped. Knowing she’d surely be executed if the Queen found out, Raena has spent the last fifteen years posing as “Sir Rowan,” a male knight, with the intentions of one day killing the Queen. Right when Raena has her chance, she is exiled to another land. Now, Raena serves Duchess Aven Colby, who is cordial with the Queen, thus creating more danger if Raena’s secrets are exposed. Soon enough, a romance develops between “Rowan” and Aven. The risk of a possible invasion means Aven and Rowan must travel and form political alliances, creating the potential of infuriating the Queen and bringing Aven and Raena closer and closer together. However, another enemy is not too far away. Aven, Raena, and the Queen must all learn who the true enemy is, join themselves together, and resist the Black Crown.
21. Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (December 28)
Ben made it through his freshman year of college, but things haven’t been just right for him. He’s unhappy with his classes, and working a part-time job with his dad is making things worse. Also, his best friend Dylan has been behaving strangely for months. Luckily, Ben has his writing partner Mario, who helps Ben with Spanish lessons (and sneaks in some kisses on the side). Mario has big dreams that inspire Ben to dream bigger than he ever had before. However, Ben can’t seem to forget about a special boy from his past.
Arthur comes back to New York for the first time in two years, as an “intern to assistant of an off-off-Broadway director.” He misses his adorable boyfriend Mikey terribly, but knows this distance can’t break their relationship. To further highlight that point, ex-boyfriend Ben suddenly appears back in Arthur’s life, happily seeing someone else. “First loves are special, but it’s way too late for what-ifs. Right?”
Ben and Arthur left their romance in the past, but does fate keep bringing them together in the present for a reason? Find out what happens in the long-awaited What If It’s Us sequel!