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Everyone wants to be able to identify and connect with characters in the books they read. Unfortunately, though, representation of all identities was not always front and center in popular literature. However, in recent years, there have been more and more novels published (across all genres!) that have introduced complex characters of all gender identities and sexual orientations. While we have a long way to go in terms of representation in the mainstream media, this is a good start. Here are 10 books featuring LGBTQ+ characters. 

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


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The inspiration for the hit film, Love, Simon, Becky Albertalli’s first novel is about Simon, a high school student who is trying to find the courage to come out to his friends and family. In the meantime, he begins an email correspondence with a pen pal that he comes out to. When another student discovers the emails, Simon must decide whether he is ready to live as his true self. Hilarious and heartwarming Simon is a must-read! (Bonus: Becky Albertalli’s other two novels, The Upside of Unrequited and Leah on the Offbeat also feature numerous LGBTQ+ characters). 

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri 


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Katie is a lawyer who is just getting out of a long-term relationship when she meets Cassidy, another lawyer who is the champion of casual relationships. When Katie and Cassidy start to fall for each other, they must navigate personal and professional obstacles on their way to true love. A cute, quick read, you won’t want to say goodbye to Katie and Cassidy. 

Check, Please! #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu 


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If graphic novels are more your speed, you don’t want to miss this debut! Bitty is a vlogger and hockey player who is starting his freshman year at Samwell University. In addition to the usual pressures of college life, he must also figure out what is going on with the very attractive team captain. This book already has incredible reviews on Goodreads.

Spinning by Tillie Walden


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If you’ve ever devoted your life to one thing, then made a sudden change, you’ll connect with Tillie Walden’s memoir, Spinning. Walden was a competitive figure skater for a number of years, but when she gets a girlfriend and discovers life away from the rink, she starts to wonder why she spent so much time skating. This read is perfect for when you want to reflect on your own life and decisions. 

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash 

An exploration of first love, Maggie Thrash has never been kissed, but one summer at camp, a chance encounter starts a deep love for one of her female counselors. An exploration of love and lost, Honor Girl is honest and sad, but makes for an engaging memoir. 

As I Descended by Robin Talley 

For fans of fantasy and horror, Robin Talley’s As I Descended is the story of Maria and Lily, the power couple that rules over Acheron Academy. While they might be a power couple, the one thing that threatens them is Delilah. When the three girls compete for a scholarship to Stanford, things get intense and may have deadly consequences. Considered a modern retelling of Macbeth, this is way more interesting than anything you ever read in high school English. 

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston 


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Victoria-Margaret is a princess in a futuristic British empire who is all set to enter into an arranged marriage to benefit her kingdom. But with one more summer of fun, she meets Helena and August—two individuals who steal her heart. This YA novel is the perfect combo of romance, sci-fi and historical fiction, guaranteed to enthrall all readers. 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 


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Henry Montague is a gentleman who can’t be tamed, but as he sets off to travel across Europe, he decides to enjoy life before he is forced to become an adult. With his sister Felicity and his crush Percy, Henry gets into all sorts of adventures (and romance) along the way. If you enjoy this installment, the sequel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, is all about Felicity. Girl power! 

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan 


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Considered a “feminist Stranger Things,” Paper Girls is a sci-fi comic book adventure about what happens when four paper girls take a journey through space and time in the 1980s. In between the fun pop culture references and non-stop action, young love has time to blossom in this fantastic comic. Volumes 1-4 are available now, and Volume 5 hits shelves this December. 

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg 

An Arabian Nights inspired fantasy with beautiful illustrations, The One Hundred Nights of Hero is full of love and feminism. Cherry’s husband makes a deal with an evil man, Manfred, promising Cherry to Manfred if he is able to seduce her. But Cherry has a secret—she is in love with her maid, Hero. The two women must work together to protect Cherry’s fate and save their love. 

All of these books can be found on Amazon, at your local library or your favorite indie bookstore. 

Sarah Shevenock is a graduate of The College of William and Mary, where she served as a staff writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus William and Mary. Currently, she is a National Contributing Writer and Entertainment Blogger. In her free time, she enjoys reading voraciously, watching morning news programs, and keeping up with the latest television and movie news. She loves to talk about anything and everything related to theatre, cheer for her beloved Pittsburgh Penguins, and drink fancy coffee.