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Pride Month, celebrated every June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, is a time of recognition, commemoration and pride. It’s a time when the world celebrates the queer movement and the impact that all the LGBTQ+ members of the past have had on the world around us. One place where the words and stories of the queer community are slowly but surely being heard and celebrated year round is in the world of literature. While the publishing world still has a ways to go in terms of reaching and cultivating true diversity, stories written by and about members of the LGBTQ+ community are slowly making their way to the hands of readers and are getting their much-deserved time in the spotlight.

Whether you’re a long-time reader of LGBTQ+ stories already or are just diving into the world of queer fiction, this list is full of books by LGBTQ+ authors that highlight not just the struggles of being queer in the world, but also the triumphs of discovering yourself and accepting yourself and others.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun features a socially-awkward tech genius and his journey to finding his truest self while being the main star of a reality dating show. When Charlie Winshaw’s last ditch effort at redeeming his reputation starts to fail, Dev Deshpande, creator of love stories and fierce believer of fairytale HEA’s, steps in to help him out. But what Charlie doesn’t expect is to find himself falling for the producer instead of the contestants he’s supposed to be connecting with. This book is an exploration of ones sexual identity, lifelong struggles with mental health, falling in love for the first time and a celebration of queer love on national television. 

A high school teacher and a queer rom-com writer, Alison Cochrun uses her extensive reality dating show knowledge, to create a world where two unlikely people find love in a traditionally heteronormative world. For Cochrun, this book was about giving the parts of herself that she doesn’t always find lovable, a happily ever after and showing everybody that they are worthy of love regardless of their identity.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri’s epic sapphic fantasy inspired by Indian folklore, The Jasmine Throne is about an imprisoned princess and a maidservant with a hidden identity who set out on a journey to burn an empire down. With extensive worldbuilding, heavy politics, and a sapphic romance between two morally-grey main characters, this book sets the scene for a desi fantasy trilogy unlike anything that’s come before.

Suri’s books are an ode to Indian women, their experiences, and their love stories. A cat lover and an occasional librarian, Suri spends her days deep diving into South Asian history from her mildly haunted abode in London.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Xao

Xiran Jay Xao, a first-gen Chinese immigrant living in Canada, came out of the COVID-19 pandemic with a biochem degree and the title of an award-winning, No. 1 New York Times bestselling sci-fi and fantasy author. Their book, Iron Widow, is a sci-fi retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. This young adult, futuristic version of Zetian’s story is filled with revenge and the brutal takedown of a patriarchal world heavily interspersed with traditional Chinese history. With polyamorous representation and a magic-infused world, this book makes for a fierce read that will make you challenge the beliefs that the world feeds you.

For more information on Chinese history and culture, check out Xao’s YouTube channel, where they do everything from exploring Chinese history to analyzing Chinese culture and influences in popular media. 

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Casey McQuiston’s debut novel about the first son of America and a prince of England was originally supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek parallel universe, but the changing political landscape that was 2016 made this book so much more. The love story of Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry of Wales is the kind of pure and hopeful story that makes you want to believe in love that perseveres against all odds. Set in a world that isn’t perfect, but just a little brighter and a little more promising than ours, this book is the escape we all need to believe that the world can be a beautiful place.

With Red, White and Royal Blue, McQuiston wanted to write a book that gives their readers a hopeful optimism for a better world, and that’s exactly what they deliver on. This story is now being adapted for the screen, where readers can finally see the beauty that is a history making love that spans continents and was fought for with all the love and words of queer couples from the past. 

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Inspired by a Tumblr prompt, Aiden Thomas’ answer to what happens if you summon a ghost and can’t get rid of it is a young adult, paranormal romance featuring a gay, trans teen on his quest to prove his gender to his traditionally Latinx family. When Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, his school’s resident bad boy, these Cemetery Boys end up on a quest of self-exploration through finding one’s strength and forming true connections while also exploring the unseen struggles of being queer in a Latinx community and finding acceptance for being who you are. 

Thomas wanted to create a story where queer, trans, Latinx kids could see themselves being powerful heroes and where they find love and support for being themselves. Using his own experiences to enrich this novel with the real struggles of finding support as a queer, Latinx teen, Thomas weaves a heartwarming story of family, Latinx culture, understanding, and above all else, love. 

The Henna Wars by Adabi Jaigirdar

Set in Dublin, Ireland, The Henna Wars by Adabi Jaigirdar tells a thought-provoking story of two teen girls who fall in love while running competing henna businesses. This book doesn’t shy away from the hard parts of being a queer person of color, but rather brings forth the issues of racism, cultural appropriation and homophobia into a story about growth and love in a seamlessly integrated way. 

Jaigirdar writes a story of young love in a tumultuous environment, where every facet of a person’s identity is equally important and deserving of love. While this book is by no means a light, fluffy book, it is still a romance contemporary where happily ever after’s reign supreme. And though this book touches on some really hard topics, it is one that will leave you smiling at the end of it.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After, described as a story about a trans, Black, queer teen on his journey of self discovery while falling in love for the first time, is the honest, heartbreaking, hopeful story of Felix Love and his path to realizing that he is worthy of love and everything that comes with it. Felix’s raw, real story comes on the heels of a traumatic, transphobic act that sets him down this path of questioning his identity and discovering who he really is. It’s relatable, it’s painful, and it’s a story that queer kids around the world can find solace in.

Kacen Callender’s own journey of questioning their identity as a young, queer kid made them want to emphasize the point that it is okay to keep questioning or to even decide that labels are not for you, in this story of self-love and identity. 

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

What do you get when you put together sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, and add in some lesbian necromancers? If you ask Tamsyn Muir, you’d end up with a book like Gideon the Ninth, the first book in a character-driven, epic fantasy series that is literally about lesbian necromances in space. This might be an overtly simple explanation for a book that utilizes gothic horror and modern humor, melded together by vicious, brooding main characters in a twisting and mysterious tale filled with swordplay, sarcasm, and magic.

This haunting series is moody and angsty in the best of ways and according to Muir, that’s exactly what she was going for. The women in this story don’t shy away from anger, rage and violence but rather embrace it, and as someone who was discouraged from having such strong emotions as a kid, Muir wrote this book for the ones who just want to get angry and let loose.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a heartwarming story of two boys who are as different as day and night, the inexplicable friendship they form from the second they meet, and their journeys towards learning to love and writing their own stories. It’s a story about growing up and finding yourself through an honest exploration of oneself and one’s identity. 

A beautifully written coming-of-age story, this book set in 1980s Texas tugs on your heartstrings, pulls you in, and gets you invested in the bond between these two young teens, their experiences and their lives as a whole. Benjamin Alire Sáenz, whose personal story reads like a novel, has a poetic way of writing that makes this one truly beautiful to read. 

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Wolfsong by TJ Klune is the first book in the Green Creek series, a queer series about a pack of wolf shifters who draw you in and keep you sucked in long after you turn the last page. With unforgettable characters in a fantasy world of magic and wolves, this book introduces you to the members of the Bennett pack, their struggles and their journeys to their hard-won HEAs. 

While this novel and series are set in a fantasy world, Klune is a fierce advocate for accurate, positive representation of queer people in fiction. Being queer himself, he works hard to portray characters with real problems, whose struggles become your own through the pages of his books.

The Spare Room By Andrea Bartz

This is not author Andrea Bartz’s first, second, or even third hit novel. The Spare Room is the writer’s fourth, highly-anticipated return to the feminist thriller fiction genre. Following her widely-loved The Lost Night, The Herd, and We Were Never Here, this story sees the New York Times best-selling author exploring her darkest and sexiest themes yet. In fact, Bartz drew from her own experiences during the pandemic when she soft-launched her bisexuality.

The Spare Room focuses on protagonist Kelly who is alone and unemployed in Philadelphia during the lockdown. However, she rekindles her friendship with her childhood buddy Sabrina, and eventually moves into Sabrina and her husband’s spare room. This leads to a super steamy threesome between the couple and new roomie. At first, Kelly is down for the hot arrangement, but soon becomes wary when she learns the couple’s former third person is missing. Is Kelly next? Pick up your own copy ASAP.

Sindu Karunakaran is a national writer at Her Campus where she covers topics ranging from book lists to entertainment and cultural news. She graduated from NC State in 2021 with degrees in English and Communication. She is an avid reader and has an Instagram account and blog dedicated to her love of books. When she's not reading or writing, you can usually find her binge-watching the latest show, or trying out a new recipe.