Five Queer YA Stories You Should Read Right Now

For young queer people, there’s often never enough books to read that represent stories like yours, or people like you. Especially when it comes to stories that represent queer love without so much of the queer angst or homophobia that we already feel and experience in our day-to-day lives, or even stories that center queer characters rather than keep them as side characters. So, without further ado, here are five queer YA stories to read and enjoy!

 

#1: Leah on the Off Beat, by Becky Albertalli

While Becky Albertalli is best known for her first queer love story, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (also known as Love, Simon in the movie adaptation), her second book, Leah on the Off Beat, stars Simon’s best friend Leah, a bisexual girl who is only out to her mother and experiencing her feelings beginning to change for one of the people in her friend group. A queer love story that picks up around where Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda left off, Leah on the Off Beat is definitely worth a read!

 

 

#2: Zeroes, by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

From the minds of great YA writers comes a great story. The teens in Zeroes are essentially what the Young Justice League would be if it was more diverse and more queer—young superheroes with strange powers who are determined to band together to stop various villains from wreaking havoc in their city. Though the queer aspect of it doesn’t properly start until the second novel, it’s a brilliant story for the modern age about teenage superheroes and also provides a queer story where the characters also have other concerns aside from their queerness.

 

 

#3: What If It’s Us, by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Another story co-authored by Becky Albertalli, What If It’s Us tells the story of two boys, Ben and Arthur, during an unforgettable summer in New York City. While this book does focus largely on the developing relationship between these boys, it also focuses on the ways that relationships can fluctuate and change, and how people can maintain friendships with people who have broken their hearts, or make the decision to break up with someone even though it hurts. This is an especially great story for anyone who lives in New York City—with authors who are clearly familiar with the layout of the city, it’s a rich background to a beautiful plot.

 

 

#4: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

This is the book for anyone who’s ever railed against J.K. Rowling and how she ignored what an obvious pairing Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter were. Set in a fantasy world (which makes its debut in Rowell’s previous book, Fangirl), it details the story of Simon Snow and Tyrannus Basil Grimm-Pitch (or ‘Baz’ for short), two roommates at Watford School of Magicks. Simon is the so-called Chosen One, said to be more powerful than any other magic practitioner before him, and Baz is the vampire outcast seemingly on the wrong side of the war that’s beginning to brew. Baz has been in love with his roommate for years, and Simon's starting to realize just how deeply his feelings run for his antagonistic roommate. With vampires, magic, and lots of pent-up feelings, this is a good one for anyone who’s ever wanted their fantasy stories to embrace their inner queerness.

 

 

#5: Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld

Another one by Westerfeld, this story is a brilliant one for anyone who is queer, lives in New York City, or is a young writer, as this embraces all three. Interspersed with chapters written by the main character, this novel follows Darcy, an eighteen-year-old woman who has gotten a contract with a publishing agency and puts off college in order to move to New York City and pursue her writing. Along the way, Darcy meets a beautiful young writer named Imogen. This story is basically wish fulfillment for anyone who’s ever wanted to live as a writer in New York City—but at the same time, it’s also more than that. It explores the experience of coming out in one’s late teens, as well as the ways that people can love one another and still have to work on the ways that they express that love.

 

 

All in all, there are some brilliant stories on queer love out there, and some brilliant ways to tell them. Happy holidays—and stay queer!