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3 LGBTQ+ Rom-Com Authors You Need To Read Right Now

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

It seems like everywhere you look nowadays, books like The Love Hypothesis or It Ends with Us are being showcased on BookTok-inspired shelves in stores. While these books appeal to a wide audience, the consistent promotion of straight narratives sometimes leaves LQBTQ+ readers wanting more. If you’re wanting to broaden your horizons this fall and look for inclusive romances, these three authors are a great place to start.

Casey McQuiston (they/she)

Since the release of their New York Times bestseller Red White and Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston’s queer romances have become instant hits. Taking place in a fictional American political landscape, Red, White, and Royal Blue follows the first son, Alex Claremont-Diaz, and English royal, Prince Henry. In order to appeal to the press, the boys fake a friendship that soon spirals into a secret romance. Despite criticism of the novel promoting a narrative of Democrat-saviorism, the novel was written with the intention of providing hope for a more inclusive future.

(Content warnings: forced outing, homophobia, racism, drug and alcohol use, and sexual content.)

McQuiston’s second novel, One Last Stop, follows a mystery-obsessed cynic named August and a heartthrob butch named Jane, who has been displaced in time and trapped on the New York subway since the ’70s. One Last Stop is a story about the power of love—both metaphorically and literally. The novel also does something that’s still rare in LGBTQ+ narratives: it crafts a story surrounding almost exclusively queer characters. Myla, who identifies as queer, is in a cozy relationship with trans psychic Niko. Tattoo artist Wes spends most of the book pining for the drag queen Isaiah. One Last Stop is the opposite of performative; it’s a book by a queer person, written with the sole intention of sharing queer joy.

(Content warnings: mentions of historic hate crimes, homophobia, exploration of grief, discussion of depression and anxiety, and sexual content).

I Kissed Shara Wheeler is McQuiston’s first YA novel and her most recent publication. Part rom-com, part mystery, I Kissed Shara Wheeler allows LGBTQ+ teens to visualize themselves in a complex high-school narrative while still having romance as a central focus. Growing up in the Southern United States, Shara Wheeler is deeply personal to McQuiston, who said they wrote this book for kids like them. Regardless of age, Shara Wheeler is a coming-of-age story that shows readers that it’s never too late to defy expectations.

(Content warnings: underage drinking, religious-based homophobia, infidelity, and discussions of racism.)

Taila Hibberts (Any Pronouns)

I wish I had the time to recommend all of Taila Hibberts’ romances, but unfortunately, she’s simply written too much. For anyone who’s a romance novel cynic, let Hibberts change your mind. Hibberts’ work consistently defies everything established by the romance genre while still delivering a promised happily ever after. Hibberts’ characters are complex, each having their own struggles, goals and growth

. She believes that romance novels should be for everyone and that marginalized people deserve to be represented as romantically desirable. Some of their queer leads include a demisexual playboy (That Kind of Guy), a bisexual prince (The Princess Trap), a pansexual social butterfly (The Roommate Risk), and a bisexual Ph.D. student (Take a Hint, Dani Brown). Alongside LGBTQ+ representation, Hibberts also prioritizes the representation of minority groups and mental health, including specific content warnings at the beginning of each book. 

Alison Cochrun (She/Her)

With her first novel debuting in 2021, Alison Cochrun is new to the romance game and, at first glance, The Charm Offensive feels like it’s full of predictable tropes. Charlie, an oblivious, “straight” tech genius, agrees to be the star of a reality dating show to improve his PR, and Dev, a romantic workaholic, is assigned to be his handler in order to keep the show running smoothly. Any reader can tell from the first page that instead of finding love on the show, the men will find love with each other.

This is where the predictability stops, however. Charlie isn’t simply “quirky” for the fun of it — he has explicit struggles with OCD and a severe anxiety disorder. Dev isn’t praised for his self-destructive tendencies, instead, he’s repeatedly called out for it. This novel isn’t primarily about passion and secret love affairs; it’s about all the hard work that goes into true love and learning that you deserve love, regardless of whatever faults you may find in yourself.

Instead of portraying a hetero-normative dialogue where an LGBTQ+ couple is an anomaly, Cochrun explores many other characters’ complex sexualities. Friends of Charlie’s reassure him that sexual attraction is a spectrum and that he shouldn’t be pressured to feel any particular way. Daphne, one of the other contestants in the show, is given her own character arc as she discovers her queerness in tandem with Charlie, and her sexuality is written with as much complexity as the male leads. The Charm Offensive isn’t a one-dimensional love story— instead, it’s an honest exploration of love and the infinite journeys that could lead to it.

(Content Warnings: brief homophobia and racism, sexual content, on-page struggles with mental health, discussions about lack of familial support for both sexuality and mental health struggles.)

Whether you’re LGBTQ+ yourself or simply looking for something new to read, consider supporting novels that demonstrate that love is for everyone, not just for those who fit a certain mold.

Delaney is a freshman at UCF and this is her second semester writing for Her Campus! She enjoys reading, fashion, photography, and writing! Follow her insta @delaney_g__ and check out her photography!