For many young people just becoming aware of their sexuality, being exposed to stories that feel like their own can be a comfort and a refuge at the same time.
In this regard, books that focus on young adult readers can prove invaluable but, of course, that doesn’t mean that older adults aren’t allowed to read them, too. By the same measure, books that centre on LGBTQI+ issues aren’t exclusively meant for an LGBTQI+ audience.
Here are 6 LGBTQI+ young adult books that everyone should read.
1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante seem to have precious little in common when they first meet at the swimming pool, but as time goes on and their friendship grows, it leads to the discovery of truths about themselves, their families and who they want to be.
2. None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio
Touching on a subject that is rarely spoken about, this novel asks important questions about what it means to be a girl, what it means to be a boy, and what it means to be something in between. Kristin Lattimer has everything going for her: she’s voted homecoming queen, she has a full scholarship to college, she’s crazy about her boyfriend. When she discovers she’s intersex, and the news leaks at school, Kristin has to come to terms with an identity she is comfortable with, while everyone else is questioning it.
3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Recently made into a hit film, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a modern love story with a twist. When sixteen-year-old Simon Spier sends an email revealing a secret and it falls into the wrong hands, it leads him having to consider coming out, coming of age and coming to terms with his sexuality.
4. The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth
After being orphaned when her parents die in a car accident, Cameron Post goes to live with her old-fashioned and conservative grandmother and aunt. After realising she’s gay and falling in love with her best friend, Cameron is sent to a gay conversion camp, where she has to decide whether denying her true identity is really worth the cost. A film based on this book is set to come out later this year.
5. If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo
Upon moving to a new school, Amanda Hardy meets Grant, an easy-going boy who she quickly falls for, and almost feels like she’s ready to share everything with. But how will Grant react when he finds out that one of Amanda’s most closely guarded secrets is that she was known as Andrew at her previous school?
6. If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan
Set in Iran, seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six years old. Homosexuality is a crime, but Sahar considers another option that would allow her to be with Nasrin. Sex reassignment surgery is accessible and legal, and seems like a way to “correct nature’s mistake”. Will Sahar be able to sacrifice who she is for love?