When LGBTQ young adult books were first hitting the shelves, there was essentially one kind of novel you could expect to find: a coming-out narrative based on the main character discovering their orientation — often because of a love interest — and then the consequences of telling their friends and family. Those stories are necessary and important for young LGBTQ readers, but many teens and young adults are also looking for diversity. Where are the LGBTQ characters in comedies, in science fiction, in fantasy? Where are the books where the character has a diverse identity beyond their orientation or gender identity?
That’s where our “Top 5 Diverse LGBTQ Books” list comes in. Hopefully these are books in which you can find yourself.
1. Far From You by Tess Sharpe
This book is, at its core, a mystery and a crime thriller about a girl trying to discover what really happened in her best friend’s murder. There’s also a beautiful same-sex romance that will most likely break your heart like it did mine.
2. The Adaptation Series by Melinda Lo
This series features a bisexual protagonist and is a fast-paced thriller with hints of fantasy, sci-fi, and government conspiracy theories. It’s definitely an action-packed page-turner filled with twists and turns. You won’t be able to put it down easily.
3. The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Marion
One of the first transgender YA books by a transgender author, this book is unusual in that it features a character of non-binary gender who also has a disability. The protagonist deals with epilepsy throughout, but make no mistake — it’s a fantasy, science fiction type of book at its heart with romance and action mixed in.
4. Every Day by David Levithan
With a protagonist who changes bodies (and genders) every morning, this book is as non-binary as it gets. It challenges the idea of what it means to love someone and explores the different obstacles that love can overcome.
5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This is a slow-paced book about two loners who form an unlikely friendship and fall in love. The protagonists are also Mexican American, and the author deals with the stereotypes and racial identity issues that come with that. This book is diverse in more ways than one.
There’s nothing like picking up a good book and finding yourself in it. That’s why we need diverse published stories, and the books on this list make a great starting point.