5-Star Book Reviews: LGBTQ+

15 LGBTQ Books From Preschool To High SchoolJune is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Pride Month (LGBTQ+ Pride Month) — celebrated annually to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to violent police raids during the summer of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York City. The riots are considered to be one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the twentieth century fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.

Pride Month works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning Americans. Check out these great books that represent the broad spectrum of LGBTQ+ voices in YA literature, and follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog!

If an eBook and/or audiobook is available, links are also provided (Sora login is required).

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin — Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. “Speaking with equal impact to both the reader’s heart and mind, Beyond Magenta is highly recommended” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out In The Streets by Gayle E. Pitman — Pitman describes American gay history leading up to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, including interviews with people involved and witnesses. Profusely illustrated with contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects, this is a timely and necessary read that helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement. “An important look at a major moment in American history” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper — Seventeen-year-old Marty Pierce leaves small-town Kentucky for London, hoping to explore his sexuality and find work playing oboe, but homesickness, anxiety, and his dwindling savings worsen even as his dreams are coming true. “Stamper does a beautiful job with his characters and their intricate relationships, and he’s no slouch when it comes to plotting, either. On top of this, he writes believably about music, which is Marty’s his religion, and a beautiful one it is” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Beyond The Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald — After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst. “Readers will be caught up throughout Emanuela’s ascent into power as she attempts to save Occhia — whether it wants to be or not” (School Library Journal).

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta — A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, from acclaimed poet and performer Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, and Kacen Callender. “A triumphant and emotional story about standing up for and embracing oneself that readers of any orientation and ethnicity will relate to” (School Library Journal). Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, 2020. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

The Bridge by Bill Konigsberg — Two teenagers, strangers to each other, have decided to jump from the same bridge at the same time. But what results is far from straightforward in this absorbing, honest lifesaver from acclaimed author Bill Konigsberg. “Messy, complicated, and sometimes alarmingly candid, this is a poignant, sincere look at the many ways mental illness affects young people, as well as those they know and love” (Booklist).

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron — Queer black girls team up to overthrow the kingdom in this unique and powerful retelling of Cinderella from a stunning new voice that’s perfect for fans of A Curse So Dark and Lonely. “A fast-paced read, this title will challenge readers’ conceptions on many fronts, garnering wide attention by way of our shared experiences of the Cinderella trope” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

A Complicated Love Story Set In Space by Shaun David Hutchinson — Black Mirror meets What If It’s Us in this gripping, romantic, and wildly surprising novel about two boys lost in space trying to find their way home — while falling in love — from the critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants. “A wildly ambitious, wackily imaginative tale that will leave readers craving a sequel” (Publishers Weekly).

Flamer by Mike Curato — It’s the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can’t stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance. “Curato has created a beautiful story of a teen who must decide if he will force himself into the mold of what he thinks a “normal” boy is, or if he can allow himself to live life on his own terms. An essential book that shows readers that they are never alone in their struggles” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar — Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. “The scenes between Flávia and Nishat simmer, and their mesmerizing relationship unfolds with just the right amount of complexity. Impossible to put down” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the Audiobook

Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzalez — Seventeen-year-old Darcy Phillips, a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates, is hired by the ‘hot’ guy at school to help him get his ex back. “A highly inclusive read with many characters identifying as LGBTQ+, this delightful foray into the world of high school relationships is a fantastic read for romance fans” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen — Getting into a fender-bender with a beautiful rival after an embarrassing loss to her ex, a talented basketball athlete reluctantly agrees to a carpool arrangement before an opportunity for revenge leads to an unlikely relationship. “This optimistic romance is a page-turner full of quippy dialogue and emotional authenticity” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

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