LGBTQ books for all audiences

LGBTQ Books for All Audiences

A list of all kinds of LGBTQ books. Here you’ll find YA, contemporary fiction, nonfiction, numerous genres, books, comic books, manga, everything you could hope for! Match the book with your interests and enjoy some representative characters.

Please share this list with all of your LGBTQ and ally friends!

List is presented in alphabetical order by title. This list will be updated as I read more books. I am happy to take suggestions for new ones.

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camp lgbtqia ya novel cover
camp lgbtqia ya novel cover


YA novel by Lev A.C. Rosen

Genre: romance, coming of age

Audience: young adult (YA)

Camp is the perfect entry to a list of LGBTQ books. It’s aggressively inclusive across the whole rainbow. It takes place at a summer camp for gay and queer teens and shows us way more than just gay and lesbian characters.

The main story is a basic She’s All That style romance between two boys in which the nerdy boy undergoes a personality and physical makeover transition in order to woo his long time crush. Although the plot is simple the characters are complex and one of the main girls in the group is demisexual, a trait I’ve yet to see in any other book. She can only experience physical attraction after getting to know someone and she gets her own little romance in a sub story.

Camp explores all aspects of teen love, including sex, so before you hand it to a younger reader you might want to make sure they’re more on the adult side of young adult.

my brother's husband cover
my brother’s husband cover

My Brother’s Husband

Manga by Gengoroh Tagame

Genre: manga, comedy, drama

Audience: all ages

If there is one book on this list that all readers regardless of LGBTQ status should read it’s My Brother’s Husband. This manga is designed not only for gay readers but for individuals who may still be dealing with uncomfortable feelings about the subject.

It’s about a man coming to accept his late brother’s sexuality and welcome the brother’s husband into the family. He overcomes a homophobia he’s never had to confront before and grows immensely as a human. Along with having a great lesson it’s just the cutest darn book you could get your hands on. I guarantee this one to warm your heart and put a big smile on your face.

snagglepuss dc comics cover
snagglepuss dc comics cover

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

Comic book by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan

Genre: comic book, drama, alternative history

Audience: adults

Don’t let the Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters fool you, The Snagglepuss Chronicles put out by DC comics is an emotional ride. The pink cat is a gay playwright in the McCarthy era who struggles with his community being forced to stay in the closet. It helps to know a bit of American history to fully appreciate this one but any reader will be able to grasp the concepts from context.

The comic book not only deals with gay rights, gay panic, and politics but dives deep into the mental health struggles caused by these situations. Huckleberry Hound stands out as the poster boy of societal induced depression and the unfortunate consequences of isolating minority groups. This innovative comic book has far more to say than you could ever guess by the cover.

gender queer lgbtq memoir
gender queer lgbtq memoir


Nonfiction by Allan D. Hunter

Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Audience: all ages for content, teens to adults for reading level

Putting the Q in LGBTQ books is the memoir GenderQueer. Author Hunter discusses what it means to come out of a different closet and live as a “sissy male.” He’s cis and straight but feminine. Although many may confuse this with similar qualities as being trans he aims to explain yet point on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

The memoir is highly educational and so well written it’s paced like a novel more than a stuffy nonfiction book. For anyone looking to expand their queer reading outside of the traditional romance this book is an absolute must.

if i was your girl lbgtq ya novel

If I Was Your Girl

YA novel by Meredith Russo

Genre: coming of age, coming out, romance, drama

Audience: YA

This Stonewall Book Awards winner is probably recognizable by anyone searching for LGBTQ books. There’s a reason it’s on every list, it’s a positive, age appropriate novel that shows a happy ending for a trans teen.

A lot of queer literature deals with hardships and heartbreaks but If I Was Your Girl sticks to the optimistic side of things with the story of a trans teen falling in love and being accepted by her family. Although it may be almost too optimistic to the point of being unrealistic it’s still really nice to have hope for a world where trans and gay teens can live without fear.

The story doesn’t come without conflicts but it is certainly a positive read for a young adult audience. Adults can enjoy it too as it’s well written and entertaining regardless of the reading level.

just one more day cover
just one more day cover

Just One More Day

Novel by NKR

Genre: drama, new fiction

Audience: college age to adults

NKR is a rather mysterious author who publishes deeply personal and affecting books. Her style is unusual and often drifts into stream of consciousness so her books may not be for everyone. Just One More Day, at its heart, is about a young woman learning about herself.

She deals with mental health issues and the general conflicts of navigating a personal life in college. She explores her sexuality with both men and women without giving herself a label just yet. She doesn’t know how to identify, straight, bi, lesbian, she’ll have to figure it out with experience. For those of us who spent our youth confused about attraction this short novel is sure to be relatable, although somewhat depressing.

life is strange graphic novel cover
life is strange graphic novel cover

Life is Strange

Graphic novel by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi and Andrea Izzo

Genre: graphic novel, drama, supernatural, video game adaptation, video game continuation

Audience: all ages

Life is Strange is a beautiful video game series that continues here as a graphic novel. Although long embraced by the lesbian community the female protagonists of the game never got to fully achieve a relationship until the book came out. This sequel was what fans were clamoring for.

The book still has aspects of the supernatural but is more grounded than the games. The two women are growing up together and learning side by side how to live life after the traumatic events of the games. It’s definitely helpful to play the games before reading but the books are meant to standalone as clearly not all readers are also gamers.

the low low woods cover two girls with a bike on a deer skull
the low low woods cover

The Low, Low Woods

Graphic novel by Carmen Maria Machado and DaNi

Genre: comic book, drama, supernatural, horror

Audience: adults

The Low, Low Woods is more a feminist graphic novel than it is an LGBTQ book but I think it still counts. The two main characters are best friends, one of whom is a lesbian in a relationship with a woman, so there, it counts. Plus feminist and gay issues often go hand in hand.

The women in the story learn about the dark secrets their small town keeps locked away in the past. Offenses against women have even darker motives lying beneath the surface as they unlock supernatural elements to the acts of violence. This horror story is definitely dark enough to be for adults only and can be found through DC comics and the Hill House line put out by horror master Joe Hill.

my epidemic memoir cover
my epidemic memoir cover

My Epidemic

Nonfiction by Dr. Andrew M. Faulk, MD

Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Audience: all ages for material, older teens to adults for reading level

Nonfiction books and memoirs bring an intimate feel to this list of LGBTQ books. My Epidemic is written by a gay man who lived through the AIDS panic of the 1980s to become a medical doctor specializing in treating the disease. He discusses the issues with a wisdom that only comes with experience and has a lot to teach the new generation of gay men.

The memoir is well written and balances entertaining anecdotes, emotional tributes to lost friends, and educational guidance on how to get tested and get treatment if necessary. Treatment for AIDS has come an extraordinarily long way in the last few decades but that doesn’t mean we can ignore it yet. This is not only a gay issue but a human issue.

For resources about HIV and other LGBTQ health concerns start with this article by drugwatch

no 1 with a bullet graphic novel

No. 1 With a Bullet

Graphic Novel by Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman

Genre: graphic novel, drama, science fiction

Audience: adults

No. 1 With a Bullet spans numerous genres to tell a very modern story of a bisexual woman who gets tangled up in sexual politics when a scorned lover leaks a sex tape she never knew existed. She must deal with the unbelievable aftermath that follows.

As the victim she has to defend her position as victim as the media and her workplace portray her as a slut. The common stereotype of bisexual or pansexual people being incapable of monogamy is used against her while she tries to put together the shards of her relationship with her current girlfriend. The book has a lot to say about bi erasure and infighting in the LGBTQ community. It also comments on the double standard of the sexual active male vs the sexually active female. A solid read for today’s adult comic book readers.

one million tiny fires lgbtq graphic novel
one million tiny fires lgbtq graphic novel

One Million Tiny Fires

Graphic novel by Ashley Robin Franklin

Genre: graphic novel, drama, supernatural, apocalypse

Audience: adults

One Million Tiny Fires is a short graphic novel that has a intimate take on the end of the world. We see the events through the eyes of a lesbian couple that is forced to fight for their relationship.

This couple has been married for some time and has become complacent with their marriage. It’s nice to see more established couples in literature instead of only reading about the act of falling in love. This couple isn’t super dysfunctional they’ve just kind of stopped trying. Many long term relationships may experience this and relate to the troubles these women have, regardless of the status of the world and universe around them.

oranges are not the only fruit jeanette winterson
oranges are not the only fruit jeanette winterson

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Novel by Jeanette Winterson

Genre: drama, contemporary fiction, coming of age, coming out

Audience: all ages for content, teens to adults for reading level

Some books are mandatory reading for LGBTQ audiences and Jeanette Winterson could have several books on that list. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is the fictionalization of her own coming out story. A young woman must come to terms with realizing she’s gay while living in a very repressed town with her very religious family.

The novel follows the young woman as her internal struggle slowly makes its way outward. She must make a decision to come out and risk severe consequences or live a lie. In fact, she isn’t quite sure what that lie is yet. She’s been so sheltered she doesn’t have a word for what she’s feeling. Her sexuality is so foreign she has to start her soul search from the very beginning. It’s a well written story about self-discovery at all costs.

over and over graphic novel
over and over graphic novel

Over and Over

Graphic novel by Ran Michael Ekman

Genre: graphic novel, comedy, drama, slice of life

Audience: adults

Over and Over is another mature love story. The men in this graphic novel have already had a full relationship and broken up. Now it’s time to decide if they’ve both grown enough as individuals to try it again. It’s the perfect story to show how a gay couple is just like any other couple, there’s no need to single out these relationships.

Anyone who’s ever dated before will relate to this story. We all have loved and lost and most of us have then tried to love again. This book is simple, sweet, and sympathetic. I challenge you to not have flashbacks to your own relationship history while reading this one.

puppet boy
puppet boy

Puppet Boy

Erotic thriller by Christian Baines

Genre: drama, thriller, erotica

Audience: mature adults

This erotic thriller is the first entry on this LGBTQ book list to venture into the “mature adult content” warning. First and foremost, Puppet Boy is a highly entertaining page turner that will keep you guessing the entire time. It’s a thriller full of sex, violence, and some really nasty characters that you won’t be able to get enough of. The main character is a bisexual man who likes to control every aspect of his life, especially his partners and play things.

This novel is very adults only but if you’re ready to dive in to a sexy ride you won’t regret it. I read the whole book in one day because I postponed plans instead of putting down the book.

sunstone book one cover
sunstone book one cover


Graphic novel by Stjepan Šejić

Genre: graphic novel, comedy, drama, coming out, erotica, BDSM

Audience: mature adults

This graphic novel is another mature adults entry. Sunstone refers to the safe word this lesbian couple uses when engaging in their extreme BDSM relationship. The two women (maybe not fully lesbians, it’s complicated) met online and decided to fulfill each other’s fantasies. What they did not expect was to catch feelings, hard.

The graphic novel series explores healthy and consensual BDSM dynamics through various couples in the scene. The author openly discloses his own kinky lifestyle with his wife and uses this experience to show how different reality can be from the typical media power dynamic issues. This couple is loving, caring, and absolutely adorable when they’re not in some of the wildest sex positions you’ll see illustrated in a mainstream book.

theodore's work in progress book
theodore’s work in progress book

Theodore’s Work in Progress

YA novel by Chelsea Lauren

Genre: coming of age, coming out, science fiction

Audience: all ages

Many YA novels can easily be for adults as well. Theodore’s Work in Progress has a young protagonist but that doesn’t mean that older audiences can’t enjoy his journey as well. Theodore puts a new spin on the “chosen one” trope by being extremely reluctant to take on that role. He’s an overwhelmed, stressed out, anxiety and PTSD burdened teen who just wants to make a difference in the world while maintaining a relationship with his boyfriend.

He’s given the opportunity of a lifetime but before he can act on it he must learn to first take care of himself. This LGBTQ novel focuses on a coming of age tale that shows how individuals can make a difference while also living a personally fulfilling life.

they both die at the end adam silvera

They Both Die at the End

YA novel by Adam Silvera

Genre: coming of age, drama, science fiction, tearjerker

Audience: all ages

Most people take great strides to avoid spoilers of their books. They Both Die at the End tells you right in the title what is going to happen, but that does not take away from the story one little bit. The two male protagonists live in a future where everyone who is going to die on a given day is told that fact up front. We know these two young men both received their notice.

Throughout their last day they experience a lifetime of love and friendship condensed into a few fleeting hours. As another YA book that can be read by all audiences this one has no shortage of emotion to engage any and all readers. The love between these characters will dig deep down into even the coldest of hearts.

They called us enemy
They called us enemy

They Called Us Enemy

Nonfiction graphic novel by George Takai

Genre: graphic novel, nonfiction, history

Audience: all ages

George Takai of Star Trek fame accounts his youth spent in a Japanese internment camp on American soil. This often hidden aspect of American history is brought out of the shadows with his personal story of triumph. Against all odds he managed to succeed as the gay son of immigrants and star in one of the most beloved television shows of all time.

With his classic humor he takes a very serious subject and highlights the positives from his life. They Called Us Enemy doesn’t shy away from the horrific nature of racism and imprisonment but it doesn’t get bogged down in the depression either. He has had a blessed life overall and he knows it. He’s able to see things from the sunny side and give everyone some of the hope that he’s maintained.

underneath the whisky
underneath the whisky

Underneath the Whisky

Novel by Chelsea Lauren

Genre: drama, coming out, contemporary fiction

Audience: adults

Underneath the Whisky is another LGBTQ book by Chelsea Lauren, this one is more focused on an adult audience due to difficult subject matter. The protagonist of this novel is an adult man trapped in a marriage he never wanted. He’s gay and he’s known for quite some time. He attended conversion therapy to attempt to get past this “sin.” As far as his wife is concerned, he’s “cured” and that’s the last they’ll ever speak of it.

Once a handsome gay man comes into his life he finally has to confront who he really is. Through unfortunately poor coping mechanisms he begins to self destruct. Coming out can be really difficult, at any age and in any location. This is the story of facing your inner demons and realizing they’ve never been demons at all.

what if it's us
what if it’s us

What If It’s Us

YA novel by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

Genre: romance, coming of age

Audience: YA

The second entry on this list of LGBTQ books by Adam Silvera is a very traditional YA romance. Two teen boys fall in love at first site and spend a summer trying to achieve the perfect romance. It’s a highly optimistic story full to bursting with sappy rom com tropes. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.

The book is a quick and fairly entertaining read for anyone looking for a palate cleanser between more difficult books. There is a place in the world for cheesy romance and simplicity. What If It’s Us is a good counter to some of the far heavier books on this list.

I love comic books, nonfiction, and everything in between! Come discuss your favorites!