Favorite Queer Young Adult Novels
Feeling low key self-conscious about listing with nary a follower, but this is at least a good thing to shout into the void about. (Saddened by how short this list is, so please do add if anyone manages to locate this list)
- •The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. DanforthListen up, y'all. Cameron Post is my GIRL. My small, baby gay child. I love Emily Danforth's writing...everything from emotion to setting feels so tangible. This one has more gay based conflict than I tend to prefer (it's set in early 90's Montana and she eventually goes to a de-gaying school) but still managed to prioritize rich, complex characters....they never feel like they're just mouthpieces for a agenda.
- •Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCourThe white whale of LGBT YA: completely casual queerness, almost no gay angst. A love story between two girls that wouldn't fundamentally change if it wasn't two girls. A great read, like LaCour's first novel Hold Still (honorable mention for some strong lesbian supporting characters). As someone on a super low rung of the entertainment industry, it was occasionally frustrating to read about an 18 year old doing production design like an after school job, but that's my only (petty) complaint.
- •Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David LevithanLevithan isn't usually my favorite in this arena, but God, I still shamelessly love this book. Tiny Cooper is a joy on the page. I love both the un-romanticized high school relationship and the unwavering best friendship.
- •Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzThis one came highly recommended (and covered with awards) but it took me awhile to get into the narrators voice. By about the halfway point, though, I was thoroughly absorbed. I love how it was friendship first (no insta-love here) and how prominent and important the parents were. I also think this book did a coming out narrative in a subtle, moving way I've never really seen before.
- •Carry On by Rainbow RowellI'll be honest, this is my least favorite book by one of my favorite authors - I just prefer her realistic fiction. That said, it's a satisfying realization of all those uncanon slash ships, and yet still in an impressively rich fantasy world that doesn't feel like just a HP spoof. Rowell's strengths at dialogue and character details are still at play...and the female characters are delightful and relevant.
- •I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy NelsonThis is one of my favorite books ever, and I'm honestly appalled I forgot to add it right away, but it's not a book I found while specifically seeking out good LGBT stories. But Noah Sweetwine (one of the two protagonist/narrators - the other is his twin sister, Jude, and it must be said: I love a good sinking story) is one of my favorite YA boys ever, and he and Brian and their smitten thirteen year old romance warm my heart.
- •Far From You by Tess SharpeJust read it this weekend, an utterly beautiful and heartbreaking romance and mystery. It's go a disabled bisexual (!!!!) protagonist with a drug addiction. The prose is the kind of beautifully simplistic and emotive writing I love, the present day/flashback structure is perfectly used, and the mystery at the center is unique and compelling. Always bonus points for a queer novel with an actual hook to its plot.