Five Best LGBTQ Books for Teens

Panhuman Books — November 1, 2021

Explore the world of LGBTQ literature with these five award-winning, inspirational, and engaging books perfect for teens. They each carry a unique impact for those young people looking for characters just like them and stories that reach beyond entertainment to meaning.

They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera

This New York Times bestseller tells the story of two young men, Rufus and Mateo, who are paired as Last Friends in a world where death is scheduled. In a single day, they explore adventure and love in the face of impending doom. They Both Die at the End age rating puts this book at the upper end of the teenage years for its serious and profound topics. In the young LGBTQ community, it has inspired a lot of fanart and stories.

Soon we will see a new Netfix series based on the adaptation of this outstanding novel (*updated on 2/6/2023).

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

In this Best YA Book of All Time winner, two young men meet at a local swimming pool. At first glance, they have nothing in common, but time and togetherness transforms into mutual understanding and appreciation. Aristotle and Dante discover more about themselves and their own personal universe that involves honesty, both platonic and romantic love, and a poetic exploration of what friendship can really be.

We Are Okay

by Nina LaCour

This emotive exploration of a lonely young woman, Marin, follows her away from home and into an empty dorm over the holiday break. As she waits for her dear friend Mabel to arrive, she explores memories of the last summer with her grandfather and the heartbreak that defined her current loneliness. This bittersweet book deals heavily with grief and loss interspersed with splashes of hope for a brighter future. Among many accolades, this YA book won the Michael L. Printz award in 2018 for literary excellence.

Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

A more playful and romantic option on this list of amazing LGBTQ books for teens, this New York Times and USA Today bestseller tells the story of two young men, the US president's son and the British prince, as they become romantically involved. The story combines love, danger, humor, and courage into a true and honest relationship. Enjoy a more light-hearted yet touching story and the other more literary selections on this list. It was also named Best Book of the Year in Vanity Fair, Vogue, and NPR lists and the Best Debut and Romance on good reads in 2019.

Ashes to Asheville

by Sarah Dooley

Teens of all ages can enjoy this humorous and thought-provoking story of two sisters connecting through a series of misadventures. The unique aspect of multiple torn apart families, grief over the death of one mother, and the love and support of another, winds through this book in the midst of an adventurous and poignant plot. Sisters Zoey and Fella steal away together to fulfill one of their mothers' dying wishes and force adults to redefine what family means. This book became a School Library Journal Best Book in 2017, a Rainbow List Book in 2018, and was a pick on the Intermediate Sequoia Master List in 2019.