A note before I give my queer book recommendations in celebration of Pride month: this is not a comprehensive list. All of these books contain queer characters, some as the main characters, some as side characters, and for a few it’s the whole cast of characters. Most, if not all, of these recommendations are written by queer authors. I’ve invented these categories based on the requests I get most often. There’s thousands of incredible queer books written by queer authors just waiting to be discovered, and this is only a place to start. Happy reading!
The Classics – queer stories from another time. They are often referenced in queer coding and in current queer narratives.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
- Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
- The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
- Maurice by E. M. Forster
The One You’ve Heard Of Before – queer stories that are more “mainstream.” You’ve likely heard of them online or seen a screen adaptation.
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
- Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Queer Book Series – if you’re someone who likes a series to dig into, this is for you.
- The Lady Sherlock series – First book: A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
- The Simonverse series – First book: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- London Calling – First book: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- The Aristotle and Dante series – First book: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- The Simon Snow series – First book: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
YA (young adult) – stories about queer teenagers, usually high school/secondary school age.
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
- I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
- Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters
- Cafe con Lychee by Emery Lee
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
- You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson
- They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
Nonfiction – a mix of a few things, but nonfiction broadly.
- The ABCs of LGBT+ by Ash Hardell
- You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell
- Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn
- And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts
- Read This to Get Smarter: about Race, Class, Gender, Disability & more by Blair Imani
- Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lin
- The Trans Self-Care Workbook by Theo Lorenz
- Heroes and Exiles: Gay Icons Through The Ages by Tom Ambrose
- Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
Not Centred on Romance – there may be a romantic subplot, but it’s not the focus. Queer people living their lives and busy with other things.
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The Guncle by Steven Rowley
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
- Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall
- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
- The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
Supernatural and/or fantasy – would you like an escape from this world? Enjoy.
- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
- Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
- Ash by Malinda Lo
- The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
- Finding Home by Hari Conner
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
They weren’t gay…or were they? – spoiler alert: gay. If you’re looking for queer subtext, look no further.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
- Dracula by Bram Stroker