• Sarah Leonard

10 LGBT Books For Every Age

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

With Pride Month upon us and Pride Week in New York City having inspired me (shoutout to the amazing march and the rainbow-clothed dogs that joined the rainbow-clothed humans), I'd like to give you 10 LGBT books and books with LGBT characters to read. Some I've actually read myself, some are recommended by friends, and others I've been wanting to read but haven't yet (shoutout to my amazingly busy schedule). I've included picture, middle-grade, YA (young adult), and adult books for readers and writers alike. I'd make this text rainbow if I could.

1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Genre: Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.18/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

This book is about a young black woman, Celie, who tells her story from the age of 14--when she suffered abuse and rape at the hands of her father--to the age of 20--when she endures that same abuse from her husband. When discovers that he has been keeping her sister's letters from her, an angry Celie, alongside her independent friend Shug, finds herself on a journey toward self-love and discovery.

So, I have not read this, but I've heard this novel is powerful. Not only have friends recommended The Color Purple, but I have been wanting to read it as well.

2. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Genre: Adult

Goodreads Rating: 3.93/5

Personal Rating: For movie, 5/5

Two ranch hands share a tender summer together while working as sheepherders. With their undeniable attraction, Jack and Ennis hold onto what they share, even as they marry, have kids, and live their own lives. Even when their separate relationships, and many challenges, threaten to break them apart.

I've started reading this book and have seen the full movie, which is absolutely amazing. Although this isn't something you read (or watch) if you want to smile at the end, this book tells the powerful story of the hardships two men face simply because they love one another. And it's utterly bittersweet.

3. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Genre: Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

It was a funeral home that Alison and her family called the Fun Home. But things aren't so fun when Alison enters her college years. Soon after coming out as lesbian, she discovers her father is gay. Then, only a few weeks after, he dies, leaving her to face the mysteries he left behind.

I've heard the musical is wonderful. It wasn't until today that I discovered it was a book too. I'll definitely be adding it to my reading list! Not only is this a story of loss (grief in a novel is my bread and butter, not to sound morbid), but it's one in the moment of a girl's journey through self-discovery and growth.

4. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.16/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

Henry "Monty" Montague was born and raised as a gentleman, but that never restrained him, and neither did his father or fancy boarding schools, whether he ended up in the arms of a woman or a man at the end of a bottle. While in Europe, his father threatens to end that fun with his expectation of him taking over the family estate when he returns. But Monty's rebellious nature and crush on his best friend, Percy, drive him toward even more reckless decisions and make him the victim of a manhunt across Europe that threatens to take the boy he holds in his heart away.

So, this is based on no friends recs, but I've seen it on the bestseller list, and the cover and title immediately caught my interest. I definitely plan to read this soon. I'm all for a dated adventure crossed with a dangerous romance.

5. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.14/5

Personal Rating: 5/5 (as of now)

Jude and Noah, twins, are inseparable. While Noah falls head over heels for the neighbor boy, Jude marches through life--and jumps off cliffs--like the daredevil she is with red lipstick to match. But years later, they've lost that inseparability, barely speaking after the devastations they've both faced. Then, Jude meets a new suitor and mysterious mentor. While the earlier years of the story are told by Noah, the later years are told by Jude, sharing the tale of their fight to find each other again.

I haven't finished this book yet, but it's already amazing. The novel pulls at my heart as much as the title did when I first saw it on a shelf.

6. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.21/5

Personal Rating: 5/5

Stuck between adolescence and adulthood, Charlie, an observant "wallflower", writes to the readers about his story of first love, family drama, and new friendships. And with the drugs, sex, and loss pulling him down unfamiliar roads, he tries to navigate himself, and us, through his journey called life.

Absolutely LOVE this book. I adore the way its formatted, like letters written to us, and the prose are just beautiful. Very quotable. The book leads us all through the journey of a boy trying to grow up in the crazy world of high school in a way that's honest and unforgiving. Along the way, we see how other lives grow and fall, like his friend, Patrick, who is the homosexual protagonist. All in all, READ IT, DARN YOU!

7. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.33/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

Simon Spier, sixteen years old, saves drama for the stage, until an email, and his secret in it, falls into the wrong hands of class clown Martin. He blackmails Simon with his hidden sexual identity, forcing him to serve as his wingman. Simon plays along, worried about compromising the privacy of the boy he's been emailing, Blue (pen name). With him unable to respond to Blue's ever-growing flirting and his friend group falling apart from the messy dynamics plaguing it, Simon finds himself dealing with a more difficult junior year than he had planned.

After seeing the trailer for the movie, titled Dear Simon, I came incredibly invested in finding out more about the book. I haven't heard reviews from friends, but the novel looks amazing, and the reviews prove that.

8. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Rating: 4.35/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

When Dante and Aristotle meet for the first time at a swimming pool, it's clear they're nothing alike. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison while Dante is a know-it-all with a unique view of the world. But, but as they spend more time with and get to know each other better, they discover that, despite their differences, they share a friendship that will last forever. And through that, they discover the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I haven't read this one. Sorry for failing you as a reader. Darn you, amazingly busy schedule (*shakes fists at sky*)! I really want to, though. The book has a beautiful cover, great reviews, and an enticing plot.

9. George by Alex Gino

Genre: Middle-grade

Goodreads Rating: 4.01/5

Personal Rating: 3.5

George is a boy, but he's not. That's only what people think when they look at him. At heart and soul and body, George knows she's a girl. But it's a secret she believes she'll have to keep forever. So, it breaks her heart when her teacher announces the class will be performing the play, Charlotte's Web, and George isn't allowed to try out for Charlotte., despite the fact its the part she wants more than anything. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan to get the part and to show everyone who she really is.

So, I still recommend this as a read, but I am giving it a lower rating than the other books. Not by much, though! Personally, I think it could have gone even deeper into this subject matter with more internal thought and struggle. But, then again, this is for a younger audience. While being honest and unafraid, George manages to be brave with the readers in a way that strives to give those that could connect with George hope for acceptance.

10. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Genre: Children's PB (Picture Book)

Goodreads Rating: 4.31/5

Personal Rating: *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

At the zoo, there are all types of animal families, but Tango's family is different from them all. His parents are both male, and they have raised Tango as partners. This illustrated book is the fictionalized true story of two male penguins (the parents) who became partners and raised a penguin chick (Tango) as their own in the Central Park Zoo.

If I had the money to spare (spent too much on books recently), I'd buy this and read it for all your sakes. BUT, it's a friend recommendation, so I get a free pass. Even little kids may want to understand subjects like this and their parents just as much (which is why I'm so against banning books). This is a great book to introduce your child to the subject matter!

#LGBT #gay #straight #bisexual #bi #love #books #nooked #booknooked #pride #read #middlegread #youngadult #childrens

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