Queer Joy & Resilience:

10 Books to Celebrate Pride Month

Forget the parades (just kidding, never forget the parades!). Pride Month is a celebration – a time to honor the past, embrace the present, and look forward to a future where every member of the LGBTQ+ community can live authentically and joyfully.

And what better way to celebrate than through the power of stories? For me, reading LGBTQ+ literature is like opening a window into worlds I might not have otherwise known. It’s a chance to laugh, cry, learn, and feel deeply connected to experiences both familiar and new.

That’s why I’m excited to share this curated list of 10 LGBTQ+ books that go beyond the rainbow. We’ll dive into romance, coming-of-age tales, historical fiction, hilarious memoirs, and so much more. These are books that uplift, challenge, and remind us of the beauty and resilience of the queer community.

So grab your favorite beverage, find a cozy spot, and let’s celebrate Pride Month with stories that spark joy, understanding, and a whole lot of love.

Love Takes Center Stage:

Queer Romances to Swoon Over

Love is a universal language, but queer love stories often offer a unique perspective – one that challenges norms, defies expectations, and celebrates the beautiful diversity of human connection. Whether it’s forbidden romance, unexpected sparks, or the quiet beauty of everyday intimacy, these LGBTQ+ books explore the full spectrum of love in all its glory.

“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston:

A time-bending romance that celebrates the power of found family and the enduring strength of love. August, a cynical twenty-something, falls for a mysterious woman named Jane on the Q train…who happens to be displaced in time from the 1970s. This book is pure magic – a whirlwind of emotions and a love story that defies all expectations.

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.”

From GoodReads

“Written in the Stars” by Alexandria Bellefleur:

Fake dating gets a cosmic twist in this delightful romance between Darcy, a pragmatic astrologer, and Elle, a spontaneous social media influencer. Sparks fly as they navigate a staged relationship that just might turn into something real. Get ready for witty banter, heartfelt moments, and a charming exploration of opposites attract.

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

From GoodReads

What I love most about these romances is how they capture the unique challenges and joys of queer love. From the whirlwind connection in “One Last Stop” to the slow-burn attraction in “Written in the Stars,” these stories showcase the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ relationships with authenticity and heart.

Finding Yourself, One Page at a Time:

Coming-of-Age Tales

Growing up is a journey filled with self-discovery, challenges, and triumphs. These coming-of-age stories explore the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ youth as they navigate identity, acceptance, and the complexities of finding their place in the world. Prepare to be inspired, moved, and reminded of the beauty of self-acceptance.

“Felix Ever After” by Kacen Callender

This book is a powerful exploration of identity, love, and self-acceptance. While Felix’s experience as a Black transgender teen is specific, his struggles to define himself and find his place in the world are universal. Readers of any background can relate to the desire to be seen and loved for who they truly are.

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

From GoodReads

“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas

This magical realism novel blends a coming-of-age story with elements of mystery and romance. While Yadriel’s experience as a transgender boy adds a unique layer, the core themes of family, belonging, and proving oneself are universal.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

From GoodReads

These stories touched my heart with their honesty and warmth. The journeys of Felix and Yadriel resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled with finding their place in the world. It’s a reminder that embracing who you are, even when it’s difficult, is the bravest act of all.

A Wider Lens:

LGBTQ+ Stories Through History and Today

LGBTQ+ lives have always been a part of the human story, woven into the fabric of history and society. These books offer a wider lens, exploring queer experiences across different eras and cultures, while tackling important issues of social justice and identity.

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid:

This captivating historical novel delves into the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood, where iconic actress Evelyn Hugo reveals her deepest secrets – including a passionate love affair with another woman. Reid masterfully weaves together a tale of ambition, forbidden love, and the sacrifices made for fame, reminding us that LGBTQ+ stories have always been a part of history, even when they were silenced or hidden away.

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

From GoodReads

“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters:

A groundbreaking and thought-provoking novel about three women – one trans, two cis – whose lives intersect when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. Peters tackles complex issues of gender identity, motherhood, and the nuances of relationships with unflinching honesty and surprising humor. This book challenges conventional narratives and offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be a family.

Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?

From GoodReads

“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel:

This memoir is a poignant and beautifully illustrated exploration of family secrets, coming out, and the complexities of parent-child relationships. Bechdel delves into her own experience as a lesbian growing up with a closeted gay father, creating a deeply personal and moving story that resonates with readers on multiple levels.

In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

From GoodReads

These books not only offer compelling narratives but also shed light on the historical and ongoing struggles for LGBTQ+ equality. They remind us that while progress has been made, there’s still much work to be done to ensure that everyone can live authentically and love freely. I’m particularly moved by the way “Detransition, Baby” explores the complexities of womanhood and challenges traditional narratives around motherhood and gender.

Laugh Out Loud:

Queer Stories That Celebrate Joy

Life is full of complexities, but LGBTQ+ stories don’t always have to be serious. These books offer a hearty dose of laughter, celebrating the joy, humor, and resilience found within the queer community. Get ready for witty banter, relatable characters, and a whole lot of fun!

“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this novel follows Arthur Less, a struggling gay writer on a whirlwind trip around the world to avoid attending his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Less’ misadventures are both hilarious and heartwarming, reminding us that even in the midst of heartbreak, there’s always room for laughter and self-discovery.

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years now engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would all be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of half-baked literary invitations you’ve received from around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

If you are Arthur Less.

From GoodReads

“Wow, No Thank You” by Samantha Irby:

This essay collection is a riot! Irby’s sharp wit and unflinching honesty about her life as a queer Black woman will have you laughing out loud. Her stories about family, dating, and the absurdity of everyday life are relatable, refreshing, and guaranteed to brighten your day.

A new essay collection from Samantha Irby about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America.

Irby is turning forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and is courted by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife and two step-children in a small white, Republican town in Michigan where she now hosts book clubs. This is the bourgeois life of dreams. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “skinny, luminous peoples” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” and hides Entenmann’s cookies under her bed and unopened bills under her pillow.

From GoodReads

I can’t recommend these books enough for a good laugh and a reminder that joy is an essential part of the human experience. “Less” is a personal favorite – Arthur Less’ journey is a hilarious reminder that sometimes, the greatest adventures are the ones we take to avoid facing our problems.

Your Turn to Explore These Queer Stories

I hope this list inspires you to embrace the vibrant world of LGBTQ+ literature this Pride Month – and beyond! These books are just a starting point, and there are countless other stories waiting to be discovered.

If you’re looking for more bookish inspiration, sign up for my newsletter on the sidebar! You’ll get curated reading lists, exclusive content, and a peek behind the scenes of my life as a book lover.

Let’s keep celebrating Pride and lifting up the voices of the LGBTQ+ community. Share your favorite queer reads in the comments below – let’s connect over stories that move us, make us laugh, and open our hearts.

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