It’s Pride Month and while we must read queer books all throughout the year, June definitely gives us a great reason to find more LGBTQIA+ books! But of course, a lot of the time, there’s an unintentional focus on queer books by white authors and while those stories are certainly valid and worth celebrating, such coverage often does injustice to queer books by BIPOC authors. So let’s start Pride with these twelve young adult queer books by authors of color.
Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
Ophelia is a romantic at heart and what she likes most are her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and way too many boys. But when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, Ophelia navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in this debut contemporary. Buy now!
Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee
A delectable, queer enemies-to-lovers young adult rom-com from the author of Meet Cute Diary where the sons of two families with rival shops find themselves working together to compete with the new cafe that opened in town. Buy now!
Bruised by Tanya Boteju
Roller derby’s confusing rules and teamwork requirements might have pushed away Daya Weijesinghe — a teen girl whose parents died in an accident she survived — but the chances to be bruised are countless and that’s exactly what Daya thinks she needs to keep her emotional pain at bay. As Daya immerses herself in the brutal yet beautiful world of roller derby, she navigates first love, identity, and grief in this coming-of-age-story. Buy now!
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Nishat has always heard Muslim girls aren’t lesbians, but she doesn’t want to hide who she is and doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. When a childhood friend, Flavia, enters her life, Nishat feels the butterflies but a school competition soon marks the two as rivals. In the midst of henna, rain, and culture, a sapphic romance begins —while the Bangladeshi-Irish Nishat also fights bullies, microagressions, and cultural appropriation that stems from diversity being seen as a trend. Buy now!
We Are Totally Normal by Naomi Kanakia w/a Rahula Kanakia
Nandan has a plan to make his junior year perfect. In addition to making sure all the parties are chill, he is set on helping Dave get into the popular crowd. But when the two hook up one night after a party, Nandan is willing to give this friends-to-lovers a shot. He has never been into guys and the anxiety around his sexuality soon makes him wonder if breaking up will make him feel “normal” again. Messy, complicated, and realistic, this contemporary is all about questioning and being valid. Buy now!
Every Variable of Us by Charles A. Bush
After Philly teenager Alexis Duncan is injured in a gang shooting, her dreams of a college scholarship and pro basketball career vanish in an instant. To avoid becoming another Black teen trapped in her poverty-stricken neighborhood, she shifts her focus to the school’s STEM team, a group of self-professed nerds seeking their own college scholarships, and is supported by the new desi girl in school. Buy now!
Blazewrath Games by Amparo Oritz
A contemporary adventurous fantasy with a MG and YA crossover appeal where an inter-sectional diversity is appreciated and a Latinx diaspora is highlighted. Also, dragons and itnernational sports tournament! Buy now!
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Ellie survives in an Illori-controlled centre in NYC where music, art, and books are illegal because humans are deemed dangerously volatile and emotional expression is banned. But Ellie keeps a secret library. Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. But when he finds Ellie’s illegal library and is duty-bound to deliver her for execution, he finds himself drawn to human music. They’re both breaking rules and they both embark on a wild and dangerous road trip to save humanity’s fate. Buy now!
The Loophole by Naz Kutub
A young adult debut pitched as a speculative Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda that follows a queer boy’s journey as he travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes. Buy now!
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
A bighearted, epic love letter to the LGBTQ community about three friends —an Iranian boy who has just moved with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother, an aspiring fashion designer, and the school’s only out-and-proud teen— falling in love and finding their voices as activists during the height of the AIDS crisis in 1989 New York City. Buy now!
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Black, queer girls team up to overthrow the kingdom in this feminist retelling of Cinderella where men can select wives from teen girls appearing at the Annual Ball based on the level of finery they display and if a suitable match is not found, the girls left behind are forfeited. When Sophia flees the ball, she begins a journey that reveals the dark secrets of the fairytale and leads her to a love she never expected, her only hope is to destroy the king. Buy now!
The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown. Buy now!
11 replies on “12 YA Queer Books by Authors of Color To Start Pride Month With”
what a great list!! I’m super excited to read Ophelia After All, it’s been on my tbr for so long and this feels like the perfect time to finally read it ❤
That’s an amazing list!
I was looking for more queer books to read, I’m definitely adding theses to my TBR!
But btw, as a Latina I need to say that PLEASE stop using the ‘Latinx’ word, I literally cringe when I read it, we all hate it in Latin America
hrgrqwghhd i LOVE THIS LIST SO MUCH!!! tysm for all the recs, AND I AM RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED TO READ THEM ALL!! henna wars is one of my MOST FAVORITE NOVELS OF EVER, the south asian rep is just so well done, IT’S SURREAL 😭😭 and omg ophelia after all DESERVES THE WORLD, THE ENTIRE STORY IS SO INSANELY BEAUTIFUL, I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT 😭 i can’t wait to read the rest of the books (ESPECIALLY THE LOOPHOLE. I AM DYING WAITING FOR THE RELEASE) and cinderella is dead sounds so good?? I NEED. I LOVE THIS LIST SO MUCH AND AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO READING MORE OF YOUR POSTS!
What a lovely list! I have Ophelia After All on my TBR, it sounds so, SO good and I’m so eager to read it. ❤ I really enjoyed The Henna Wars and Cinderella is Dead, such good reads! 🙂