Top Ten All-Time Favourite LGBT YA Books


Hello and happy Top Ten Tuesday, guys! This week’s theme is “all-time favourite books of X genre”, something that I have lots of trouble with just because I generally can’t with favourites. In that spirit, this list is more like ‘LGBT YA books I will recommend’ rather than all-time favourites. 🙂

Writing this out, I’m realising how the majority of LGBT books I’ve read are about gay characters instead of lesbian characters. Maybe it’s time to branch out even more, so if you have any recommendations, they will be much appreciated! For now, though, let’s get to it.

1) How to Repair A Mechanical Heart – J. C. Lillis

“I mean, if no one knows for sure what God’s like, then why don’t you just believe the people who think he’s all rainbows and sunshine and loves you no matter what?”

RATING: ★★★★★

WHAT I LOVE: The protagonist comes from a religious background and struggles to accept his own sexuality. There’s talk of God, self-acceptance, and self-love.

2) Highly Illogical Behaviour – John Corey Whaley

“Jealous of the crazy gay kid. That doesn’t sound right.”

“Hey, Sol,” she said, her tone getting serious for a second. “Those are two things about you out of a million. Don’t box yourself in.”

RATING: ★★★★☆

WHAT I LOVE: The characters are gold in this one — just very well-developed, very three-dimensional, very complex. The writing is also snappy. ❤

3) More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera

“Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you through the messier tunnels of growing up. But pain can only help you find happiness if you remember it.”

RATING: ★★★★☆

WHAT I LOVE: While I found it a bit hard to get into initially, this book is so, so bittersweet. There’s a twist nearing the end that leaves you kind of heartbroken. Also asks important questions such as: without your memories, who are you? What makes up the person you are?

4) Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin

“We’re all taught from a young age that there are only two choices: pink or blue, Bratz or Power Rangers, cheerleading or football. We see gender in two dimensions because that’s what society has taught us from birth. But, are you ready for a shocking revelation?


RATING: ★★★★☆

WHAT I LOVE: It introduces readers to the concept of genderfluidity and does so in an unassuming way. The protagonist is also a blogger, so that’s something to love right there. 😛

5) Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour

“We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken.”

RATING: ★★★★☆

WHAT I LOVE: This book is not ground-breaking, earth-shattering, or life-changing… but it’s really, really sweet. The protagonist is also already ‘out and about’ with her sexuality, so the story is instead focused on her finding love and working hard for her career — which, by the way, is in film sets. It’s pretty damn cool, and the details that go into it are wonderful.

6) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.”

RATING: ★★★★☆

WHAT I LOVE: Simon is just so cute, you guys. And everyone is so nice. It’s very much a heartwarming book with adorable, likeable characters. It’s slice-of-lifey, coming-of-agey, and feel-goody.

7) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz

“Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?”

RATING: ★★★☆☆

WHAT I LOVE: It’s very character-driven, and parental presence is a thing. I’m not a huge fan of the writing because it’s too repetitive for me, but it’s still a really good book.

8) The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

“Besides,” Dad says, “who wants to be normal anyway? Fancy that on your gravestone. Here lies so-and-so. They were entirely normal.”

RATING: ★★★☆☆

WHAT I LOVE: We get to hear from two very different characters who find a connection somehow! And there’s a focus on accepting yourself no matter what. It’s also very, very easy to get into.

9) I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”

RATING: ★★★☆☆

WHAT I LOVE: The complex relationship between the protagonists, who are siblings. There’s a lot of hurt and love and anger and forgiveness in this book, and while the writing style isn’t my thing, I did love the family focus it has.

10) If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan

“No. I don’t think it does go away. I know it won’t for me. I will keep busy. I will distract myself. I will eventually have days when I don’t have to remind myself to breathe. I know Nasrin will exist, maybe even be happy, and I will be okay. I’ll bury my love, but it will never really go away.”

RATING: ★★★☆☆

WHAT I LOVE: It’s set in Iran, which, as you can imagine, presents a new set of challenges to our protagonist! It’s also kind of sad because the ideal happy ending probably doesn’t exist given her circumstances.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments!

99 thoughts on “Top Ten All-Time Favourite LGBT YA Books

  1. This is such a wonderful list! I’ve only read Ari & Dante and I’ll Give You The Sun but so many of the others have been on my TBR for a while and I really need to get to them. I was actually talking about Highly Illogical Behavior with someone earlier and I love that quote you picked. I think I’m going to have to move that up my immediate TBR and try to get to it within the next few months. 😊


  2. Love this, Reg! I can’t believe I haven’t read any of these 🙈 They’re just about all on my TBR though! Ari & Dante and Simon vs are staring at me judgmentally from the TBR pile on my desk haha. I just ordered More Happy Than Not today and picked up Symptoms of Being Human from my library so I’m excited to get to those!


  3. I LOVED I’ll Give You the Sun! And I already have More Happy Than Not, but I haven’t read it yet. 🙂 I haven’t read Simon vs the Homosapiens, but I’m looking into buying this on the upcoming book fair this weekend! 😀


  4. Amazing list! I already read and loved Ari and Dante and Simon and I just finished More Happy Than Not this week. It wrecked me, but it was so good! How To Repair A Mechanical Heart and Highly Illogical Behavior are some of the next books on my TBR. Oh, and I’ll Give You The Sun has been on my TBR for way too long as well 🙂


  5. I LOVED I’ll Give You The Sun even though it took me a while initially to get into the story when told from Jude’s perspective. But all things considered I thought it was a lovely heartfelt book–at times very far fetched–but definitely a book I adore. Do you have a review posted? I’d love to know your thoughts in details. Have you read any other books by Jandy Nelson?


  6. Oh my god, that quote from “Symptoms of Being Human” sounds AMAZINGGG. I must purchase this book! 😮 I also saw someone recommended Two Boys Kissing. 100% agree with them. Two Boys Kissing is one of my ALL time favorite LGBTQ+ stories. So, so, so beautifully written. ❤


  7. From your list, I’ve only read I’ll Give You the Sun, and I wasn’t wowed by it. I have Aristotle and Dante on my TBR pile though, and I’ve heard good things about it. Your list has reminded me that the first M/M romance I read was The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen and I LOVED it. ❤ made me want to read more M/M romances.


  8. I want to read all of these! I especially like the idea of 5. where the protagonist is out but the book doesn’t seem to solely focus on her sexuality. recognizing that someone’s sexuality doesn’t define them 🙂


  9. Symptoms of Being Human is one of the reasons I started my own blog. I found the way it was written fascinating and it was the first fiction novel I read that really dealt with gender-fluid people. Kind of grateful for it actually!

    Great post by the way.


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