Posted in Books, Writing

5 LGBTQ Novels to Read if You Want to be a Writer


As a gay person, I absolutely love to read LGBTQ novels, both for adult and for younger audiences, and here are my five all-time favorites…

1. Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan

I wish I could’ve found this book when it came out in 2003, when I was living in Los Angeles, in the closet, scared and alone. This would’ve been the greatest gift back then, but at least I finally found it. All I knew when I started reading it was that it was a love story between two teenage boys, but it’s so much more than that. You know what really stood out about this story? It’s not depressing, it’s not cynical, it’s not tragic. Boy Meets Boy was the first truly uplifting gay love story I’d ever read, and it changed the way I looked at what an LGBTQ novel can be and do.

2. A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham

I love everything about this novel, from Cunningham’s stunning prose, to the four fascinating central characters, to the interesting side characters like Jonathan’s father Ned and Jonathan’s on-and-off boyfriend Erich, to the lived-in settings like Phoenix and New York, to the LGBTQ aspect of the novel that is always handled with dignity and complexity. This is a rare novel in which I never have a moment of wanting to glaze over certain details or dialogue to get to the next part.

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth

This is a fascinating, observant LGBTQ novel, written with great care and honesty and passion. It reads like a big, sweeping John Steinbeck book — except instead of a story about an Oklahoma family traveling to California, this one’s about a teenage lesbian in rural Montana. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, I’d highly recommend you give it a look!

4. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez

Rainbow Boys is an absorbing young adult novel that is grim and realistic, showing the aches and pains gay teens have to go through to find acceptance with their friends and family. Despite being more realistic than many other LGBTQ YA novels published in the last twenty years, though, it absolutely has the same level of romanticism. None of the three characters hates that he is gay; from the first page on, they all want to find love, and by the end, they do. The entire Rainbow Boys trilogy is well worth a look!

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamine Alire Sanchez

This multiple-award-winning novel is a subtle LGBTQ love story that progresses like the movie Boyhood in many ways, emulating the joys and hardships of real life without any forced character moments or sentimental plot developments. Saenz’s writing is easy to read and draws the reader in, with his insistence to not over-complicate his prose and instead use only as many words as he thinks each moment needs.

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