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30 best LGBTQ books to read during Pride Month and beyond

Pick from heartwarming romances, inspiring memoirs and other best-selling reads.

When done right, Pride Month is a time to celebrate and educate. And while you can always cozy up on the couch and press play on a movie about queer love, these LGBTQ books will take things one step further.

All of the classics, best-sellers and new releases on this list put gay characters at the heart of the story — or at the very least, are written by authors who identify as LGBTQ+. There’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for something short and sweet (romance or YA) or more true to life (nonfiction).

Seamlessly blending humor and heart, these awe-inspiring reads shed light on the pain that members of the LGBTQ community have had, and sometimes continue to, endure, along with the joy that comes with social acceptance and self-love. Some books will warm your heart, others will break it and many will inspire you to work toward a fairer, kinder world.

Below, find the best LGBTQ books for teens and adults to make your bookshelf as diverse (and beautiful!) as the world we live in. That way, you can keep the feeling of Pride Month going all year long.

'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker

First came the book, then came the movie and the Broadway musical. Told through a series of letters, "The Color Purple" follows Celie and Nettie as they experience the many heartbreaks, joys and pains throughout four decades of their lives. Celia turns to sharp-tongued Shug Avery for comfort — and a relationship blossoms.

"Honey Girl" by Morgan Rogers

On the brink of burnout, Grace Potter takes a much-needed trip to Vegas and leaves with more than she bargained for. While there, she marries a woman who she barely knows, giving her an escape from the mounting stress of her parent’s expectations amid a difficult job market. But she can only run for so long until it’s time to finally confront reality.

"I Wish You All the Best" by Mason Deaver

Three words change Ben De Backer’s life forever: “I am nonbinary.” Their parents reject them, forcing Ben to move in with their estranged older sister. And while they hope to keep their last half of senior year as low-key as possible, the kids at school have other plans. Luckily, Nathan Allen comes to the rescue — first as a friend, then as something more.

"Don’t Cry for Me" by Daniel Black

Sometimes, you don’t know what you have until it’s (almost) gone. As the end of his life draws near, Jacob hopes to the right the wrongs that ruined his relationship with his gay son, Isaac. One letter at a time, he owns up to his faults and fears — some he was born into as a Black man in America, others that are a result of tragedies unknown to his son.

"Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s 1956 novel was groundbreaking at the time, but its message about love and loss is still incredibly relevant today. When David’s girlfriend is away on a trip, he meets Giovanni, an Italian bartender who puts his sexuality into question. Caught between love and lust, David must confront the lies he’s told himself before he loses everything — and everyone — who means something to him.

"How We Fight for Our Lives" by Saeed Jones

Poet Saeed Jones’ coming-of-age memoir is a refreshingly honest look at the reality of being a Black gay man in the south. As Jones reflects on his childhood and adolescence years, he’s plagued with questions about how the people around him found ways to help and hurt him.

"Detransition, Baby" by Torrey Peters

Just when Reese thought she had the perfect life, her girlfriend Amy threw a curveball: She plans to detransition and becomes Ames. While Reese lets stress and sadness of the situation get the best of her, Ames moves forward and gets into a romantic relationship with his boss, Katarina. Soon, Katarina finds out that she’s pregnant, causing Ames to wonder if he made a major mistake or if, perhaps, this will bring him closer to what he really wants.

"Yerba Buena," by Nina Lacour

On a quest to find their way in the world, Sara and Emilie find each other. Even with their eyes set on the future, both women are repeatedly pulled down by the ghosts of their pasts. But when the odds are stacked against them, their love conquers all.

"The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai

See how the AIDS epidemic affected the LGBTQ community in the 1980s and the generations to follow. Told through the lens of Yale Tishman and his friend’s little sister, this heartbreaking read shows how these two people, despite being born decades apart, are still tormented by the pain and grief of those around them.

"Heartstopper," by Alice Oseman

Volume One sets up Nick and Charlie’s friendship-turned-romance that viewers of the hit Netflix show have come to know and love. Go all the way back to the beginning when the unlikely romance first blossomed and prepare to have your heart warmed all over again.

"Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls" by T Kira Madden

Acclaimed essayist T Kira Madden takes you right into her world: Boca Raton, Fla., a sunny paradise riddled with extravagance, white-collar crime and racial inequities. As she recounts her time growing up as a queer, biracial teenager, Madden uncovers the hard truths about finding love and forgiveness amid trauma.

"Mrs. Everything" by Jennifer Weiner

The Kaufman sisters never found their happily ever after. Jo settled down to raise a family with a man she never loved, while thrill-seeking Bethie never committed to anyone — or anything. With a changing world at their feet, both women examine if they actually have enough time to make things right.

"Here Comes the Sun" by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Margot has always used her sexuality to her advantage, and she fears that her little sister will follow in her footsteps. But when the village’s future is threatened, she turns a new leaf and strives for financial independence. The roadblock: Margot is in love with a woman, which is forbidden in her homeland.

"You Exist Too Much" by Zaina Arafat

All her life, Palestinian-American Zaina Arafat has felt like she was “too much” — her mom’s words, not hers. As an adult, she finds herself in a multi-layered struggle of identity, trying to come to terms with her sexuality, gender and culture. Throughout, she learns that her past traumas continue to shape her, for better or for worse.

"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel marries two genres — memoir and graphic novel — in this compelling read, which was adapted into a Tony-winning musical. When Bechdel’s dad dies just a few weeks after they come out to one another, she wonders if their truths had any influence. Seeking answers, she goes on a journey to learn more about the legacies her late father left behind.

"Boy Erased" by Garrard Conley

Read the memoir that inspired the movie by the same name. When Garrard Conley is outed by his parents, they make him attend a 12-step conversion therapy program to “cure” him of his homosexuality. While there, it became abundantly clear that nothing could erase who he truly is. This revelation leads him down a path of forgiveness with himself, God and his loved ones.

"The Guncle" by Steven Rowley

Once-famous sitcom star Patrick is a proud Guncle (Gay Uncle Patrick, actually). But when he becomes their primary guardian, he’s forced to make some major life changes and examine the example he’s setting for the little ones he loves. An all-around charmer, this book is equally humorous and heartwarming, making it the perfect beach read.

"Rubyfruit Jungle," by Rita Mae Brown

Radical for its time, Rubyfruit Jungle introduced the world to Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a Southern couple. She is unashamed to live her truth and loves boldly, rejecting society’s norms regardless of consequence. Nearly 50 years after its release, it remains a powerful example of loving who you are — even if the world around you fails to.

"Shuggie Bain" by Douglas Stuart

Growing up in 1980s Glasgow, young Shuggie Bain is described as being “not right” by his neighbors and relatives. The coded language is loaded with implications. Shuggie isn’t like his siblings for a few reasons — including the fact that he alone is saddled to care for their mother, who struggles with a severe alcohol dependency. In this Booker Prize-winning, gut-wrenching novel, Shuggie forges his own path.

"100 Boyfriends," by Brontez Purnell

Brotnez Purnell’s definition of “boyfriend” varies from one relationship to the next — but that’s exactly what makes this such a juicy read. You won’t find a buttoned-up gay love story in these pages: Purnell unearths the dysfunction of Black, broke and queer men falling in and out of love (or, well, lust).

"Juliet Takes a Breath" by Gabby Rivera

This YA novel sparkles with humor and an original voice. Juliet leaves her family in the Bronx for a summer — and by leaving the people who supposedly know her best, gets to know herself better. Before she flies to Portland to work with the feminist writer she admires, Juliet comes out to her family. The mess she leaves behind is an essential part of her journey.

"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

This hit novel rewrites the Prince Charming trope. In this royal rom-com, the prince of England and heir to the throne is gay, and longs for the son of the first woman president of the U.S. The romance is exactly as high-stakes and thrilling as it seems from the description. With the movie adaption forthcoming, read the book to capture the magic.

"We Do What We Do in the Dark" by Michelle Hart

Michelle Hart’s debut novel is wistful and funny at the same time, written with thrillingly precise language that will have you reaching for a pen to underline sentences. Mallory, lonely during her freshman year at college, becomes drawn toward an alluring older professor. The professor, a married woman, lets Mallory into her life, changing both of theirs forever. This isn’t the kind of affair novel you’ve read before: Hart cleverly disrupts tropes and won’t let you fill in any archetypes when you could.

"Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson based this novel, part fairy-tale and part coming-of-age story, on her own life. The narrator, also named Jeanette, uses humor to cope with her adoptive mother’s controlling ways. Jeanette knows there’s life beyond the bubble of her religious upbringing. She listens to the voice in her head, and not the booming voice of her mother — even when it’s at its most overbearing. The prize-winning book is as much coming-out story as it is forging your own path story.

"Call Me by Your Name" by André Aciman

Do you dare eat a peach? Andre Aciman’s Italy-set novel is unabashedly infused with longing and the mythology of summer. Elio is lounging at his family’s Italian villa when Oliver walks in and his life changes forever. Oliver is studying with Elio’s father and the two quickly bond, realizing that together they can achieve a kind of existence that’s more meaningful and immediate than one without each other.