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A Plethora of Pride: 25+ LGBTQ Books for Teens

LGBTQ books for teens have come a long way in recent years. Here at Book Riot, we often and unapologetically share lists like this one — and for good reason. Thanks to the tireless work of too many people and organizations to name, the world has become a safer place for young people who identify as queer.

In fact, more teens are openly identifying as LGBTQ than ever before. Significantly, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted a rise between 2015 and 2019. The percentage of youth aged 15 to 17 who reported being queer increased from 8.3% to 11.7%.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that more teens are queer than ever before. Many factors attribute to this reported increase, including increased awareness, acceptance, and resources for people who are exploring their gender identity and/or sexuality. (More adults in the U.S. are also identifying as queer, with an increase from 4.5% to 5.6% between 2017 and 2021.)

Likewise, the YA publishing industry has become more queer-friendly. Since the first queer young adult book was published in 1969, the number of YA books featuring queer characters has grown from roughly one a year in the 1970s to 50+ titles a year more recently. Even more importantly, the number of queer YA books by queer authors has also increased.

Unfortunately, the rate of increase has yet to close the significant diversity gaps in publishing. There are obviously far more queer teens than there are books for them to see themselves in. Furthermore, there aren’t nearly enough books featuring queer characters of color, disabled queer characters, and other combinations of marginalized identities.

But today, let’s celebrate what we do have: a lot of great LGBTQ books for teens of all interests. As an elder queer, I am constantly astonished by the brilliant options available. (Consequently, I read SO MUCH queer children’s lit and YA.) Back in my day, we used to have trudge uphill both ways to find queer books. When we couldn’t do that, we had to write them by hand on our Etch A Sketches.

Alright, before y’all start making fun of my side part, I’ll stop being such an old. Without further ado, enjoy this plethora of queer YA!

Excellent LGBTQ Books for Teens Who Prefer Fiction

Nonfiction LGBTQ Books for Teens

If you’re interested in more LGBTQ books for teens, check out this roundup of recent Queer YA Books or our LGBTQ archives.

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