queer books

10 Queer Authors You Need To Follow Immediately

This year during Pride Month take some time to support the work of talented queer authors. As time goes on, more and more queer authors are getting published in both fiction and non-fiction. What is so amazing about this is that queer voices are being heard more often across the media, which means queerness in culture is getting more normalized as time goes on.

I’ve been out and proud since college -- though I am embarrassed now that it took so long for me to figure it out. I grew up around LGBT individuals and couples and I cultivated my love of writing because of male/male fanfiction. Once I finally understood that I was bisexual, I was obsessed with finding books about queer characters, and it was a challenge.

There are some amazing resources out there to help you find fantastic novels featuring queer characters, but I wanted to find queer authors who are writing about queer characters.

These are some of the amazing queer authors that I’ve found. I tried to focus on finding modern LGBTQ authors who are still regularly producing content so you can support their work as they write more amazing books.

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Author 1: Malinda Lo

If you’re like me, you probably heard of Malinda Lo because of her lesbian re-telling of Cinderella. Taking a problematic tale and flipping it to make it not only a story of a female hero, but a queer hero, is enough to snag anyone’s attention. Malinda Lo has several other YA fantasy novels, including one that was published just a few months ago.

Malinda Lo also researches diversity in YA. She’s a proud Asian author who posts regular social commentary on topics revolving around diversity.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Popular Work: Ash

Author 2: Sarah Waters

This author writes about events set during Victorian times with lesbian themes. That’s something you simply don’t see very often. She spends a lot of time doing research for her work, creating a vivid setting that feels completely realistic. I may be a bit biased because I love the Victorian period, but she’s written about other time periods as well.

She’s not published anything new in the past couple of years, but you should definitely check out her old work and keep your eyes peeled for new releases.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Popular Work: Tipping The Velvet

Author 3: CB Lee

If you are looking for diversity in the books you read, this is a queer author you need to check out. Her work features characters who are: bisexual, transgender, Hispanic, Chinese -- and that’s just the start! But her most popular work doesn’t focus on this diversity specifically, because the characters are too busy having superpowers.

Her books are the kind of stories I was looking for when I was a teenager. Keep an eye on her work; she’s not going away anytime soon.

Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Popular Work: Not Your Sidekick

Author 4: Saleen Haddad

I’ve not read this author yet, but I am so excited to. He plays with the role shame has in the life of a gay Arab man in his debut novel, which takes place in an unspecified Arab country after a failed political uprising. This is a unique perspective when it comes to queer stories and I’m really eager to see what this author has to say.

This is his first novel and he doesn’t come from a writing background, so I’m not sure if he plans to keep writing. Either way, his voice is one to listen to!

Genre: Literary Fiction
Popular Work: Guapa

Author 5: David Levithan

David Levithan is pretty well known in the LGBTQ fiction scene, and for good reason; he’s been publishing books featuring strong, gay characters for over a decade. As a teenager he was one of the only authors I could reliably find publishing YA with queer characters in my local library. He’s still writing so keep an eye out for his work.

He also has done collaborations which are worth checking out as well.

Genre: YA
Popular Work:  Every Day

Author 6: Sara Farizan

I cannot talk enough about this author. If You Could Be Mine isn’t just a story about two women falling in love, it’s a story about two women falling for each other in Iran. I was so excited to discover a novel that focuses on a part of the world we rarely get to see in Western media. The cover art for her new book was just announced, which focuses on the topic of race in high school.

She also has a second novel, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel already published. If you like diversity and YA fiction I highly recommend you look into her work. Immediately.

Genre: YA
Popular Work: If You Could Be Mine

Author 7: Charlie Jane Anders

This author and advocate wrote the award-winning speculative fiction novel All the Birds in the Sky. This is a story that combines magic, technology, and the apocalypse all into one book. She’s also organized a lot of events that are aimed at the queer community. She’s still writing and her newest work should be coming out next year.

I feel as though trans individuals are highly underrepresented, so I’m excited that someone so proud and vocal is getting published.

Genre: Speculative Fiction
Popular Work: All the Birds in the Sky

Author 8: C Alexander London

This man has written across a huge range of genres, so you’ll probably find something you like by him. I’m not kidding. He’s written YA, middle grade lit, picture books, and adult books. He’s a gay man writing gay characters into stories that didn’t used to have gay characters.

You can read this author’s work yourself, but also share his picture books with children. Like I said, he’s written something for everyone.

Genre: Everything
Popular Work: Proxy

Author 9: Chinelo Okapanta

This Nigerian-American author made a huge splash in the literary world and is proof that those who work in education can also publish amazing novels. I could list all the awards she’s been nominated for with her debut novel, but that would simply take up too much space.

She’s also published a lot of short stories and essays, which are worth checking out if you can find them.

Genre: Short Stories, Literary Fiction
Popular Work: Under the Udala Trees

Author 10: C.A. Higgins

C.A. Higgins is a relatively new author, which means she’s got many years ahead of her to keep publishing books. Her work is firmly written for sci-fi fans, dealing with both classic topics (space) and newer topics that have been gaining traction in fiction in recent years (AI). Also, she has a degree in physics, which gives her an edge over other science fiction authors.

To be fair, I’ve only seen her mention girl crushes in several interviews, so I’m not exactly sure where she fits under the queer umbrella, but she’s an author to watch!

Genre: Sci-Fi
Popular Work: Lightless

BONUS Author: April Presnell

Ok, so I’m not published yet and I don’t have any books out that you can read, but I’m getting close to finishing the first draft of FanFact, a story about a fangirl who finds herself in the “fictional” world of her favorite book series. She runs into Blane and Liam, the two boys she ships in the series, and gets tangled up in the plot of the third, not yet released book in the trilogy.

Every project I work on features queer characters, so stick around if you’re interested! I blog here weekly and send out the occasional email to email subscribers with exclusive content.

Genre: Fantasy
Popular Work: FanFact

You can read a preview of FanFact here:

FanFact Excerpt 1
FanFact Excerpt 2
Exclusive Short Story For Email Subscribers

Who is your favorite queer author? Let me know in the comments!

My Top Five Books Featuring LGBTQ+ Characters

Recently I wrote a blog post about how queerbaiting got me a wife. I discussed how some of my biggest fandoms perpetuated queerbaiting, and how the fandom and community that grew around that queerbaiting is how I met my wife.

As a bisexual woman though, I’m always excited to see proper queer representation across all forms of media, whether this is in movies, TV shows, or video games. And as an author and avid reader, I’m always looking for amazing books with LGBTQ+ characters.

Today I want to share with you my top five books that feature LGBTQ+ characters (as of March 2018). Some of these titles feature a queer protagonist, while some of my selections showcase side characters or couples.

1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell novel.

What can I say about this book? It’s a story you’re either going to love or hate. The Harry Potter parallels hit you over the head constantly, the two main characters are overly indulgent, and to top it all off, the novel is technically the fanfiction written by a character in the novel Fangirl.

Basically, this book is really written for a target audience. If you grew up reading fanfiction, especially Harry Potter fanfiction, then you’ll love it. The book is so fun, and the characters manage to be tropes without adhering to their tropes in an amazing way. Simon and Baz’s love story is silly, romantic, and awkward...everything a teenage love story should be.Plus they’re going to a magical school and dealing with an evil foe who is threatening to wipe magic from the map entirely while they do this.

 2 . Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters

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Is it worth falling in love if you have to keep it a secret? When Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship?

This book holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first novel I ever read about lesbian characters. I found it when I was first discovering my own confused feelings about women, and so it really struck a chord with me as a confused teenager. I remember hiding this book in my room, scared my parents would find it (as if they’d care).

The romance in this story really expresses the confusing, amazing feeling of falling in love. If you’ve struggled with understanding your feelings for someone of the same sex and coming out, this story will likely resonate with you. The characters feel genuine and the story realistic. It’s not the most original concept for a novel, but it’s a classic YA LGBTQ+ book and a quick, addicting read.

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares.

This is one of my examples of a book that has a side LGBTQ+ character, Sebastian. He, and everything in this novel, are so realistic that it is both humbling and painful. This story manages to feel hopeless, bleak, inspiring, and empowering, all at the same time.

Sebastian, a friend of the protagonist, faces very real challenges when it comes to his relationships and sexual orientation. His problems illustrate one of the many difficulties of high school, and really life overall. Every word of this book feels like it could’ve been pulled from someone’s diary, and interestingly the movie evoked that exact same feeling. That almost never happens in adaptations!

4. Luna by Julie Anne Peters

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Liam can't stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister's clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change.

This is a beautiful book, and I’m so sad that I don’t know anyone else who has read it. While the story is about Luna it is narrated by her little sister, Regan. Regan loves Luna and desperately wants to protect her from the world. But the world is cruel, and life is hard, and this book does a lovely job of showcasing that.

It isn’t a story just about the transgender experience, but about the impact this experience has on the entire family. While I am cis myself I found the story, interactions, and feelings to be very realistic. While Regan loves Luna dearly, she still gets frustrated and she still can’t fully understand what her sibling is going through.

5. Every Day by David Levithan

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A has no friends. No parents. No family. No possessions. No home, even. Because every day, A wakes up in the body of a different person. It's a lonely existence--until, one day, it isn't. A meets a girl named Rhiannon. She becomes A's reason for existing. So every day, in different bodies--of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and walks of life--A tries to get back to her.

I adore this novel. While it doesn’t technically have LGBTQ+ characters, that’s exactly what the appeal of the book is. A has no gender, no sexual orientation, and no physical body. They’re comfortable being in the bodies of men, women, and any gender in between. A falls for Rihanna because they see something special in her, not because of her gender.

This is not a happy love story. It’s messy and confusing, between two characters that are absolutely lovable but have plenty of flaws of their own. What this book does very well is show you that it doesn’t matter who you love, there are many different ways to love, and that all of us are incredibly different and incredibly similar at the same time.

Have you read any of these books? Do you plan to pick any of them up? If you have any recommendations yourself, please drop them in the comments so I can check them out!