The importance of LGBT fiction

 A common trend I’ve noticed these days is the occurrence of the gay side character, especially in YA fiction. Now, while I love seeing a larger representation of the LGBT community in fiction, I am not happy with the fact these characters are not at the forefront; rather, they are the background characters, pushed to the sidelines.

I understand how difficult it is to publish a novel with a gay protagonist. I am trying that very thing myself. Publishers seem to think that books with gay protagonists will not sell well, which in fact the opposite is true. People want to read books about themselves. Not many gay 16 year old boys want to read books about the undying love between a teen boy and a girl. He would want to read about the undying love between a boy and another boy. Fiction needs to represent reality and it is high time people started recognising the reality around them and that there are different types of people in the world. We need to see a representation of different people in fiction, especially in YA. Adolescence is a trying time for everyone and the last thing a questioning teenager needs is be exposed to another form of media that erases or rejects their identity.

Thankfully, publishers have started to cotton on to this and LGBT YA fiction is on the rise. Here is a collection of LGBT YA fiction that I have read and loved.

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell


Simon Snow is in his last year at the Watford School of Magicks and the world is falling apart around him. He is hunted by all manner of magical creatures, his girlfriend broke up with him, his mentor keeps trying to send him away and his best friend refuses to leave him alone. On top of all of that, his nemesis has seemed to have gone missing and Simon can’t help but worry about him and panic that his feelings might be something more. An evil is rising and threatening to destroy the magical world and Simon, as the most powerful magician the world has ever seen, is the only one that can stop it. That’s if he survives his last year at school, that is.

Buy the book here.

The Half Bad Trilogy by Sally Green


Sixteen year old Nathan is the son of the most dangerous evil witch in the world and for that he is shunned and hated by society. His only escape is finding his long lost father, but the man wants nothing to do with his son after a vision is revealed that dictates Nathan will kill him. Hunted by two warring factions of witches, Nathan tries to survive in a world that thinks him an abomination, while an army rises in his name that he wants nothing to do with. Not to mention the girl he has been in love with for years has betrayed him, and he is developing feelings for his best friend, Gabriel, who wants Nathan to run away with him and leave the world of magic behind.

Buy the books here.

Huntress by Malinda Lo


Kaede and Taisin are two seventeen year old girls chosen for a dangerous mission to save their world. Nature is unbalanced: the sun no longer shines and creatures of evil have popped up and are destroying the human world. Kaede and Taisin are sent to the court of the Fairy Queen, the only creature who is able to help bring balance back to the world. Amidst a treacherous journey, the two girls, one a magic user, the other not quite human, are drawn together and begin to fall in love. But the world has other plans for them.

Buy the book here.

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeline George


Jesse is a tomboy: she wears combat boots, cuts her hair with a knife and is the only member of the National Organisation to Liberate All Weirdos group. Emily is the exact opposite: she is popular, wears pretty clothes, is the vice president of the student council, and has a boyfriend. The girls could not be more different if they tried, but every Tuesday they get together and share a passionate afternoon together. Jesse wants to take their relationship public, but Emily is scared she will lose everything she has tried so hard to gain.

Buy the book here.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


Sixteen year old Aaron Soto has a troubled life: his father just committed suicide and he feels like it might be his fault; his mother is so overworked she has no time for him; his brother ignores him; and, he has to live with the fact of his own failed suicide attempt. His girlfriend, Genevieve, is his only solace, but then he meets Thomas who makes Aaron want to live again and feel things he’s never felt before. But, Aaron lives in the Bronx where being gay is a death sentence. And Thomas doesn’t seem to return Aaron’s feelings. In an attempt to move past his feelings of despair and depression, Aaron considers undertaking a memory altering procedure by the Leteo Institute to get rid of these feelings and turn him straight, even if it means losing who he truly is along the way.

Buy the book here.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher


Logan is slowly coming to terms that his long-time girlfriend cheated on him and moves on when a new girl moves to school: Sage Hendricks. Sage is home-schooled and comes from a protective family that refuses to allow her to date, but won’t tell anyone why. Then, Logan finds out: Sage is actually a boy. Feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out and destroys his friendship with Sage before realising he’s made a terrible mistake and treated Sage the way everyone else has ever treated her. Is it too late for him to fix his mistake and restore their friendship? Will Sage ever forgive him?

Buy the book here.

Freakboy by Kristen Clark


Brendan Chase seems like the perfect guy: he is the school’s star wrestler, he loves video games and has the world’s best girlfriend, Vanessa. But Brendan doesn’t feel happy, and his body feels wrong. Sometimes he dreams about what it would be like to be a girl and wonders if something is wrong with him. Is he normal? Why does he want to be a girl sometimes? Is there a name for people like him, or is he just a freak?

Buy the book here.

Ash by Malinda Lo


After her father’s death, Ash is left with her cruel stepmother and finds solace in reading old fairytales. At night, she is sequestered with dreams of fairies coming to steal her away. One day, she meets the dangerous fairy, Sidhean, and believes her dreams have been answered. But then Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, and starts to develop feelings she’s never felt before. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash as his, so Ash must make a decision that will change her life for good: does she accept her fairytale dreams, or fight for true love?

Buy the book here.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Sixteen year old Simon lives for his school musicals and for his secret emails between an anonymous boy called, Blue. But, when his email falls into the wrong hands, Simon finds himself being blackmailed into helping class clown Martin date Simon’s close friend. If he fails, Martin will release Simon’s private emails with Blue to the whole school. Blue is closeted and terrified of the spotlight. Simon must figure out how to placate Martin, find out the identity of his crush, and put on the best musical the school has ever seen.

Buy the book here.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


Aristotle, Ari for short, is an angry teen with a brother in prison and his parents won’t tell him why. He meets Dante one day at the pool and the boys develop a deep friendship, despite having nothing in common. When Dante moves away, Ari is forced to confront his feelings for Dante, his feelings over his brother, and deal with puberty. Through letters and phone calls, Ari and Dante remain friends, but when Dante reveals he is gay and secretly dating a boy, Ari’s world comes crashing down and his rage consumes him.

Buy the book here.

Read at your pleasure, and if you have any wonderful LGBT books not on this list, leave a comment below!

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