Love is love.

Here at EW, we believe in celebrating LGBTQ+ love all year round. But in honor of Pride Month, we're giving an extra shoutout to the idea that love is love and everyone deserves a happily ever after. The last few years has seen a boom in LGBTQ+ romance novels, helping to shake up the genre from its extremely straight origins. Here are our 10 favorite LGBTQ romances of the last five years.

July Romance
Credit: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Just about no one does it better right now than Alexis Hall. His witty, dreamy, deeply felt romances are never anything but absolutely intoxicating. But we'll always have a fondness for 2020's Boyfriend Material, his first huge traditional publishing hit. It follows hot mess Luc O'Donnell, a tangential celebrity who finds his face plastered across the tabloids as his rock star father attempts to make a comeback. Needing to clean up his image, Luc enlists the help of uptight and upright Oliver Blackwood, a barrister with hidden vulnerabilities. The two agree to fake it for the cameras, but soon find themselves with feelings that are all too real. Hall's signature blend of lush romanticism, explorations of family trauma, and banter worthy of a Wimbledon match are firing on all cylinders here. And we can't wait to spend time with Oliver and Luc again in this summer's Husband Material.

Best Romance of 2021
Credit: Harlequin

For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes

Traditional publishing has often fallen short when it comes to trans representation in romance novels, but last summer's For the Love of April French was a joyous, whole-hearted repudiation of that. Making her debut, trans author Penny Aimes offered readers a heroine with an abundance of insecurities and love to give in equal measure. April French is used to being the pit stop on other people's journey to happily-ever-after, but when she meets Dennis, a newcomer to her kink club, she finds herself yearning for commitment in ways she never thought possible. Aimes writes movingly of April's internal experience, while crafting explosively hot love scenes that lean into April and Dennis' kinks.

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
Credit: Grand Central Publishing

Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

One of our favorites of this year so far, Love and Other Disasters pairs the high stakes world of food competition television with an achingly beautiful love story between recently divorced Dahlia and non-binary London. Dahlia is trying to figure out who she is, while London is determined to honor their truth for the whole world to see. As the two become closer, they start to wonder if a relationship with each other is a far worthier prize than first place on Chef's Special. Anita Kelly doesn't shy away from the more painful aspects of their storytelling, digging into Dahlia's mental health struggles and London's fight for acceptance. But above all, this book is an ode to living your life loudly and proudly as oneself — and isn't that what Pride is all about?

Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Credit: Avon

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

The LGBTQ+ community still has work to do when it comes to bi-erasure, particularly in straight presenting relationships. That's why we're excited to shout out this ray of sunshine of a book from 2020. Bisexual Danika Brown is through with romance, tired of feeling like she and her dedication to her academic career are too much for a partner. All she wants is someone to keep her satisfied and leave it at that. But when a workplace fire drill gone wrong leads the internet to start shipping Dani with brooding security guard Zafir Ansari, the two decide a fake relationship could solve both their problems. A former rugby player with latent trauma, Zaf is a hotty with a sensitive soul — and it isn't long before Dani starts to question her commitment to not committing.

Best Romance of 2021
Credit: Simon and Schuster

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Are you a reality dating show lover who wishes the shows were more inclusive? Read 2021's The Charm Offensive instead. Producer Dev Deshpande became a producer on dating series Ever After precisely because he grew up believing in a fairy tale. But when he's saddled with tech genius Charlie Winshaw as the season's new lead, even he begins to doubt his ability to craft a happy ending. As Dev struggles to get the emotionally closed-off Charlie to connect with his contestants, they start sparking chemistry instead. Alison Cochrun offers a heartfelt depiction of mental health struggles, delving into Dev's depression and Charlie's anxiety — honestly showing the work and care required to stand by someone's side when they're not at their best. There's compassion, yearning, and all the reality show soapiness a reader could want.

May Romance
Credit: Penguin

Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

When Hollywood child star turned hit showrunner Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, it sparks rumors that they're a secret couple. Emma and Jo are suddenly thrust into a tricky dance of avoiding gossip hounds and paparazzi, while needing to spend increasing time together to complete Jo's film project. But as the two collaborate, they begin to open up to each other and realize the rumors might actually have some truth to them. Something To Talk About (2019) may take place in the glamorous world of show business, but it's a superb ache of a slow-burn, a novel that revels in its quiet and the delicacy of small moments of intimacy.

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston CR: St. Martin's Griffin
Credit: St. Martin's Griffin

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

It is virtually impossible to make a list focused on LGBTQ +excellence and not include this 2019 title. Casey McQuiston burst onto the scene with this fizzy daydream of a rom-com about the U.S. President's son, Alex, and the Prince of Wales, Henry, and their unexpected romance. When Alex causes an international incident snubbing Henry at a royal event, the two are ordered to feign a friendship. But their initial tension propels them into a secret relationship that could damage Alex's mother's bid for reelection. McQuiston offers a heart-on-your-sleeve exploration of self-discovery, coming out, and young love with global stakes. It's a feel-good novel in every sense of the word, and we absolutely can't wait for the forthcoming film adaptation from Amazon Prime.

American Dreamer book cover
Credit: Carina Press

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

If you're a regular reader of our Hot Stuff column, you'll know that we're major fans of Adriana Herrera stretching back to her 2019 game-changing debut. Nesto Vasquez takes a huge risk moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck to upstate New York with the aim of being a big fish in a little pond and finally being able to give up the day job he hates once and for all. But when handsome local Jude Fuller becomes a regular at Nesto's truck, the two cannot get enough of each other. Herrera proved from the word go that she had something vital and refreshing to bring to the genre, tackling micro-aggressions, homophobia, and the true definition of happiness all in one delicious novel.

Credit: Avon Impulse

Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian is a queen of queer historical romance, having penned sixteen novels so far. But our personal favorite is 2018's Unmasked by the Marquess, her first Regency Imposters novel. Housemaid Charity Church has carved a life for herself and her sister by masquerading as her employer, the gentleman Robert Selby, for the last six years. But when they cross paths with prickly aristocrat, Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, the two form an instant and unlikely bond. Sebastian beautifully paints Robert's journey to realizing they no longer identify as a woman, and the unexpected romance between Robert and Alistair, who is bisexual. The particulars of non-binary identity and bisexuality in a historical era are a delicate needle to thread, but Sebastian never disappoints.

I’m (So) Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson
Credit: Berkley

I'm (So) Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Romance publishing is largely a woman's game, but that designation excludes the men, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals who are also avid readers and creators. That's why we're thrilled to see Kosoko Jackson becoming a new standout voice in the genre. In I'm So (Not) Over You (2022), aspiring journalist Kian Andrews is convinced to pretend to still be dating his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, just while Hudson's parents are in town. But this fake-out turns into a longer con when Kian suddenly becomes Hudson's plus-one to the wedding of the season. Kian reluctantly agrees to help Hudson keep up appearances and potentially gain access to people who could help jumpstart his career in media. But can the two exes admit that their fake relationship has always been all too real?

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