Four great LGBTQ authors have recommendations for you to add to your bookshelves.

By EW Staff
June 22, 2021 at 08:30 AM EDT
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LGBTQ Books
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Looking for your next great read? Here are 14 excellent options to choose from!

EW asked authors Casey McQuiston (One Last Stop), Brian Broome (Punch Me Up to the Gods), Penny Aimes (For the Love of April French), and Isaac Fitzsimons (The Passing Playbook) to recommend books by other LGBTQ authors. Check out this collection of memoirs, novels, and story collections that come highly recommended.

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Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, by Akwaeke Emezi

You already know that Akwaeke Emezi is one of the best writers of their generation if you follow… well, pretty much any genre. Young-adult, literary fiction, poetry, and now memoir. Dear Senthuran is as lush, raw, and spellbinding as the rest of their body of work, and just as hard to put down. -Casey McQuiston

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Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde

A classic for good reason. Lorde's brilliant prose latches on and won't let go, as she examines her place in the Black community as a gay woman. In these essays and speeches, she describes so many of the feelings I felt growing up. Her insights into not just the Black gay experience but the human condition were a balm at a time when I needed to hear them the most. -Brian Broome

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Lord of the Last Heartbeat, by May Peterson

This m/nb fantasy novel is the first in the Sacred Dark series by groundbreaking transfeminine romance author May Peterson. Sumptuous prose and deft, subtle world-building illuminate this tale of an opera singer who can see your darkest secret and a shapeshifter with power over life and death. -Penny Aimes

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Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas

In Cemetery Boys, Thomas concocts a perfect brew of humor, mystery, and romance. This is the most life-affirming book about a dead boy I've ever read. -Isaac Fitzsimons

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Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo

When we look at the huge 2021 class of queer YA novels, we have to thank the authors who paved the way, and one of them is Malinda Lo. Her latest is a historical fiction set in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s, and Lo's writing is so rich you can practically feel the glow of neon bar lights radiating off the page. -Casey McQuiston

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At Her Feet, by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Queer Black author Rebekah Weatherspoon is a Lambda Literary Award winner and founder of the website WOC in Romance. Her romance catalog ranges from spicy to sweet and across all the colors of the LGBTQ spectrum, but this 2013 f/f story of love and submission is still my favorite. With a strong central couple who transform each other's idea of true love and a rich, complicated queer community backing them up, this tale should not be missed. -Penny Aimes

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What You Don't Know: A Story of a Liberated Childhood, by Anastasia Higginbotham

I love that What You Don't Know is geared to help children, ages 8 to 12, understand the struggles of a young Black gay boy growing up in a family that is learning to accept all of him. Higginbotham accompanies this story of hope, home, and self-actualization with beautiful illustrations that heighten her portrayal of joy and freedom. -Brian Broome

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Ana on the Edge, by A.J. Sass

I finished this book in one sitting. Ana's exploration of gender identity while pursuing her dream of being a champion figure skater makes for a winning combination. This middle-grade lands every trick with the highest grade of execution. -Isaac Fitzsimons

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Shade: An Anthology of Fiction, edited by Bruce Morrow and Charles H. Rowell

Each essay moved me in a different way. Black gay men have so many stories to tell - not only of tragedy, but also of love, hope, and acceptance. The essay "Your Mother from Cleveland" by Bil Wright alone is worth the price of the book. A stirring, inspirational, and barrier-breaking anthology. -Brian Broome

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Swimming in the Dark, by Tomasz Jędrowski

This stunning novel explores the forbidden romance between two boys who meet at an agricultural labor camp in 1980s Poland. The setting acts as a character in its own right as we witness them falling in love in the bucolic countryside, and later, their clandestine relationship back in dreary Warsaw. Heartbreaking without being bleak, I will return to this immersive historical fiction again and again. -Isaac Fitzsimons

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Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters

The pitch: a trans woman, her detransitioned partner, her partner's cis boss, and an accidental baby. Like a lot of readers, I'm a sucker for a smart, messy literary dive into complicated relationship dynamics, and Detransition, Baby does all of that from a trans point of view. -Casey McQuiston

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Drag Me Up, by R. M. Virtues

Black transmasculine romance author R. M. Virtues weaves a retelling of the Hades/Persephone tale that is vivid, sensual, and diverse. In a timeless world of gods, half-myth and half-modern, Hades is the silent, terrifying enforcer for his frivolous brother, and content to remain so, until one person changes everything. But honestly, Virtues had me at "multiple trans goddesses." -Penny Aimes

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A Safe Girl to Love, by Casey Plett

Trans author Casey Plett's short-story collection is not classifiable as romance - happily ever afters are emphatically not guaranteed - but it is an achingly honest chronicle of transfeminine experiences of love, sensuality, and broken hearts. Trans women come from every background, we are everywhere and anyone, and the 11 women of this collection embrace all of love's transcendent potential and messy impossibilities. -Penny Aimes

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Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Feinberg

Feinberg's poignant and moving novel about the life of a "stone butch" in 1970s America made me rethink ideas of gender and where we all fit into it (or not). Still a must-read nearly 30 years after it was first published, Feinberg questions what masculinity means and to whom it belongs. -Brian Broome

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