Robbie Couch, Meryl Wilsner, and more pick books by other queer writers that bring them joy.

Add some joy to your bookshelf!

We asked LGBTQ authors to pick books by other queer authors that bring them joy. From a tale about a queer merperson to a story about Black queer best friend set during a summer in Baltimore, here are their picks! 

Out of the Blue by Jason June
Credit: HarperTeen

Out of the Blue by Jason June

Out of the Blue felt like a breath of fresh air to me. And I mean that literally because this book follows a merperson. A queer merperson. Need I say more? If you love an adorable YA romance on land and despise plastic pollution in the ocean, I have a feeling you'll swim through Out of the Blue at Michael Phelps' speed, just like I did.  —Robbie Couch

Kings of B’More
Credit: Kokila

Kings of B'More by R. Eric Thomas

Growing up I never quite understood the appeal of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Perhaps it was too white or too straight for me. But after reading Kings of B'More, R. Eric Thomas's ode to Black boy joy, queer found family, growing up, and summer in Baltimore, I think I finally get it. There's something magical, luminous even, that happens when you take the bumpers off the lanes of your life, chart your own destiny, and experience a day completely of your own making—chaos and all. —Adib Khorram

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Credit: Park Row

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

It might seem weird that I'm recommending a book about a depressed queer millennial to celebrate queer joy, but once you read Honey Girl, you'll get it. The book is a coming of age story for when you're already an adult. It's soft and beautiful while it deals with the ways life can be hard and ugly. —Meryl Wilsner

Small Town Pride
Credit: HarperCollins

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

In Small Town Pride, Phil Stamper gives us an underexplored look into what it's like to be young and openly queer in a small (and often small-minded) Midwestern town, and it's a pure delight. Jake is lucky enough to have a strong network of allies surrounding him, and when other folks in his hometown push back against the idea that queerness is something that should be celebrated, Jake chooses to double down by bringing a Pride parade to town. Small Town Pride is a sweet, funny, and deeply uplifting story from beginning to end. —Leah Johnson

Man o' War by Cory McCarthy 
Credit: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Man o' War by Cory McCarthy

Queer joy, and particularly trans joy, isn't always easy to gain. For many of us, it takes years of realizing and healing all the parts of ourselves that have been hurt by trying to fit into an identity that was never our own. Man o' War is unique because it follows River over the course of those years between hurt and joy. There are parts of River's journey that make you ache to read, but there is so much joy in the healing! This is a really authentic tale about the journey to queer joy and all the bumps and obstacles along the way. —Aiden Thomas

You Can Vibe Me On My FemmePhone
Credit: Co—Conspirator Press

You Can Vibe Me On My FemmePhone by Kamala Puligandla

Instinctually I want to call You Can Vibe Me on My FemmePhone "bubblegum speculative fiction," but that first descriptor might owe more to the novella's phosphorescent pink cover than its tone—plus, Puligandla's story moves at too brisk a pace to warrant comparisons to anything sticky. FemmePhone packs a surprising amount of story into its 97 pages, blitzing from art galleries to antifa blunt rotations to a centaur-roleplay sex party—arriving at the latter via a stolen Mercedes. 

While the story's biting and deeply funny commentary is focused on the intersections of art and technology that don't (yet) exist — as embodied by the titular FemmePhones, a kinder, more femme-centered smartphone that warns you if that winky face emoji you're sending is too corny — the relationships between its charismatic "f--gy-ass femme d-ke" narrator Veronica and her friends is one of the most charming and true-to-life depictions of queer friendship and dating I've encountered in fiction. In a book barely bigger than a cellphone itself, Puligandla imagines an optimistic-if-still-flawed near-future where we can literally send each other "vibes" (but only to other FemmePhone users). —Calvin Kasulke

Golden Boys by Phil Stamper
Credit: Bloomsbury YA

Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

Golden Boys stole my heart and had me longing for a summer full of friendship and romance and adventure. Hilarious and full of heart, this book was such a joy to read. I was rooting for each of the four main characters — who immediately felt familiar, like I'd known them as long as they'd known each other — and didn't want this book to end! —Robby Weber

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters
Credit: Viking Books for Young Readers

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Just like every book by Julian Winters, Right Where I Left You left me yearning for more of this story. More Isaac, more Diego—more from Julian! The book is so sweet and delightful, celebrating queer happy endings in all the right ways. And if you love a good geeky love triangle? Forgot about it—Right Where I Left You will have you hooked from the first sentence. —Robbie Couch

Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring
Credit: Berkley

Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake

I would like a thousand more romcoms like Delilah Green Doesn't Care. (Luckily enough the second book of the series, Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail, publishes in November.) Ashley Herring Blake has created a friend group you want to be a part of, and if all the female main characters end up with women, well, that's just a bonus! —Meryl Wilsner

In the Key of Us
Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington

In the Key of Us is a heartfelt, tender exploration of first love and the endless possibilities of summertime. After the passing of her mother, Andi has a hard time connecting to the music she once loved so much. But when she goes to music camp and connects with Zora, the only other Black girl at camp, she begins to discover more about herself and the music than she could have imagined. Mariama writes so beautifully about emerging queerness and Black girlhood that it's hard to walk away from her books without your spirit being lifted. —Leah Johnson

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin
Credit: Swoon Reads

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin

When it comes to queer joy, something that always makes me happy is reading a book with strong and powerful queer characters! Dauntless is an epic Filipino-inspired YA fantasy mixed with heart-pounding action and a sweet sapphic romance. Elisa A. Bonnin's rich world building and gorgeous prose will leave you tearing through chapters and cheering on our queer heroes! The rich magic, thrilling action and jolting twists will leave you craving more. —Aiden Thomas

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min
Credit: Flatiron Books

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min (Out 7/26/22)

Sometimes it can feel cliché to say about a book, "I wish I had this when I was younger," but it's true: I wish I'd had Beating Heart Baby when I was younger. The story of Santi and Suwa, two queer boys of color who find their way together, apart, and together again, all against a backdrop of music and animé, Los Angeles and Tokyo, internet friendships and newfound love, filled my heart until it literally ran over with joy. I can't go back in time and give this to young me—but I'll certainly be handing it to everyone around me now. —Adib Khorram

The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers
Credit: Viking Books for Young Readers

The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass (9/20/22)

This fall, readers will be enchanted by The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass. A truly fresh and modern fairytale, this book is hilarious, charming, and refreshingly earnest. As a rom-com and fairytale lover, I couldn't put it down as I just had to find out if our protagonist would get his happily ever after! —Robby Weber

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