I’ve always enjoyed reading Teen Fiction, more so nowadays now that I’m in my thirties. As well as the fact that protagonists and characters are more diverse, I just find the stories easier to consume.
As mentioned in a recent post where we wrote about our favourite fiction for older children, books like Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow are fantastic reads, even for us adults. Not only are the stories fun and easy to digest, but I could leave the book for a while and easily pick it up where I left off. Without even having to re-read a chapter or two like I would have had to with more adult books!
Whilst T is way off getting into the same books that I’m currently reading, it’s not a band thing having a couple ready for when the time comes. Plus, I still really enjoy reading them! With this in mind, I’ve written below a few of my favourites so far. Not only that, I recently asked a couple of our followers on Twitter for some recommendations and here’s what they suggested:
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Spin me right around (follower recommendation)
“In a story that’s fresh, intersectional, and wickedly funny, David Valdes introduces a big-mouthed, big-hearted queer character that readers won’t soon forget.”
When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he’s going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis’s estranged father).
“Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.
Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated.”
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda offers wholesome and honest depictions of gay men – whether they are falling in love or hanging out with their friends and family. As one reviewer mentioned… “it’s an affirmation too long coming. While homophobic bullying is depicted, it is at a distance, and none of the characters struggle with rejection or internalised homophobia.”
“A love story with a difference – an unforgettable tale of life, loss and making each day count “
This story follows the somewhat awkward friendship of Rufus and Mateo; who are complete opposites personality-wise. One day, they become best friends through an app – which was created to match people who are going to die on the same day – spending their last day together.
This obviously covers some sensitive topics, but it well-worth a read if you’re looking for something a bit different.
“Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalisation too many – Black, queer and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after.”
Felix is Trans, but when an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages – alongside images of him before he transitioned – Felix has to quickly create a plan for revenge, but he ends up falling in love instead.
“He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours…”
Following the life of Michael and his experiences of being a black gay male, this heartwarming, coming of age (and coming out!) story is honest and raw at the same time. It’s also flamboyant and beautiful, and lets the reader explore topics on identity, self-exploration and acceptance.
Stay Gold (follower recommended)
“Pony plans to fly under the radar this year. Tired of getting too much attention at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s hoping for a fresh start as a Hillcrest High senior. But it’s hard to live your best life with the threat of exposure lurking around every corner.”
This was recommended to us, with a warning that there are some difficult topics explored. The story follows Pony, who was out as trans at his old school but since moving has decided he wants to go to school in stealth mode, hoping to pass as a cis boy. He begins to fall for a girl, Georgia, who has proclaimed she isn’t going to date anymore. Pony questions whether he should come out to her and Georgia wonders whether she should break her promise to herself for the new boy in school.
“Liz has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed town. But Liz has an escape plan to attend an uber-elite college, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.”
This story follows Liz Lighty, a young, Black bisexual woman from the US. Her family are not wealthy but Liz aspires to go to university nonetheless and become a doctor. Shortly after her scholarship falls through, she realises that to be in a chance of attending university and following her dreams, she has to become Prom queen (where the prize will help fund her dream!).
“When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything… Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him”.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Carry On is very similar to H*rry P*tter, but then the “chosen one” story has been told and re-told time and time again, so let’s get over this part and just read what is an inclusive, mystical story about friendship, ghosts and vampires with lots of twists and turns along the way.
“At the End of Everything reaches a broad audience for anyone wanting to read more LGBTQ+, disability awareness, juvenile incarceration narratives, or anyone who just loves post-apocalyptic storylines.”
No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled to the The Hope Juvenile Treatment Centre. People barely acknowledge they exist. But when the guards at Hope start acting strange, and one day they simply don’t show up for work, the teens have to band together to make a break from the facility.
This is probably one of the only teen thrillers in this list, but it is well worth a read and will keep you on the end of your virtual seat.
“This is a story about living above a café with your twin sister, a soppy dad and glamorous mother, having to help in the café whether you like it or not, until the day Liam Mackie walks in and you fall instantly and hopelessly in love. And so does your twin sister.”
This is a roller-coaster ride of a book that will leave you gobsmacked at times. There’s secrets, and when The Big One comes out, this book jumps from a jolly fun read to something perhaps more serious.
Still a great read with lots of charm and character.
“Freddie believes that he’s unremarkable, that he isn’t living his life to the fullest. So, he decides to follow a new philosophy designed to transform his social and romantic life: saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes by. “
Simon James Green is currently one of the UK’s leading writers of LGBTQ+ teen fiction, and it is no surprise when you have absolute gems like You’re the one that I want; a romantic yet hilarious book about teen love (and Grease!). This is a really fun book that will want you wanting more.
Not Quite Out (follower recommended)
“William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions. Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.”
Another great follower recommendation, Not Quite Out explores a number of difficult subjects, as well as showing readers that people can come with complicated pasts. This book is a romantic tale, but one that will take you on bit of a ride.
Content warning – This book includes references to abortion, drug addiction, abusive relationships, PTSD, and self-harm.
Jay’s Gay Agenda (follower recommended)
“a moving and hilarious sex-positive teen rom-com about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming”
A story about a small-only-gay-in-the-town boy who moves to Seattle to start his senior year at a new high school. A town with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community and plenty of opportunities to explore and learn who you really are, whilst not forgetting where you came from.
“Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.”
Now an award-winning, Major Motion Picture, Call me by Your Name is a beautifully written book about a six-week long “summer love”. This is more than just a “gay love story” but a story about two people who find each other and then feel comfortable just to be themselves without limitations. This book is full of love and emotion.
“Gabriel knows his sexuality must be kept secret from all but his closest friends, not only to protect himself, but to protect his boyfriend. Because Eric isn’t just the boy who has stolen Gabriel’s heart. He’s the son of the chief inspector at Degenerate Investigations - the man who poses the single biggest threat to Gabriel’s life.”
This was a welcome treat in our house, as not only are the characters from the UK, but the story could easily fit into today’s society (which I’m not sure is a good thing or a bad thing!) thanks to being set in the not-so-distant future.
This story is important in so many ways and is an absolute page-turner.
“Moving to New York City is supposed to prove cynical twenty-three-year-old August right: magic and cinematic
love stories don’t exist...
But then, she meets this gorgeous girl on the train.”
This is a charming, romantic story that is full of warmth and heart-warming threads and tangents. The relationships featured in this story appear natural and it’s nice to see a variety of genders and sexuality represented.
“If you’ve ever thought about what super power you’d love to have or felt frustrated that your day to day is more homework and less saving the world in lycra, then this is the story for you.”
Not Your Sidekick is a warm, fun and kick-ass story about Jess, our Vietnamese-American Bisexual heroine, who travels on a journey that lets her discover that things aren’t always what they seem. The book explores topics around racial identity and heritage, family, sexuality, romance and friendship.
Felipe is Fat, and he’s been waiting for summer: a break from school and the classmates who tease him incessantly. His plans include catching up on TV and watching YouTube tutorials on skills he’ll never actually put into practice.
But things get a little out of hand when Felipe’s mom informs him that Caio, the neighbour kid from apartment 57, will be spending the next fifteen days with them while his parents are on vacation.”
This charming queer love story offers something a bit different and explores topics often under-represented within young literature – having to deal with body shaming and bullying (and getting into pools with a t-shirt on!).
If you enjoyed this post, let us know in the comments below. If you would like to recommend a book, get in touch so we can add it to the list!
Thanks for reading!
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