YA Friday: Happy Pride!

Pride flag against the sky

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ+ Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969 in Manhattan. What began as a single day of observance has since grown to month long celebrations throughout the country.

When it comes to Pride Month there are so many ways to celebrate, raise awareness, and be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. One of my favorite ways to celebrate Pride is by uplifting queer voices through reading and sharing books about queer characters, books by queer writers, and books for queer readers.

Queer representation in the young adult book world has improved in recent years as authors and stories have focused on more than just the coming out process, which while an important milestone, isn’t a defining one. As a result, readers who do identify as LGBTQ+ can now pick up an adventure featuring a bisexual Lord set in 18th century Europe, a contemporary tale about a gender fluid protagonist finding fame on the Internet, a fantasy novel featuring a lesbian romance, and even see themselves in a movie with a gay teen at the center of a romantic comedy.

If you want to make June a month of Pride reading, this list of YA books is a great place to start. While this list is by no means a comprehensive representation of the many different sexualities and gender identities that exist in the world, the books below will open you up to new and diverse experiences within the queer community. So check out the suggestions of inclusive reads you can pick up at your local library branch to keep celebrating the spirit of Pride for the rest of the year.

Spongebob Sqaurepants with a rainbow appearing between his hands

Let's Talk About Love book cover

Let's Talk About Love, by Claire Kann

Alice's last girlfriend, Margo, ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual. Now Alice is sure she's done with dating... and then she meets Takumi. She can't stop thinking about him or the rom-com-grade romance feelings she did not ask for. When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge, Alice has to decide if she's willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated-- or understood.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In book cover

The Dangerous Art of Blending In, by Angelo Surmelis

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict immigrant Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend, Henry, has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Wild Beauty book cover

Wild Beauty, by Anna Marie McLemore

For nearly a century the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds and lush estate gardens of La Pradera. They have a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. When a strange boy appears in the gardens, he is a mystery to Estrella and to her family, but he's even more a mystery to himself. He knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, they uncover secrets as dangerous as they are magical.

Jane, Unlimited book cover

Jane, Unlimited, by Kristen Cashore

A chance encounter with former tutor Kiran Thrash enables Jane, an umbrella-crafter and college dropout, to fulfill a promise to her beloved late Aunt Magnolia—to accept an invitation to visit the mysterious Thrash family home, Tu Reviens. During her visit, Jane reaches a seemingly insignificant moment in time where one action will branch her off into different futures. Each choice results in a different path for Jane that takes her far beyond her previously ordinary life.

We Are Okay book cover

We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour

After leaving her life behind to go to college in New York, Marin must face the truth about the tragedy that happened in the final weeks of summer when her friend Mabel comes to visit.

They Both Die at the End book cover

They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera

In a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, teenagers Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.

Further Reading

I'll Give You the Sun book cover The Great American Whatever book cover Release book cover Ramona Blue book cover Little & Lion book cover If I Was Your Girl book cover

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