What with the new Let’s Go Beyond Tolerance Blog and The Story Siren’s LGBT YA fest crowding up the net with LGBT YA goodness, I thought it my duty to pitch in!  In the spirit of rainbow-flag waving, here are a few great YA books with gay, lesbian and transgender themes.  This is not at all a comprehensive list of the YA LGBT books out there – more like a jumping off point for those of you looking to move out of the paranormal YA section!  *is guilty*

Some of these I’ve read, but most of them I haven’t!  But I’ve included links to reviews around the blogosphere, so if you want to check out a “proper” opinion, check those out.

Btw, you should all start following Amanda over at The Zen Leaf (if you aren’t already!).  She has written fabulous reviews for most of the books on this list!

When Nina learns the shocking truth that her best friends Mel and Avery have fallen in love with each other, their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it’s only the beginning of a painful, funny, and gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

2. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

Best friends and unofficial brothers since they were six, ninth-graders T.C. and Augie have got the world figured out. But that all changes when both friends fall in love for the first time. Enter Ale. She’s pretty, sassy, and on her way to Harvard. T.C. falls hard, but Ale is playing hard to get. Meanwhile, Augie realizes that he’s got a crush on a boy. It’s not so clear to him, but to his family and friends, it’s totally obvious! Told in alternating perspectives, this is the hilarious and touching story of their most excellent year, where these three friends discover love, themselves, and how a little magic and Mary Poppins can go a long way.

Reviews: The Book Smugglers

Awesome little fact: All the models on the cover are men – possibly even the same man. ♥

3. Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Russel is still going on dates with girls. Kevin would do anything to prevent his teammates on the baseball team from finding out. Min and Terese tell everyone they’re just really good friends. But after a while, the truth’s too hard to hide – at least from each other – so they form the “Geography Club.” Nobody else will come. Why would they want to? Their secret should be safe.

Reviews: AfterEllen

James and Alex have barely anything in common any more – least of all their experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there is James’€™s friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways.

5. Luna by Julie Anne Peters (2006)

For years, Regan’s brother Liam has been nursing a secret. By day, he is Liam, a passably typical boy of his age; at night, he transforms himself into Luna, his true, female self. Regan loves and supports her brother and she keeps his Liam/Luna secret. Things change, though, when Luna decides to emerge from her cocoon. She begins dressing like a girl in public; first at the mall; then at school; then at home. Regan worries that her brother’s transgender identity is threatening her own slippery hold on normalcy. This serious, powerful teen novel was a National Book Award finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Reviews: Shooting Stars Mag

6. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher (2009)

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.

Reviews: Library Lounge Lizard

OMG I want this book like a mad woman.  And that cover? *swoons*

7. Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters (2005)

With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship?

Reviews: The Zen Leaf

8. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (2005)

In this school, the gay kids and the straight kids all get along just fine, the quarterback is a cross-dresser, and the cheerleaders ride Harleys– yet the road to true love is still a strange and winding path, as Paul discovers when he meets the boy of his dreams.

Reviews: Voracious YAppetite and The Zen Leaf

9. Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz (2009)

It really was a stupid thing that Brent Staple did – doing it (so the rumour goes) with Chris Sanchez, one of the guy cheerleaders. Who’d have thought that Brent, the school’s hottest jock, could be gay? But the doubt about Brent doesn’t just hurt Tara – it’s the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara’s training for the marathon, but also running from her father and her fear of ever being abandoned again. Beautiful Whitney Blaire’s got everything and nothing, because her parents have never had time for her. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she never stops missing. The girls couldn’t be more different, but doesn’t that just prove the strength of their friendship?

Then new-girl Riley arrives in school, wafting her long black hair and a scent of lilacs. Suddenly, Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt before for a girl – and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay – or does she just love Riley? And can the map of her deepest friendships ever be redrawn in a post-Riley world

Reviews: The Zen Leaf and The Story Siren

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Kay

Your ghost host at Dead Book Darling
Kay's been blogging about urban fantasy, young adult and werewolves since 2009. She's a firm believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes. To support her book-buying habit, Kay keeps up a day-job as a science journalist (so feel free to ask her about Physics).

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