In the past few years, queer literature has gone more mainstream than ever. Novels like
Casey McQuiston’s and Samantha Shannon’s Red, White & Royal Blue The Priory of the Orange Tree are taking over book-lovers’ group chats, and every month there seems to be a new must-read LGBTQIA+ book hitting bookstores. All that might give you the impression that these novels are plentiful and easy to find, but that’s unfortunately not the case.
In many ways,
queer romance is still finding its feet. Although there are more than a few classic novels with LGBTQIA+ plots and subplots — such as Carmilla, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Well of Loneliness, Orlando, Q.E.D., Home to Harlem, , and Giovanni’s Room The Price of Salt, to name a few — happily ever afters for queer and trans couples were few and far between until very recently. And even though publishing has come a long way, it still has far to go. Thankfully, you can help it along by supporting queer books, starting with romance novels from the 2010s and ’20s.
Below, 41 of the best queer romance books to read right now.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Hang the Moon
From the author of
Written in the Stars comes Hang the Moon, a story about the differences between your favorite rom-coms and reality. It follows a man who learns that his sister’s best friend, a bi woman named Annie, doesn’t believe in love — and sets out to prove her wrong. Taking notes from his favorite romantic comedies, he attempts to woo her... and quickly learns that life isn’t like the movies. 2 Checking It Twice
Checking It Twice is a delightful queer Christmas romance. The story begins when Hal agrees to plan a friend’s wedding, knowing that it’ll lead into a run-in with Sacha, her old high-school crush. Hal can’t help but notice the sparks between the two of them, but Sacha’s not planning to stay in town any longer than she has to — at least, not yet. 3 Delilah Green Doesn’t Care
Another romance centered around a hometown wedding,
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care follows its eponymous heroine back to Bright Falls, where she’s agreed to photograph her step-sister’s nuptials. After learning that her old nemesis — Claire, her step-sister’s best friend — is still in town and single, Delilah decides to have a little fun before she leaves. But Claire’s built a career and a family in Bright Falls, and she’s betting she can convince Delilah to stay. 4 This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Sparks fly when Ollie, Nate’s childhood bestie, rolls back into town. It doesn’t take long for Florence — Nate’s ex and current best friend — to notice their chemistry, and to decide that they’re meant to be. But first, she’ll have to convince Nate to give love a chance.
5 How to Find a Princess
The second novel in Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series follows Makeda, a young woman who’s just lost her job
and her girlfriend — and definitely doesn’t have time to deal with a summons from the African nation of Ibarania, or to revisit her grandmother’s love affair with an Ibaranian prince. Enter Bez, an investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies, whose job is to get Makeda to Ibarania, no matter the cost. Only-one-bed hijinks ensue as Makeda and Bez find themselves embarking on an unlikely affair. 6 I Wish You All the Best
When their parents kick them out for being nonbinary, 18-year-old Ben is forced to move in with their married older sister, Hannah, who cut ties with their family 10 years earlier, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never met. Now, Ben’s got a lot of balls in the air: As they’re getting to know Hannah and Thomas better, they’re also working things through in therapy, and trying to find their place at their new school — where no one knows they’re nonbinary. Luckily, Ben quickly befriends Nathan, a funny, popular student whose aim is to help Ben make the most of their senior year. But when the pair’s friendship begins to turn into something more, will Ben be willing to risk another round of chaos for a chance at happiness?
7 May the Best Man Win
Lukas thought he’d finish high school with his longtime significant other by his side. But that was before Jeremy came out, began transitioning, and dumped Lukas last summer. Now, not only is Lukas single, but he — the leader of the football team
and Homecoming Committee — is up against his ex, cheer captain Jeremy, for Homecoming King. They might be able to duke it out in a friendly rivalry, but will lingering feelings for one another get in the way? 8 The One True Me and You
From the author of
The Disasters and Spellhacker comes this contemporary romance about two young people — one a sapphic fanfic writer who’s figuring out their gender identity, the other a secretly gay pageant queen who loves all things fandom — who cross paths when their hotel hosts a convention and a pageant at the same time. 9 Cheer Up: Love and Pom Poms
This romantic graphic novel follows two high-school seniors, Annie and BeeBee, whose childhood friendship blooms anew before growing into something more. Annie needs another school activity to really make her college applications shine, so she reluctantly tries out for the cheerleading squad. There, she grows close to her old friend BeeBee, a trans girl whose parents require her to perform well in school if she wants to continue her transition. Come for the sweet high-school romance, stay for the grumpy one/sunshine one trope.
10 Stage Dreams
Another graphic novel, Melanie Gillman’s
Stage Dreams centers on Flor, a Latinx highway robber who stumbles into Grace after knocking over her stagecoach. A trans runaway from Georgia, Grace might just be Flor’s new meal ticket — assuming her family will pay the ransom money. But when Grace agrees to help Flor with an anti-Confederate heist, Flor begins to wonder if kidnapping Grace really is the best move. 11 Icebreaker
YA sports romances are all the rage right now, and A.L. Graziadei’s
Icebreaker is a must-read for any fan of the subgenre. The story here centers on a pair of college hockey players who find themselves competing for a spot in the NHL. With his father and grandfather in the NHL’s record books, Mickey has a legacy to uphold — but his talented and devilishly handsome teammate, Jaysen, is also competing to be the top draft pick, and Mickey feels like he’s fighting an uphill battle. When the boys’ rivalry develops into romance, Mickey must decide what, exactly, he wants his future to look like 12 Something Fabulous Boyfriend Material author Alexis Hall returns to store shelves in 2022 with Something Fabulous, a historical romance about a straitlaced duke caught in a romantic tangle with a pair of adventurous twins. After Miss Arabella Tarleton runs away from her arranged marriage, her twin brother, Bonaventure, cajoles Arabella’s fiance — Valentine Laydon, the Duke of Malvern — into making a sweeping romantic gesture that’s sure to win her back. As they take off after Arabella, though, Valentine finds himself falling in love with the wrong Tarleton. 13 Unhallowed
When his best friend Kelly disappears, Sebastian suspects foul play. So after he’s accosted — and Kelly’s replacement, Vesper, receives a threatening letter — he sets out to do the work the local police refuse to undertake. But Vesper’s hiding something, and as he and Sebastian grow closer to one another, that secret threatens to undo them all.
14 I’m So (Not) Over You
When Hudson contacted him out of the blue, Kian allowed himself to hope that his ex-boyfriend wanted a second chance. Instead, Hudson asked Kian to
pretend to be his boyfriend at a family dinner. Kian agrees, but when things go sideways, the two men realize they’ll be fake-dating for the foreseeable future. Unless, that is, they start dating for real. 15 The Henna Wars
When coming out doesn’t go as planned, Nishat finds herself pretending to be straight to stay in her family’s good graces — a feat that becomes more difficult when she’s reunited with her childhood bestie, Flávia. Nishat’s crushing on Flávia in a big way, and even their new rivalry — running competing henna businesses for a school project — isn’t throwing water on the flames.
16 You Should See Me in a Crown
Asexual representation might be hard to come by in literature, but Leah Johnson’s
You Should See Me in a Crown is a stunning example of ace romance done right. Meet Liz, a working-class Black girl living in a wealthy, majority-white town. She’s got med-school aspirations, and has already scored a full ride to her dream school. But when she loses her financial aid, Liz is forced to throw her crown in the ring for prom queen — a title that comes with a hefty scholarship. She’s determined to win, but will falling for her enchanting new rival make Liz change her mind? 17 Let’s Talk About Love
When Alice came out as asexual, her girlfriend left her, dashing her plans for the perfect summer and leaving her in a funk. After swearing off love, Alice throws herself into her job at the local library. But she can’t deny her feelings for her new co-worker, and must decide whether coming out again is worth the risk.
18 Love and Other Disasters
Love & Other Disasters, two reality cooking show competitors start to get steamy. London is the first Chef’s Special participant to come out as nonbinary, so they’ve got a lot of people to prove wrong, and can’t afford any distractions. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Dahlia — the clumsy divorcée cooking at the station next to London’s — is: one big distraction. Their mutual attraction is as strong as their cooking chops, but with the competition thinning out, will their desire to win trump a shot at love? 19 Read Between the Lines
You’ve Got Mail made for the 21st century? Yes, please! Between the Lines follows Rosie and Brie — a bookstore owner and the romance novelist she flirts with online. Rosie is Brie’s biggest fan, but there’s one very important thing she doesn’t know about her would-be girlfriend: Brie is actually Jane Breslin, the property developer who just terminated her bookstore’s lease. 20 Meet Cute Diary
Noah Ramirez’s online reputation has been in shambles ever since his audience learned that the supposedly true stories of trans love featured on his blog, the titular “Meet Cute Diary,” are all fake. With his career in jeopardy, Noah has two choices: confess that he wrote the stories himself, or find a way to convince his audience that those happily ever afters are real. Unwilling to fess up to the truth, Noah decides to spin a new and bigger falsehood — his own fake romance, billed as the real deal. His partner-in-crime, Drew, is willing to help him do whatever it takes to save the “Meet Cute Diary,” but what happens when fake-dating turns into real feelings?
21 Change of Heart
Erin needs a fake date to keep her family off her back, and actor Steph is just the right woman for the job. Fake-dating with real chemistry is a dangerous game, however, and it’s about to backfire on these two gal pals in a big way. After a monumental breakup, can Erin and Steph turn their relationship around for real?
22 Cinder Ella
After her father’s death, Ella, a young trans woman, finds herself forced back into the closet by her uncaring stepmother, who promises to cast Ella out unless she continues to masquerade as “Cole.” But when “Cole” receives an invitation to Princess Lizabetta’s ball, it’s Ella who accepts. She catches the princess’s eye for an hour, unfortunately drawing her stepmother’s ire in the process. Now, Ella’s been abandoned halfway across the kingdom, and she’ll have to fight to make it back to Lizabetta.
23 When the Moon Was Ours
In their 2016 novel, Anna-Marie McLemore introduces readers to Sam and Miel: two teen outcasts with magical abilities that their small-town neighbors can’t begin to understand. Sam can paint moons that come to life, and Miel grows roses from her wrists. But when a quartet of witches decide that they need her flowers to craft a love spell, Miel finds herself fighting to keep her secrets and her autonomy.
24 One Last Stop
August knows that love was made up to sell greeting cards. And yet, she can’t stop thinking about Jane, the ultra-attractive punk rocker she met on the train. Jane’s not just any passenger, though: She’s a time-traveler who needs help getting back to the 1970s. August agrees, but in order to send Jane back to her own time, she’ll have to convince herself that she isn’t feeling sparks.
25 Stay Gold
In Tobly McSmith’s debut romance, Pony — a trans boy whose coming out caused a ruckus among his old classmates — is spending his senior year at a brand-new school, where everyone thinks he’s a cis guy. For her part, cheerleader Georgia made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t date during her last year at Hillcrest High. But when Pony and Georgia spot one another, it’s infatuation at first sight.
26 Hold Me
You’ve Got Mail-style romance, Courtney Milan’s Hold Me centers on Maria, a trans blogger, and Jay, her Internet fan and confidante of 18 months. Maria needs to protect herself by keeping her real life separate from her online identity, so Jay has no idea what she even looks like. He’d totally recognize her, though: They’ve already met, and sparks have already flown... just not in a good way. 27 Princess Princess Ever After
Princess Sadie is locked away in a tower and unconvinced of her own potential. Her salvation comes in the form of Amira, another princess who’s fleeing a life at court to pursue one of adventure. Traveling across the countryside together, these two young women forge a strong friendship that slowly blossoms into something more, in this graphic novel from
The Tea Dragon Society author K. O’Neill. 28 The Girl from the Sea
In this graphic novel from Molly Knox Ostertag, 15-year-old Morgan’s life is turned upside down when she’s saved from drowning by the mysterious Keltie. It doesn’t take long for the two to begin to fall for one another — and to learn one another’s secrets.
29 Documenting Light
When Wyatt happens upon an intriguing photograph, he brings it to the local historian, Grayson, to find answers. As the two work to uncover the identities of the two young men in the portrait, the baggage of their lives begins to weigh heavily on them, and they soon find themselves leaning on each other for support.
30 Lord of the Last Heartbeat
The first installment of May Peterson’s Sacred Dark series centers on Mio, a nonbinary opera singer whose mother uses his talents to further her own ends. Desperate, Mio summons an immortal named Rhodry to help him escape from his mother’s clutches, but Rhodry has different plans for him — and soon finds himself falling in love with the magical singer
. 31 Electric Idol
Eros has taken orders from his mother for his whole life, but after years spent working as Aphrodite’s assassin, he unexpectedly finds himself unable to follow through on his latest assignment: murdering Psyche, Demeter’s daughter, after he’s caught on camera with her. Instead of following through, Eros marries Psyche, hoping that will keep her safe from his mother’s wrath.
32 Catch and Cradle
As captain of her college lacrosse team, Becca knows that intra-team romances only lead to disaster on — and off — the field. There’s just one problem, and her name is Hope. The rules are rules for a reason, but can Becca and Hope continue deny their growing affection for the sake of the team?
33 The Queer Principles of Kit Webb
To save himself and his best friend Percy, Lord Holland needs to steal something from his own father. Only problem is, he doesn’t know the first thing about robbery. So he seeks help from café owner-operator Kit Webb, a retired highwayman who’s given up his life of crime, but is willing to teach Percy what he needs to know. As their lessons heat up, so does the pent-up passion between them.
34 Satisfaction Guaranteed
Straitlaced Cade’s road to career success takes an unexpected left when she inherits half of a sex shop, Satisfaction Guaranteed. Now, she’s got to find a way to work with Selena, her chaotic co-owner. For her part, Selena can’t believe she’s stuck with a stick-in-the-mud like Cade, but she’s more concerned about her vow of celibacy — which Cade has her desperate to break.
35 Cemetery Boys
As a trans boy in a family where magical abilities are determined by gender, Yadriel has struggled to prove himself as a brujo — one who helps souls transition into the afterlife. He sees a chance to do so after his cousin’s death, but instead of helping his loved one find peace, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of his ne’er-do-well classmate, Julian. When the time comes to send Julian to the other side, though, Yadriel may not be able to bring himself to give him the push.
36 Who I Was with Her
Corinne and Maggie dated for a year. Now, Maggie’s gone, and — because both girls were still closeted — heartbroken Corinne has no one to talk to about their relationship. No one, that is, except for Maggie’s ex, Elissa. As Corinne and Elissa bond over their shared memories of Maggie, they fall into what could be an ill-fated romance.
37 Check Please!
Ngozi Ukazu’s cozy sports romance centers on freshman athlete and Renaissance man Eric “Bitty” Bittle. He skates, he bakes, he vlogs — and he’s having trouble adjusting to the culture of his all-boy college team. Full-contact hockey isn’t like anything Bitty played back home in Georgia! Then there’s the matter of his dreamy team captain, Jack, who proves to be the grumpy to Bitty’s sunshine.
38 The Hellion’s Waltz
A silk weaver looking to take down a corrupt draper meets her match when her new neighbor, a piano teacher, starts sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Maddie’s guild needs money, and who better to provide it than an unsuspecting rival who’s made plenty of enemies in their field of work? The only person standing between her and success is Sophie: a none-too-trusting newcomer who despises con artists. Can Sophie make an exception for Maddie, or is their romance DOA?
After her sister’s wedding is over and done with, Alexis tries to settle back into her normal life at college, only to have her school days shaken up by Treasure — the attractive stripper who danced at her sister’s bachelorette party. Treasure’s real name is Trisha, and she falls head over heels for Alexis in an instant. But can Alexis bring herself to make room in her life for Trisha?
40 Eight Kinky Nights
Jordan’s looking for a new start when she moves in with her friend, a fellow queer autistic named Leah, but she quickly discovers that life in the kink and polyam scenes may be coming at her faster than she can handle. To help Jordan adjust to her new role as a dominant, Leah, a sex educator and submissive, offers her eight kinky lessons for Chanukah. As the two start their holiday fun, however, they both soon realize that they may be swiftly turning into more than friends.
41 Something to Talk About
It started with a joke. Emma laughed at a quip from her boss — Hollywood star Jo — and the red-carpet paparazzi ran with the story. Now, half the world thinks Emma and Jo are a couple. With the press clamoring for more, Jo and Emma have no choice but to keep feeding the rumor mill without confirming — or denying — the details of their relationship. It’s strictly business between the two of them... until it isn’t.
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