15 YA Contemporary Novels Like 'Love, Simon' To Read After You See The Movie
From the moment Becky Albertalli's Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda hit shelves back in 2015, fans of the book have been clamoring for a film adaptation. Simon Spier's funny, heartfelt, emotional story of coming to terms with his sexuality, figuring out the whole romance thing for the first time, and grappling with his evolving relationships with friends and family hit a nerve with readers everywhere. And now with the March 17 release of the film Love, Simon, teens — and adults — have a whole new way to fall for him.
But after you've watched the film once or twice... or OK, maybe three times during the opening weekend if you're into that sort of thing, you're going to need something else to feed your growing Simon obsession. And the only logical place to turn would be books. Below are 15 YA contemporary books that will give you all the same feels you get from Love, Simon — love stories that are both authentic and ultimately uplifting; family and friend relationships that are complex and meaningful; main characters whose voices are tinged with humor and heart; and cinema-worthy plots that will have you turning pages right at the edge of your seat. If you want to give your heart something to feel for, here's what you need to add to your TBR.
'Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda' by Becky Albertalli
When 16-year-old Simon Spier's email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised. Add some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated.
'Everything Leads to You' by Nina LaCour
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. She's is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
'Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe' by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Through this friendship, Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
'Juliet Takes A Breath' by Gabby Rivera
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing: interning with the author of her favorite book, Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
'Openly Straight' by Bill Konigsberg
Rafe is a normal teenager. He plays soccer. He likes to write. And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a "regular" guy. So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret. But then he meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben... who doesn't even know that love is possible.
'Queens of Geek' by Jen Wilde
Charlie is a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. But when actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought. Charlie's best friend Taylor is afraid of change. But there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
'One Man Guy' by Michael Barakiva
When Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. he's sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. But he never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan. Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend — but maybe it’s time to think again.
'Noteworthy' by Riley Redgate
Jordan Sun is a junior at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, and she's hopeful that this will be the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out, she’s forced to consider a nontraditional option: a spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite all-male a cappella octet. Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and gets in. Soon she finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and pushing beyond gender norms to confront what it really means to be herself.
'Autoboyography' by Christina Lauren
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. When his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar — where students draft a book in a semester — Tanner can’t resist having a go. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. But it only takes one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
'Not Otherwise Specified' by Hannah Moskowitz
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown. She's not "gay enough", thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, and not "sick enough" to look anorexic. Etta doesn’t fit anywhere — until she meets Bianca. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?
'They Both Die At The End' by Adam Silvera
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure — to live a lifetime in a single day.
'How To Make A Wish' by Ashley Herring Blake
Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother and the tiny cape on which they live, Grace Glasser focuses on her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York. But Grace's attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. United by loss, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
'Foolish Hearts' by Emma Mills
At the last party of the summer, Claudia accidentally overhears the break-up of the school's cutest couple, Iris and Paige. Now on Iris's bad side, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. But mandatory participation has its upsides — namely, an unexpected friendship with Iris, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.
'Little & Lion' by Brandy Colbert
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends, family and her crush, Emil, are. And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new — the same girl her brother is in love with.
'Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit' by Jaye Robin Brown
Joanna Gordon has been out for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father moves them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: lie low for the rest of her senior year. Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for Mary. Even if there’s a chance Mary might be interested in her, too. Right?