7 LGBTQIA+ Books For Young Adults That Are Set In The UK
Growing up queer isn't the easiest experience. Unless you are lucky enough to grow up in a super queer environment, there aren't necessarily people you can relate to, nor role models you can turn to for advice. Some younger people might feel incredibly isolated. An excellent way to process confused feelings is to escape into a book. Luckily, more and more books aimed at young adults that represent the lives of LGBTQIA+ people are being published every year. And, y'all, there is a lot of British LGBTQIA+ YA fiction, so these stories are a bit closer to home.
Any queer person will tell you that stumbling upon a YA book that features a queer character — AKA the Holy Grail — can set off all kinds of emotions. The raw and intense excitement of "OMG they are just like me!" is unparalleled. Well, I guess until you make your first LGBTQIA+ friend and get that sense of belonging that you've been waiting for all this time. But, before that happens, LGBTQIA+ YA fiction is the perfect companion. Perhaps that is why so many LGBTQIA+ authors grow up thinking, "I want to provide the kind of solace queer literature did for me for others," and why we're a very supportive bunch in general. Ugh, swoon, our community is amazing.
Here is a list of YA books to get you started.
1. 'Sugar Rush' by Julie Burchill
The queen of lesbian fiction Julie Burchill published Sugar Rush in 2004, and it went on to become a hit TV series on Channel 4 that was, like, the voice of a queer female generation.
Kim goes from posh school to a local comprehensive and meets the intoxicatingly brash Sugar, falling head over heels in for her the process.
Falling for your BFF — which is almost like a right of passage for LGBTQIA+ youths — is covered here, as is the heartbreak that goes along with it.
2. 'Skins The Novel' by Ali Cronin
Remember that cast of Skins? OMG, they honestly were the best.
This one has all your faves in it, in particular Naomi and Emily, the lesbian couple on the show who's love was like OTT adorbs but also filled with that tantalising drama that hooks you right in.
3. 'Kiss' by Jacqueline Wilson
Boy and girl grow up together. Boy and girl love each other so much. They kind of assume that they will end up together and be together forever — and then boy gets really close to another boy.
This story is an amazing tale of growing up and making realisations about yourself with time.
4. 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit' by Jeanette Winterson
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical book written by Jeanette Winterson about childhood in The Pennines.
Winterson was adopted and brought up by her mother in a religious sect. Her passion for the church makes it seem as if she is destined for a life as a missionary, but after falling for a same-sex convert, the story changes.
5. 'Half Bad' by Sally Green
Hell yes to a bit of supernatural queer teenage lit. Apart from the fact that having a pretty huge secret in your life (being a witch) is pretty darn similar to that whole, ya know, gayness thing, this is everything you need.
Sally Green's tale of witches, love, and angst is both enthralling and exciting.
A must read for those who love to escape to a completely different world. And Green gets special points for creating a trilogy, meaning you have a nice little reading path to follow.
6. 'Wildthorn' by Jane Eagland
This is the story of 17-year-old Louisa Cosgrove, who grows up in Victorian England in a comfortable and respectable family home, being the daughter of a doctor.
However, Cosgrove's world is thrown into chaos when she gets sent to Wildthorn Hall. The teenager suddenly finds herself labelled as a lunatic, and she is stripped of her freedom. Cosgrove is confused and scared, but finds comfort when she begins to fall for another woman.
Definitely one for those who love a period drama.
7. 'Things a Bright Girl Can Do' by Sally Nicholls
Three young women drag themselves out of the East London slums to find their place in history as a part of the suffragette movement.
Together they fight for what is right, with two of them falling in love. Deep, empowering, feminist, and a little slice of UK history.
No matter what kind of a vibe you fancy in a book, there is always space for queer stories and characters.