The best LGBTQIA+ books that need to “Shantay You Stay” in your life — and really DASURV to have a spot on your shelf.

Raeneil Inocencio
5 min readMar 21, 2023

I’m dead serious; you should add them to your TBR list…

It’s not necessary to identify yourself as LGBTQ+ to appreciate a novel with a queer narrative. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer characters are included in more stories than ever. I’ve compiled some of the best LGBTQ+ books ever written for you to explore, whether you’re looking for a read that matches your own experience or is completely different from yours. Whether you like traditional coming-of-age tales, scorching romances, or factual books, we have all of them, and they’re all good.

There are many ways to honor the LGBTQ+ community (or, you know, the beauty of variety in general) all year long, even something as straightforward as reading a fantastic book. Pride Month may only last for 30 days in June, yet there are numerous ways to do so. After all, reading queer stories offers educational opportunities for absolutely E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E on the gender spectrum, including non-gender-conforming individuals. So, here are some of the ultimate LGBTQIA+ stories that need to be added to your book list.

#SLU_COM323_2023_05 #LGBTQIACommunity #TheLibraryIsOpen #QueerBooks

#01 WE ARE EVERYWHERE by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the creators and administrators of the enormously popular Instagram account @lgbt_history have published a rich and comprehensive visual history of the LGBTQ Liberation Movement.

#02 CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman

The growing romance between young Elio and Oliver, his father’s graduate student companion, is central to this book-turned-movie. It’s difficult not to experience butterflies when their summer romance is set against the rural landscape of northern Italy.

#03 THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is a timeless film. The story of Celie, a lady who lives in poverty and has been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by her father and later her husband, is told through a series of shockingly honest letters. Celie is also exploring her sexuality throughout the course of the story.

#04 BOY ERASED: A MEMOIR OF IDENTITY, FAMILY, AND FAITH by Garrard Conley

The son of a Baptist minister, Garrard Conley, was up in a small village in Arkansas. His family enrolled him in an institutional program when they realized he struggled with his sexual orientation at 19. After the arduous journey, Garrard is stronger and more motivated than ever to find his true self.

#05 THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS by Laurie Frankel

When Claude informs his parents that he wants to be a girl, they encourage him and try to shield him from the outside world by keeping everything a secret. However, this “secret” was never intended to remain forever.

#06 KAFKA ON THE SHORE by Harukami Murakami

A 15-year-old boy named Kafka leaves his hometown in Tokyo for the seaside area of Takamatsu due to his abusive father’s actions. His father condemns him to an infantile fate before he departs, and Kafka soon crosses up with the peculiar Nakata, an older adult who is drawn to him for unknown reasons.

#07 FELIX EVER AFTER by Kacen Callender

The sweet and touching story of a transgender youth learning to cope with self-discovery and experiencing his first love. You should have some tissues on hand for this one.

#08 THE LAST NUDE by Ellis Avery

The Last Nude, based on the true story of artist Tamara de Lempicka, is set in 1927 Paris and chronicles the romance between Rafaela, a young Italian American runaway, and a wealthy ambitious painter who persuades Rafaela to act as her muse.

#09 THE BOY WITH THE BIRD IN HIS CHEST by Emme Lund

Owen a kid who spends his life hidden away because of the talkative bird named Gail living in his chest. In contrast, when he is forced to leave his family and go live with his uncle and cousin, he discovers a family that not only welcomes the bird in his chest but also accepts him in all his dimensions. Owen learns there how to lead a whole and honest life.

#10 GREENLAND by David Santos Donaldson

A strange novel-within-a-novel that follows a young, queer novelist in Brooklyn as he struggles to complete his masterwork and narrates the tale of Mohammed el Adl, the young Egyptian admirer of British author E. Before the deadline set by his publisher, M. Forster.

#11 BLUE SKINNED GODS by Sj SIndu

While Kalki, a blue-skinned Indian child, initially falls into the myth and believes himself to be a human manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu, he becomes disenchanted. He decides to migrate to America to discover his sexuality and identity.

#12 THE CRANE WIFE by Cj Hauser

A book for anyone whose Life doesn’t look the way they expected it to; for anyone learning to find delight in the unknown; for anyone striving, albeit occasionally unsuccessfully, to create a new type of life story, family, or home to live in.

#13 FILTHY ANIMALS by Brandon Taylor

The author of Real Life, a Booker Prize winner, has written a brand-new, intensely rewarding piece of fiction that paints a collective vision of young adults caught up in desire and violence.

#14 RAINBOW MILK by Paul Mendez

Following 19-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he struggles to understand his sexual and racial identities in the context of his Jehovah’s Witness upbringing.

#15 SISSY, A-COMING-OF-GENDER STORY by Jacob Tobia

A moving, thought-provoking, and humorous memoir of what it’s like to be unsure of your gender as a child, whether you’re (a) a boy, (b) a girl, © anything in between, or (d) all of the above.

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Raeneil Inocencio

“Using Voice and Pen to Transform Society” Comm Arts Student / Content Writer / An Ambitious writer of Empowerment Articles and Literary Works