LGBTQ+ authors are coming out as leading voices
in the literary world. From strong lesbian heroines to
tender gay romances to coming-of-age tales of trans
kids, their listens are strikingly diverse—as you’ll
discover from this sampling.
By Tirzah Price
01. Charlie Jane Anders
Charlie Jane Anders, editor-in-chief of the sci-fi and fantasy news site io9.com, is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, a novel about two childhood friends who find themselves drawn back together years after parting ways in high school to save the world from ripping apart. Anders’s newest book, The City in the Middle of the Night, is about a planet half in day, half in night, and a reluctant heroine who has been cast out into the night. Anders has also written Six Months, Three Days, a novella about two people who can see the future, but in very different ways.
02. Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue may be best known for her blockbuster novel-turned-film Room, but she’s been writing LGBTQ fiction for decades. Her novels explore sexuality and queer culture in both historical and contemporary settings. Landing is about two women who fall in love across continents. Frog Music is a mystery featuring two very unconventional women in 1870s San Francisco. Kissing the Witch is a collection of fractured fairy tales with many queer influences. Donoghue’s latest books, written for kids, are The Lotterys Plus One and The Lotterys More or Less, about two dads and two moms raising their blended family in a Victorian house in Toronto.
03. Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour is the Printz Award-winning author of We Are Okay, a novel about a college freshman reconnecting with her childhood best friend for the first time since a devastating loss. Her earlier novels include Everything Leads to You, a deeply romantic story about a set designer who finds a letter in a Hollywood auction that leads her to unexpected love, and You Know Me Well, coauthored by David Levithan, about two teenagers who experience a life-changing Pride Week in San Francisco.
04. Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera’s debut novel was More Happy Than Not, a story of a Bronx teen who discovers he has the opportunity to alter his memory in order to be happy, but it may mean cutting out the boy he loves. In History Is All You Left Me, Griffin is mourning the tragic death of his first love, Theo, when he finds comfort where he least expects it—with Theo’s last boyfriend. They Both Die at the End is about the unlikely connection two young men make when an app informs them that they're both scheduled to die later that day. Silvera’s latest novel, written with Becky Albertalli, is What If It's Us, a hopeful love story about two guys who can’t stop running into each other.
05. Kristen Lepionka
Kristen Lepionka is one of the most promising new voices in crime fiction. Her debut novel, The Last Place You Look, introduces readers to bisexual private detective Roxane Weary, who is haunted by her dad’s recent death and an unhealthy ex-girlfriend when she takes on an impossible case for the paycheck—only to find there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye. The follow-up, What You Want to See, starts as a simple case investigating a spouse who appears to be having an affair, and then turns into a murder investigation. Look for the third book in the series, The Stories You Tell, later in 2019.
06. Malinda Lo
Malinda Lo has written across genres, but her brand is queer girls. Her debut novel, Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, is narrated by the author. The follow-up, Huntress, a prequel set in the same world, is about two girls who embark on an epic journey to break the curse on their country. Lo’s most recent release is A Line in the Dark, a foreboding mystery set around an exclusive prep school that explores class, race, and just how far we’re willing to go for those we love.
07. Alexander Chee
Alexander Chee’s debut novel Edinburgh is about Fee, a Korean American boy who is haunted by abuse and its consequences long after it ends. His novel The Queen of the Night is a historical tale of a famous soprano who is dogged by her secret past and must continually transform herself to outrun it. Chee’s latest book, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, is an acclaimed series of essays about art, writing, and formative experiences in Chee’s life.
08. Meredith Russo
Meredith Russo is one of the few openly transgender YA authors. Her debut novel, If I Was Your Girl, was a Stonewall Book Award winner and a Walter Dean Myers Honor recipient. It follows Amanda Hardy, who tries to escape her past by starting over in her dad’s new hometown. But when she falls for Grant, secrets become harder to keep. Russo’s second novel, Birthday, follows the friendship and secrets of two teens across six years of shared birthdays.
09. Nicole Dennis-Benn
Nicole Dennis-Benn writes powerfully of the experience of being queer in Jamaica. She made news in 2012 for what the media hailed as Jamaica’s first same-sex wedding and has since written two amazing novels about queer Jamaican women. Here Comes the Sun is about two sisters, Margot and Thandi, who are trying to elevate themselves from poverty. Margot uses her sexuality to get what she needs from rich men, hiding her relationship with another woman. Dennis-Benn’s second novel, Patsy, forthcoming in June 2019, is about a woman who leaves Jamaica to join her female lover in New York City as an undocumented immigrant.
10. Alex London
Alex London writes books for young adults as well as books for children under the name C. Alexander London. His kids’ books include The Wild Ones, an adventure about a young raccoon in search of a new home, and We Are Not Eaten by Yaks, about twins who go on a wild adventure to find their missing mother. For teens, he’s written Proxy, a dystopian story about a boy whose punishments are meted out to a proxy—until his proxy is sentenced to death and they both escape. His latest is Black Wings Beating, the first in the Skybound Saga, set in a fantasy world where birds of prey are revered. Protagonist Brysen must capture the most dangerous bird known to man in order to save the boy he loves and clear his debt.
for Book Riot since 2016, where she works as a contributing editor.
Best Sellers of All Time: Fiction
Getting caught up in a mystery or tangled family drama; laughing with, rooting for, or crying over people who don’t exist… That’s what great fiction authors have the power to make us do, and why we keep listening. Here are 10 masters.