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The 10 Best Lesbian Young Adult Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Lesbian Young Adult Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

We’ve spoken about what makes young adult novels special before, but if there’s a possible cherry on the cake that is the already sweet genre, it’s adding lesbian romance to the mix. Because representation is always important, which is why these best lesbian young adult books are so important

There’s something about a good sapphic novel that unlocks the pining teen in all of us and an element to the wholesome air of writing that makes each page a deeper dive into tender immersion. Binge reading is a go!

It’s not hard to understand why romance novels have such a good effect on us. After all, living out the sweet and sour parts of life in interesting, imaginative packages is why fiction writing exists in the first place and is why humans have created stories about themselves and entirely invented people since the dawn of time!

There’s nothing quite like being able to relive what it is like to have a first kiss or first crush over and over again, nor anything akin to watching on as your favorite character powers on through heartbreak after heartbreak to find the perfect match for themselves despite the odds. 

Lesbian Young Adult Books - best Lesbian Young Adult - Best Books for Lesbian Young Adult - Books on Lesbian Young Adult

The very best romance novels are ones built with love, which is exactly what queer romance novels excel in.

A budding lesbian romance might be something normal for the characters to experience, or it might remind us and offer a gripping narrative of intrigue as the characters are forced to work their way through the challenges presented by a judgmental world that threatens to pull them apart. 

Alas! Even the most beloved of characters cannot have a perfect ending without a few bumps in the middle. We can all agree that the ‘happily ever after’ at the end wouldn’t be half as satisfying without a little challenge – be the conflict due to the nature of the relationship itself or the opposition presented by a hostile environment. 

But enough of that! Let’s get our comfortable spot ready, set up the fire (if it’s winter where you live!) and settle into a good read. Browse on, if you will, for our top ten best lesbian young adult books – and if you are still not satisfied, we have a curated selection of LGBT books for teens and LGBT YA books!

One Sister have I in our house –

And one a hedge away.

There’s only one recorded,

But both belong to me.

One came the way that I came –         

And wore my past year’s gown –

The other as a bird her nest,

Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did –

It was a different tune –     

Herself to her a Music

As Bumble-bee of June.

Today is far from Childhood –

But up and down the hills

I held her hand the tighter –         

Which shortened all the miles –

And still her hum 

The years among,

Deceives the Butterfly;

Still in her Eye 

The Violets lie

Mouldered this many May.         

I spilt the dew –

But took the morn, –

I chose this single star

From out the wide night’s numbers –

Sue – forevermore!

Sue – Forevermore by Emily Dickinson
Queer Literature

Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

Contrary to the impression that its title may give, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is a book about secrets. Big and small, gentle and potentially destructive. Our main character Sana Kiyo keeps many of them, both from herself and the people around her.

Her feelings about moving to California, how she feels amongst her friend group and their habits of excluding her, and – perhaps most dramatic of all – about her father’s possible affair. 

Working through school and adjusting to a new home, Sana tries to do her best to keep herself together and remain the person that the new world she’s been introduced to while moving seems to want her to be. But, no matter how hard she tries to push it down, there is one secret – different from all the others – that continues to burn her up from the inside.

The secret about how she might have a crush on her very best friend.

A wonderful work of detailed young adult fiction, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is a special piece of writing in various equally touching ways.

Not only does it tell the story of a heartfelt romance and a journey from a state of lying to oneself to being entirely honest with who you are and with the world around you, but it also offers a genuine perspective of trying to fit in and accommodating to different styles of life as an Asian American.

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The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Nishat has had a crush on the new girl Flávia since she arrived in school, but when the class is assigned their latest project – starting a business – and Flávia decides to rival Nishat’s henna enterprise with one of her own, things get a little spicier than she had been expecting – and not in a romantic way.

The battle lines are drawn, and the Henna Wars are now afoot. Who will the victor be, and what will become of these two once cupid-shot girls and their sudden rivalry? 

Nishat doesn’t just have to fight a business war, however. She is also struggling with her position in her family, her self-confidence, and trying to do her best to stand up for what is right while not making her life more difficult than it already is.

She recently came out to her family, and even though her sunny younger sister Priti is perfectly acceptable, the same cannot be said for her parents, who reacted to the discovery negatively and with some scorn.

The first two books in this list are true aces of representation and non-conventional angles on the lesbian young adult genre, with Nishat’s family’s Muslim beliefs playing a large part in the arc of The Henna War’s story. The book is culturally rich and in touch with its world.

This allows for an intriguing, personal narrative on working through the tense ground between religion and sexuality and puts us closer in touch with Nishat and her complicated situation than ever before.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar - Best Lesbian Young Adult Books

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Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Sometimes true love comes both when it’s less expected and when it is least wanted. Romance can be a curse at the same time as a blessing, and in Her Name in the Sky, our seventeen-year-old protagonist Hannah couldn’t agree with this more. 

After all, she didn’t ask for this. She was hoping for an entirely different kind of year, spent bouncing between parties, going out with her friends, and relaxing on the beach.

What she wasn’t hoping for, however, was to fall in love with her best friend Baker, just as her friend Clay summons the courage to ask Baker to be his girlfriend. Hannah’s timing really couldn’t be any better, and she knows from the start that she has gotten into a complicated situation.

As time passes, and she watches the relationships of everyone around her develop except the ones that she cares about, no matter how hard Hannah tries, struggles, and fights, she cannot continue to lie to herself.

Baker sees the world the same way that she does, likes all the same things that she does, and Hannah already knows that there might be a possibility that Baker could see her the same way. But is it worth the risk of asking? 

She must decide, and soon.

Her Name in the Sky is a coming-of-age novel unlike any other and brings itself together as a touching story about finding yourself and deciding to take chances rather than settle into discomfort and dissatisfaction.

Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen - Best Lesbian Young Adult Books

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Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

Although this is a list of written best lesbian young adults books, Mooncake’s partial status as a descriptive graphic novel does nothing to take away how worthy it is of being included amongst its peers. The magical, tender tale that the Walker tells here, accompanied by the soft drawing style of the book’s artist Wendy Xu, is the perfect recipe for a touching journey.

A bookshop assistant and talented witch-in-the-making, Nova takes up the mantle of investigation enthusiast in her spare time – scouting her tiny New England town for every supernatural fragment out of the ordinary.

Nova enjoys her studies and hobby to a tee, and even with her detective excursions, things in her life are fairly regular. Regular, at least, when compared to the lives of other teen witches.

However, that is all soon to change when Nova ventures deep into the woods in response to reports of a white wolf, only to come across the surprise of her life.

There is a wolf, alright, but just like Nova isn’t a normal girl, nor is this particular wolf any regular canine. It’s Nova’s childhood crush Tam – a werewolf with no home to their name and a vast menagerie of evil forces hot upon their tail.

Mooncakes is a break and an indulgence at the same time – overwhelming the reader with softness, tender scenes, and emotions while giving them an escape from the intermitted element of harshness that most romance novels draw their conflict from. 

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker - Best Lesbian Young Adult Books

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The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

It took a surprisingly long time to get to our first book featuring enemies-to-lovers on this list – a trope that is quite commonly associated with lesbian fiction across social media and in public culture – but here were are now. 

The Dark Tide is a fantasy work of gripping detail, focusing upon the evil Witch Queen and the tribute of a human life that must be made to her every year to stop the entire city from sinking into the sea. Or, at least, that’s what everyone believes will happen.

This year’s sacrifice? As far as Lina Kirk is concerned, she’s certain it will be her brother. It’s a race against the clock to unravel the twine of mystery that surrounds the island and the ceremony that keeps it above the waves. Lina is close and needs to find the last pieces of the puzzle. 

But the Witch Queen – Eva – is nothing as Lina expected, and after their first meeting, everything that she once thought she knew about herself and the world she lived her entire life in begins to fall apart. 

Carrying a well-crafted atmosphere that rivals even the most expansive of fantasy novels, The Dark Tide takes the reader on a journey of polarizing emotion and daring challenge, bringing them to feel the same emotions as Lina does at all the right moments. A shoo-in for this list and a definite recommendation, The Dark Tide is not a tale to be easily forgotten.

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The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

Written by ‘The Last 8’ author Laura Pohl and a worldwide phenomenon turned New York Times best-seller after its 2021 publication, The Grimrose Girls is a work of mystery, and its tale a deep-diving exploration of love, death, and the most hidden of things. 

The three friends, Ella, Rory, and Yuki, used to be four. That was until Ariane died in what the police ruled as a suicide. But something isn’t right. Their school, the Grimrose Académie, is a place of many shadows, and though they don’t know exactly what, the three survivors are more than sure that something lurks in the building’s old halls.

They begin to investigate, and soon enough, they find more than they could have ever expected. The mystery goes so much deeper than just Ariane. She wasn’t the first girl to die in the school, and it was not an accident. 

Now it’s solely up to Ella, Rory, and Yuki to work out exactly what is going on at the Grimrose Académie and how they can stop it before more innocent lives are put in danger. They and their new fourth member Nani are more closely involved in this than they’d like, and without taking things into their own hands, it is almost certain that they will follow in Ariane’s footsteps, one by one.

A colorful weave of all the fairytales you’ve ever read, The Grimrose Girls is both intriguingly dark and deeply touching at the same time. This a sterling recommendation.

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She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Losing never feels good, but for Scottie, it’s worse than that. Much worse. The loss she took was in an incredibly important basketball game, and the victor? Her ex-girlfriend. Just when she thought her day couldn’t get any worse, however, Scottie manages to get into a car accident with none other than the enigmatic, mean, and unbelievably beautiful Irene Abraham. What luck.

Now the two girls – school enemies from the very start and incredibly contrasting people – are forced to carpool together until their cars are patched up, leading to much tension and conflict. But Scottie is determined not to let this bring her down.

An opportunity presents itself, a bargain is struck, and a revenge plan is hatched. It’s time for Scottie to get back at her ex, and in the best way possible – by posing up as the girlfriend of the perfect girl at school, who happens to be Irene.

But what happens when the deal gets just a little too complicated for either of their tastes and the situation starts to evolve way faster than Scottie had planned, even in her wildest dreams? 

She doesn’t have the slightest idea.

Building upon her already top-notch hit work Late to the Party, Kelly Quinden hits yet another ball out of the park with She Drives Me Crazy, taking things much further than the pun-laden title and the deceptively simple introduction (bet that you can’t unsee the pun now). This book is worth giving a shot at any day!

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen - Best Lesbian Young Adult Books

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The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

As is let on by the book’s the somewhat sarcastic title, The Falling in Love Montage’s Saoirse hates romance stereotypes – especially when it comes to people who watch cutesy films and expect things to work the same way regarding real-life relationships. It doesn’t work like that.

There is no ‘the one’, no ‘true love’, and there is only a mess of people trying to make things work the best they can without getting at each other’s throats.

At least that’s how she feels until she meets a girl at a party. A girl who feels exactly the opposite about romance, a girl with a blue freckle, and a girl who is fully loaded to launch a tornado of chaos into Saoirse’s world and the beliefs she thought she would cling to for the rest of her life. 

Suddenly nothing makes the same amount of sense it did before, and Saorise is swept up into situation after situation that she can’t control without time to get her head straight. Is this something that will stay within the summer, or have her expectations of what life and romance are like been broken altogether?

With the polished, attentive nature of The Falling in Love Montage taken into account, it’s somewhat surprising to learn that it is Ciara Smyth’s debut novel. Nevertheless, this is a top-notch start out in the genre and carries its weight superbly well! Give it a read if you know what’s good for you!

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Emi Price thinks that watching over her brother’s apartment will be easy. After all, why should it be hard? She has the entire city of Los Angeles and Hollywood, job opportunities galore, and a best friend to share her time with while enjoying her first free summer after graduating. 

Or at least it would be easy if her brother hadn’t left her with one condition before leaving – that something happens while he is gone. Something that she’s needed for a long time. She needs to find love.

Despite her brother’s request, however, not everything in Everything Leads to You is about Emi’s journey to finding romance.

Everything Leads to You is a gripping mystery in disguise – taking talented production designer Emi and her best friend Charlotte down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and intrigue that would make even the boldest paparazzi member blush until they stumble upon revelation after revelation.

Secrets, years-long lies, and something else that neither of them expected to find anywhere within the city’s borders.

For Emi, that is Eva – an intern on a nearby movie set, and exactly what Emi has been looking for as long as she can remember.

Decorated with several extremely popular other works in her past, Nina LaCour is a bestselling author and master storyteller, taking the tale of Everything Leads to You by the horns and turning it into a stomach-clenching, heartwarming adventure that skillfully changes genre between romance and mystery every two pages. 

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Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Another colorful addition to the fantasy side of this best lesbian young adults book list, Ruinsong is a classic story of struggle interwoven with love. Set in a dark fantasy world where even the most beautiful powers – singing magic into existence with the voices of talented magicians – have been warped and corrupted into evil servants.

Cadence is a strong mage with a noble heart, but her position as an underling of the kingdom’s evil queen has put her in positions lower than she’d ever imagined herself. Tasked with torturing those who were the nobles of the land she grew up in, she is driven to her breaking point and beyond, and everything good about the world seems lost to an all-consuming dark void.

That is until someone from her past returns – someone unexpected, someone brave, and someone bringing change. A noblewoman named Remi, in league with the smoldering rebellion, set on usurping the evil queen. Remi’s arrival back in Cadence’s life makes everything different. She sees a glimpse of the world that once was and the feelings that she once felt. 

But not everything comes for free. Cadence must make a series of terrible decisions, and how she sways will determine the fate of not only herself and her budding love but the entire world she knows.

Ember’s inventive, gripping writing style makes for an intense, emotional read, and those who take Ruinsong up off the shelf are sure to be reluctant to put it down!

Ruinsong by Julia Ember - Best Lesbian Young Adult Books

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