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The 10 Best Transgender Fiction Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Transgender Fiction Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

So you’ve been looking for an engaging novel that tackles what it means to be trans and the daily challenges of gender dysphoria? We have been too, and it’s not exactly an easy search. Books covering the topics surrounding being transgender are much harder to find than queer novels in general; searching for something to relate to or learn from in the written world is quite difficult for trans people – thus, our interest in the best transgender fiction books!

And that’s very unfortunate, truly. The subject loans itself very well to young adult writing and fiction and takes a massive break from the same old regenerated romance or coming-of-age stories that we are all used to hearing retold in a million different ways.

This raises the question – why don’t more authors explore trans representation and trans characters in their books? And, when cisgender authors break into the gender, why do they either base the book around harmful, outdated stereotypes or make their trans characters tasteless?

Perhaps it is to do with uninformed, biased authors jumping into the topic with nothing in mind other than hitting an often unexplored niche with their writing, or perhaps it is because of genuine prejudice.

Transgender Fiction Books - best Transgender Fiction Books - Best Books for Transgender Fiction - Books on Transgender Fiction

Regardless, it remains true that many ‘mainstream’ novels touching on the subject of being transgender often leave trans readers or allies looking for an engaging transgender narrative with a bad taste in their mouths. 

Thankfully, despite the sparseness and bad apples in the bunch, there are a lot of gems out there to be read if you know how to look for them.

Both fiction and non-fiction categories have more than enough genuine, well-written works on their metaphorical bookshelves to keep you reading and enjoying for a long while. Not only that, but we have to say that the ones that take the subject seriously come out much better than anticipated.

Often influenced very strongly or directly written by trans authors who have real-life experience with the challenges of being trans, these books are touching explorations of what it means to be seen as ‘different’ and how much mettle it takes to overcome the steel bars of gender hierarchy.

So! With that said, let’s get ready to dive into our list of top ten novels on transgender fiction. Ten must-reads, ten loving journeys, and ten brave heroes rising above and truly owning who they are.

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.

Not all things are blest, but the

seeds of all things are blest.

The blessing is in the seed.

This moment, this seed, this wave of the sea, this look, this instant of love.

Years over wars and an imagining of peace. Or the expiation journey

toward peace which is many wishes flaming together,

fierce pure life, the many-living home.

Love that gives us ourselves, in the world known to all

new techniques for the healing of the wound,

and the unknown world. One life, or the faring stars.

From Elegy in Joy by Muriel Rukeyser
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. 

Transgender Fiction Books - best Transgender Fiction Books - Best Books for Transgender Fiction - Books on Transgender Fiction

Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Taking up a landmark position in the scene of trans literature and failing to disappoint with the strength of its tale and text as a whole, Nevada tells the tale of one Maria Griffiths. She’s a trans woman living in Brooklyn, and if things weren’t already difficult enough to make her way through life and earn a wage, she’s recently been fired from her job and dumped by her girlfriend. 

Things seem like they’ve reached a dead end, but she’s determined not to let herself waste away in defeat. Instead, she steals her girlfriend’s car and drives away until she comes upon a small town. It’s far away from where she’d come and even further away from anything else.

There she finds James – a 20-something trans boy who reminds Maria so intensely of herself at that age of confusion and desperation that she feels compelled to remain in that small town. What follows is a friendship deeper than anything she could ever have imagined and a journey of self-discovery that explores the very meaning of what it is to be trans in our world of the present.

One of the most popular pieces of trans fiction of all time, and a nominee for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, Nevada carries its reputation well and presents a story that is both gripping and empowering in its theme and story. Binnie is a master writer and columnist, and it shows in this must-read novel!

Nevada by Imogen Binnie - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Peter Darling by Austin Chant

If there’s something that queer fiction seems to do perfectly over and over again, it’s orchestrating new takes on old, well-known tales. That’s very much the case with Peter Darling – bringing back the Peter Pan of Disney and J. M. Barrie fame with a new twist that will get even the most reluctant readers hooked. Pun intended.

In this retelling of the story, Peter isn’t visited by Wendy, nor does he guide any ‘normal’ girl through Neverland. Instead, Wendy is Peter’s dead name, and Neverland is where he goes to escape the confines of a world where he is expected to act, dress, and marry like a woman in a world where he cannot feel less comfortable. 

After a childhood spent amongst the Lost Boys and the other inhabitants of Neverland – namely Captain Hook, that dastardly source of constant opposition – Peter returns to the real world and neglects to return for ten long years. 

After struggling to make things work and feeling more disconnected from life outside of Neverland than ever, however, Peter finally returns to escape from his childhood in hopes of finding peace once more, only to find that everything has changed for the worse in his absence.

The only person is truly glad to see him is Captain Hook – left alone and desolate without their legendary rivalry and filled with ten years of feelings manifesting themselves in both Peter and the Captain in ways that neither could ever have anticipated.

Peter Darling by Austin Chant - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Frankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson

Throwing in a bit of science fiction glamor with the rest of the stories in this list of the best transgender fiction books, Frankenstein is loud, creative, wacky, and everything that readers need for a good fix of the equally queer and crazy.

Shamelessly playing on the expectations that the human race balances on gender, sex, and even its mortality, Winterson takes a deceptively simple story and turns it into something far more philosophical and intense.

Indeed – the story of Frankenstein is many things, and as such, it follows the lives of many characters in many stages of life. It is the tale of Mary Shelly – the author of the original book Frankenstein, published in 1818 – as she journeys through writing her famous novel, but it is also the story of the romance between a transgender doctor named Ry and a professor named Victor Stein. 

Taking to the fringe of existential topics with a razor-sharp sense of wit and wacky plot details that includes the tech guru Ron Lord’s plans to build a business empire with his new brand of sex dolls and a plot to defy death altogether, Frankenstein is hard to explain but incredibly easy to read. 

Showing off her skills better than ever before in this particular book, Jeanette Winterson is a master writer and a central pillar in queer fiction thanks to her incredibly influential first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which has been recognized as one of the most important pieces of LGBTQ representing literature ever made.

Frankissstein A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Although we all love a wholesome, accepting coming-out story, it has to be said that most of the time, this isn’t the case in the real world, and this is also true when it comes to I Wish You All The Best. 

Coming out as non-binary went the worst way it possibly could have for Ben De Backer, and it led to them being immediately thrown out of the house and practically disowned by their parents.

All would be lost were it not for their estranged sister, Hannah, who allows Ben to move in with her and her husband, Thomas. There’s one problem, however. Ben has never met either pair and moving to a new school and getting used to a new home is almost too much for them.

School is a nightmare, and Ben tries to keep a low profile as much as they can – regretting coming out the last time too strongly to trust the people around them enough to do it again. That is, at least, until they meet the charming Nathan Allan – a fellow student more than happy to give Ben the confidence they so gravely lack.

Soon, things shift from awful to possibly okay, as old lines and doubts are broken, and both discover new things. Love finds its way in even the most difficult situations, and I Wish You All the Best doesn’t fail to impress with its touching writing and heartfelt story.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love’s last name is a sweet piece of irony. He’s never been in love, nor does he see himself falling in love any time soon. After all, he’s got a lot more important things on his mind – dealing with transphobia, racism, and homophobia all at the same time while trying to make his way through senior year without simply exploding from the stress and strain.

After a particularly vicious bout of transphobia in the form of hateful messages from another student, culminating in a collection of Felix’s pre-transition photos being posted publicly to the entire school alongside his deadname, Felix decides that he’s had enough, and it’s time for him to make up a plan for revenge. 

Little does he know, however, that his revenge plan is set to backfire in a chain of unlikely events that will leave him in an even more uncomfortable situation than before – questioning one of the strongest friendships of his life in somewhat of an unwitting love triangle, and going back over the long-buried, painful ground with an old friend named Declan. 

Will all of this boil over into a meltdown of emotion and lies, or will Felix ever get his happily ever after?

Felix Ever After comes straight from the genius mind of Lambda and Stonewall award-winning author Kacen Callender, who fuels the book to the top with personal experience and a level of touching accuracy that makes it one of the best pieces of trans literature ever written.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Another science fiction novel, but nothing so wild and adventurous as our earlier entry Frankenstein, Light From Uncommon Stars, is the tale of a pact with the devil, a quest to steal the souls of violinists, and an unlikely romance that takes both parties by absolute surprise.

Shizuka Satomi has been roaming for a long time now, set with the quest of getting seven violinists to trade their souls to the devil in exchange for her freedom. She has already secured six souls, and nothing will stop her from claiming her seventh, especially when the talents of one Katrina Nguyen catches her ear. 

Katrina is a young trans girl with great skill but not-so-great luck in how her life has turned out so far. She’s on the run from her old life, just as Shizuka is hard on the run after her to complete her task. Or at least she is until she encounters Lan Tran in a donut shop – an ex-starship captain who is hiding from the law while trying to juggle life as a mother.

At first, Shizuka wants nothing to do with her – after all, she has many more important things to do than sit around and develop crushes – but it seems fate has already chosen a path for all three of them: Shizuka, Katrina, and Lan.

Aoki’s writing is addictive, intuitive, and unique, working well to make Light From Uncommon Stars an engaging read unlike any other.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Finding the perfect balance between exploring the sensitive subjects that life as a transgender individual often encapsulates and telling a sweet, romantic story, If I Was Your Girl is an adventure in self-realization, following main character Amanda Hardy through a harrowing journey that we all know too well – being the new kid in school.

She’s determined to make this new school a crucible to allow herself to be the person she’s always wanted to be in both the eyes of others and herself, but the stress of expectation and the weight of the secret she’s keeping isn’t easy to bear.

She’s constantly frightened that it will get out, that her old life will catch up with her, and that everything she tries to build will fall apart around her ears. Her classmates can never know that she used to be named Andrew, that she used to hide her true identity, and the mess that was her coming out story.

If I Was Your Girl approaches the experience of being trans from a multitude of angles, making it a multifaceted reading experience unlike any other. Parents, friends, and even Amanda’s counselor are all major players in defining how Amanda herself sees herself and how confident she feels in day-to-day life.

The well-written arc of the story makes up a valuable learning experience for both trans and cisgender readers, not to mention a cutting-edge story that draws you in from the beginning until the end.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Little Blue Encyclopedia by Hazel Jane Plante

The Little Blue Encyclopedia (For Vivian) is a work of pining, a slice of unrequited love, and a motif for all things that remained unsaid when the time was right, only to be said a thousand times when it was too late.

The voice of the Little Blue Encyclopedia belongs to a queer, trans woman still mourning the loss of her best friend – a straight trans woman named Vivian. The narrator tries to fill the pages of her encyclopedia with text dedicated to Vivian’s favorite TV show but instead ends up writing about Vivian herself.

The person she was. The things the narrator liked about her and the possibilities that could have been in a different world had they been different people.

A classic work of womanly friendship, romance, and everything that the two characters had to work through in life, from sexism to transphobia and segregation, the Little Blue Encyclopedia is sweet and soothing but at the same time cripplingly laden with emotion and harsh retrospect.

The show itself, Little Blue, and the soothing, lulling nature of pop culture as a whole is merely a vessel through which the narrator conveys her real feelings, and this unique way of storytelling leaves readers much to love and even more to discover in time.

Written by dedicated writer, musician, and librarian Hazel Jane Plante, the Little Blue Encyclopedia is just as different from the rest of the books that it rubs shoulders with as it is truly brilliant.

Little Blue Encyclopedia by Hazel Jane Plante - Best Transgender Fiction Books


A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett

Literature as a whole is overwhelmingly focused on cisgender issues and features an overwhelming amount of cisgender characters, and thus it’s always incredibly inspirational and important when a work like this surfaces and gains attention in the mainstream writing world. 

A compilation of eleven short stories about young trans women and their journeys through an often quite unfriendly life, A Safe Girl captures angles and aspects of life that are left unexplored far too often and touches upon the deepest depths of the opposition that transgender individuals face on a day to day basis.

The cast of A Safe Girl to Love is incredibly diverse – spread wide across the divides of sexuality, gender, location, and background, but all united by their strengths in bravery, identity, and perseverance against all opposition. They all tell their stories in different ways, and together they form a touching tale that hits harder and stays in the hearts of readers longer than many conventional-sized novels. 

Written by experienced author Casey Plett, who is responsible for a wide variety of other works in queer fiction and activism, the fictional nature of A Safe Girl to Love does nothing to take away from the very real message it presents.

Its characters feel intensely real, and their tales grip the reader and draw them into a world of struggle not so different from our own. This compilation is one of the brightest stars on this list and will strum the heartstrings of any reader. 

A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Capping off this list with a light, witty take on the young adult trans experience, Stay Gold is a bright and brave read, taking readers through a full spectrum of emotion and engagement. 

The book follows teenage trans boy Pony through a change of schools and a change of mindset in how he wants to present himself, given that he’s just about done with the flood of attention that is coming out as trans saw him receive at his last school. Deciding to hide his identity yet again after coming so far wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s going to have to do. 

Little does he know, however, but his problems have hardly begun. Things only get more complicated when he meets Georgia – a cisgender cheerleader who finds very little fulfillment in the superficial popularity that sport and her so-called friends are affording her. There’s that and the fact that she has set dating off-limits for herself. 

But what will happen when the two start falling hopelessly for one another, and it’s a tight challenge between their promises to themselves and their undeniable romantic pull to be with one another?

Perfect for fans of ‘Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ or Becky Albertalli’s other works, which share this book’s caring but deep perspective on queer issues and how to resolve them, Stay Gold hits all of the high points and refuses to come down. If you’re interested in trans fiction at all, Stay Gold is a must-read.

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith - Best Transgender Fiction Books

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