When I came out last year, I was doing anything I could to immerse myself in queer culture. I’d spent so much of my life identifying as a straight person and was sick of seeing heteronormative ideals of love in every single form of media I consumed. And as a steamy novel enthusiast, the first order of business was finding queer romance novels. Although there are definitely more mainstream straight romance stories out there, there is LGBTQ+ representation all throughout the romance genre if you know where to look for it.
These queer romance books give you a look into LGBTQ+ love, mostly through the eyes of queer-identifying authors themselves. Whether you’re hoping to read more stories about couples you identify with or just want a different perspective in your romance novels, these stories contain lesbian, gay, transgender, asexual, bisexual, and queer representation through and through.
Two loners, Aristotle and Dante, establish an unlikely friendship after meeting at a swimming pool, but their friendship might turn into something more as they learn more about each other and themselves.
In this queer Anastasia retelling, Makeda Hicks loses her job and her girlfriend all at once, feeling a little annoyed when she's forced to revisit her grandmother's infamous summer fling with a runaway prince. When Beznaria Chetchevaliere is tasked with investigating the prince's whereabouts, Makeda is smitten, and the two embark on a royal adventure. The book includes some of the best romance tropes like one-bed scenarios and fake dating.
After getting dumped and being totally over relationships, Olivia attends the Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her BFF. There, she meets Toni, who's about to move to college while dealing with the death of her father. By the end of the festival, Olivia and Toni realize they need each other, regardless of the reasons they decided to attend the festival in the first place.
When August moves to New York, she has no interest in falling in love (or really anything other than getting her college degree) until she meets Jane on the Q. She discovers Jane is actually from the '70s and is stuck in 2020. The two embark on a journey to figure out what happened, establishing a friendship that turns into something more along the way.
Jamie and Ryan were best friends until a bet turned into a one-night fling four years ago. When their college hockey teams play each other in a tournament, it only takes one look to make them wonder what could have happened. They sign up to coach the camp they went to all those years ago, and of course, shenanigans ensue.
Georgia's never fallen in love, never been kissed, and never even had a crush—but she's sure there's a romance out there for her. When she goes to college, she begins to question why love is so easy for everyone except her and starts learning more about asexuality and aromance. Is she meant to be loveless or is there more to her story?
Alex and Henry hate each other, but what else would you expect from the son of the President of the United States and the Prince of England? When they're forced to spend a little time together for PR, they realize they might actually have more in common than they thought. Expect lots of steam and some of the funniest one-liners in this book.
After being cyberbullied by a classmate, Felix—Black, queer, and transgender—embarks on a scheme to catfish the assailant, ultimately landing in a love triangle. This story gives an honest, incredible look at what it means to find yourself and fall in love as a queer teen.
After her girlfriend leaves her when she finds out Alice is asexual, Alice plans a summer of marathoning her favorite Netflix shows and working at her local library—with absolutely no love life. But then she meets Takumi, and her summer might just include a little romance after all.
After his traditional Latinx family has trouble accepting Yadriel's gender identity, he'll do anything to prove he's a real man, including summoning the ghost of his murdered cousin and setting him free. The ritual goes wrong, and he actually summons the ghost of the high school bad boy—and he can't get rid of him.
Although this isn't technically a romance, it involves one of the most beautiful queer romances we've ever read that actually feels realistic. The Vignes twins embark on totally different journeys: One lives with her Black daughter in the same town they once tried to escape, and the other is white-passing and lives with her white family. No matter how many miles separate them, their lives are inexplicably intertwined.