Themed Lists

Queer Coming-of-Age Stories // Recommendations

I love my local library.

For one, books. But also the fact that I live so near to the library has helped my love of reading fester. During past summers especially, I would spent the whole day there. Smelling books, reading them, and finding new (and admittedly strange) positions to sit in those really big chairs. The library is like a big bookish hug and I always love how the books welcome me with open arms (the people on the other hand… let’s just say I’ve been booted because I “look too young to be here without an adult”) (which EXCUSE ME I’m a full fledged teenager???? not 8????) (but whatever, that’s not the point).

Anyway… I’m so excited to going on a little library adventure of my own tomorrow. It will be the first time I’ve been to the library in such a long time and I am so happy that it is safe enough to go back. One of my friends actually invited me to go with her (hiiii if you’re reading this lol) and I can’t wait. You better believe I will be looking zazzy and living my own main character coming-of-age movie moment.

Look at that, my rambling intro actually made it to the point! Since I’m channeling this main character movie moment magic, I decided to share some queer coming-of-age recommendations! I shared quite a few of these in an Instagram infographic the other day, but I’ve come prepared with even more recommendations as well as further reasoning (in case the bullet points weren’t enough to convince you the first time!

With that, let’s hop right in.

The title of hyena on helium level humor is a rare title, indeed. But Not My Problem? Instant award winner. Featuring a lesbian romance, new friendships, and a whole lot of schemes to fix other people’s problems, Not My Problem is a charming coming of age story you won’t want to miss.

Sometimes, personal space is a good thing. Turns out, its basically non-existent when your rival (and ex-crush) is coming to spent spring break at your house. Featuring forced proximity, body positivity, and a writing style that will keep you flipping the page for more, Here the Whole Time is one to keep on your radar.

“Maybe lonely creatures can hear it in other lonely creatures. The thing in their voice that says, I am like you.”

Honey Girl is NOT a rom-com, despite what the romcom-esque cover and synopsis tell you. Instead, it is a beautifully written coming of age and mental health story that will leave you feeling ~feelings~

May I present you with a bulleted (and very compelling) list:

  • Musicals
  • Using your voice
  • found family

NOTE: Please check the trigger warnings in this book (if you need them, I’m more than happy to share)

I actually talked about this one a bit in my love triangle ramble jamble (or discussion post, whatever you want to call it), but I did really enjoy! Minor Grease vibes, major summer vibes, and a questioning mc, Cool For the Summer is the perfect read to kick back with a jug of iced tea and oversized sunglasses.

I don’t know if its just a me thing, but I can remember exactly where I was when I read all my favourite books. For example, I was at my grandparent’s house while reading You Should See Me In a Crown. Don’t ask my why, but that is just one of the things that sticky tacked into my mind.

Anywayyy You Should See Me In A Crown is an absolute treat for anyone looking for a prom-centric story featuring an amazing main character that you can’t help but root for.

Prom-tastic story take two. I will admit, I was a bit hesitant with the first part of this book. But as it went on I couldn’t help but love the cheesiness, the friendship moments, and the fab character development!

Late to the Party is an ode to teendom. I feel like I always reccomend this book that way, but truly, that is my favourite way to describe it. As someone who is offically peak young adult age, I make this statement with the utmost confidence.

And that, my friends, concludes the part of the list I’ve read! I’m also going to include a segment about books that fit the queer coming-of-age story bill from my TBR. I haven’t read any of these yet, so I’m just going with a description from Goodreads. If you have read them, I’d love to hear what you thought.

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Frances has been a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.

So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared…

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. 

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? 

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home? 

NOTE: Please check the trigger warnings in this book (if you need them, I’m more than happy to share)

Did you know you can marry yourself? How strange / brilliant is that?

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe thinks falling in love is vile and degrading, and vows never to do it. Then, due to circumstances not entirely in her control, she finds herself volunteering at a local thrift shop. There she meets Emma . . . who might unwittingly upend her whole theory on life.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Okey doke. And that ends the list of queer coming-of-age stories I’ve collected! Hope sharing some of my favourites added some books to your TBR (mwa ha ha) because the creation of this list has most certainly expanded mine. Yes, the stack is still taller than me. No, I’m not happy about it.

Do you see any of your favourites on this list?? Any you want to read? Do you recommend any other queer coming-of-age stories??

20 thoughts on “Queer Coming-of-Age Stories // Recommendations

  1. Late to the party is the absolute best!! I might not have related to all the situations the characters went through (still not a party goer haha) but it still gives me such a nice feeling reading it. And I really want to read you should see me in a crown!! Lovely post💕

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  2. This is a great list, I loved Last Night at The Telegraph Club and Clap When You Land! I’m interested in reading Not My Problem, so I’m really glad you would recommend it!

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    1. ahh thank you so much Siena! I’m looking forward to reading both of them!! yess it is such a joy to read, you can’t help but fall in love with the snarky writing and admittedly messy but amazing characters!! hope you’ll enjoy it if you do end up picking it up!! happy reading : )

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  3. Thank you for all the recs!! I still really need to get around to reading Honey Girl. (also, it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only person who’s been told at the library I’m too young to be there alone despite being a teenager)

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  4. Awesome list! I’ve read many of these and they’re all great books! Haha, I read You Should See Me In a Crown last month and I was in the emergency room when I started reading it….because of my injured elbow. Radio Silence and Clap When you Land are also amazing books and I hope that you read them soon!

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      1. Yep, I’ll probably remember that for a long time, ha. Ooooh, you’re so lucky that it’s a summer reading book! I’m pretty sure that the Poet X was a summer reading book for me, last year. But anyways, it’s a great book so I hope you enjoy it!

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