In advance of Pride Month in June, we asked Savannah Brown, debut YA author of The Truth About Keeping Secrets, a beautifully written and poignant look at grief, friendship and sexuality, to pick her top 10 LGBTQ+ YA romances. It’s a fantastic list – enjoy!
- I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson – Twins Noah and Jude dually recount this story of loss and healing – Noah’s surreal, image-heavy narration makes his romance with neighbor Brian all the more visceral. This is about art, and it reads like it is – every word feels a bit like a brushstroke in a grand painting.
- Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden – Required reading for anyone interested in queer lit. Published in 1982 (almost forty years ago!) to book-burning levels of controversy, this groundbreaking story of two girls experiencing the newness of first love while also battling discrimination still feels relevant today.
- Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Aristotle and Dante meet in El Paso, Texas in the eighties – and the rest is a singing, big-hearted exploration of a relationship that feels as real as it is warm, full of lyrical prose that will make you wish you could read it again for the first time.
- Simon Vs. the Homosapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli – You know this one already. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and with a reading experience that sort of feels like drinking a hot cup of tea, it’s easy to see why this one has captured so many hearts.
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth – When Cameron’s Post parents die in a crash, she first feels relief – relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she’d been kissing a girl. The sheer electricity of the romance will stay with you, and it’sma testament to the gorgeous writing that even if you’ve never been to rural Montana, you’ll feel desperately nostalgic for it.
- Heartstopper by Alice Oseman – Fluffy, light-hearted goodness from one of the best writers of realistic teenage relationships. Nick and Charlie’s relationship is endlessly charming and wholesome – honestly, this is hard not to like.
- Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman – Not technically YA, but a coming of age story about an intense first love set on the Italian Riviera that YA readers will enjoy. With beautiful, intellectual prose, it’s the most accurate and heart-jerking portrayal of all-encompassing infatuation I’ve read.
- We Are Okay by Nina LaCour – This one’s not exactly a love story, but as one of my favorite YAs of all time, the list felt empty without. Character driven and chillingly atmospheric, WE ARE OKAY is an unflinching look at grief, depression and loneliness through subtle interactions of two best friends – one in love, the other not.
- Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – In this fantasy, eight girls are chosen for their beauty to serve the king. The themes here are dark, dealing with sexual abuse and its aftermath – but the light is the central romance between Lei and Wren which returns their autonomy in a world that seeks to take it.
- They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – I love speculative fiction, and the concept of this one ticks all my boxes – Strangers Mateo and Rufus are both told via the mortality-predicter institution called Death-Cast that they both only have 24 hours to live, so they meet up to see out their last day together. Although death looms throughout, this existential tearjerker is focused more on the living than the dying.
The Truth About Keeping Secrets, by Savannah Brown, published by Penguin Random House is out now.