8 of the Best Queer YA Novels of 2018

2018 has been an incredible year in terms of new releases featuring queer characters! I say this every year, but I honestly think there have been more new books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters during 2018 than any year previously. It’s amazing! More queer novels, please!

I’m just so happy that this year, the majority of the books I’ve read have included explicitly queer characters, if these characters aren’t the protagonist. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to pick off more than a handful of these books off the shelves at stores – and look where we are now! My glittery rainbow soul is singing.

I’m already looking forward to all the glorious queer releases of 2019, but before then, I’d like to share my top 8 queer reads of 2018! I utterly adored all of these and I could have put 100 more on this list, but I had to narrow it down to my absolute favourites. I hope you loved these ones too!

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Summer Bird Blue

I really should have been more prepared going into Summer Bird Blue, because I was NOT prepared for all those feels. I knew it was going to be a book about loss, and that it would explore the protagonist’s asexuality, but I didn’t know just how heartbreaking it was going to be. I really should have expected it to rip out my heart like Akemi Dawn Bowman did with Starfish to me. I also loved how the protagonist’s sexuality wasn’t the main focus of the story and how she did talk about it, but it was in no way a defining characteristic. It was just exceptionally well-written and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the feels. What a masterpiece.


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I Was Born for This

Everyone knows I’m Alice Oseman trash, so of course I was desperate to get my hands on her latest release ever since it was announced—and it definitely didn’t disappoint! With a diverse cast of characters, most of whom are queer, I Was Born for This was like a hug in a book. This novel is about fame and fandoms and music and religion, but at the core of that is a story about the yearning to belong and to be who you are completely. This book just stole my heart.


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What if It’s Us

When two of your favourite authors write a book together, you know it’s one you have to get your hands on ASAP! What if it’s Us is a book about two queer boys, coffee, and a series of failed dates set across the New York City backdrop. And it was just perfect! I saw so much of myself in What if it’s Us, especially in the characters’ obsession with musicals, and I just utterly adored it. I couldn’t have wished for a better book from Becky and Adam. What a treat!


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Skylarks

Skylarks is another book I want to see get more love, because it was such an incredible read! What I loved most about it was that I wasn’t expecting it to have a queer romance—and for it to be set in a library! It was such a cute read, but it also dealt with deeper issues like those of poverty and privilege. And how gorgeous is that cover! Trust me when I say this book is just as magnificent.


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Let’s Talk About Love

When I heard about Let’s Talk About Love in 2017—the first book I’d ever encountered with a biromantic asexual protagonist—I knew it was one I was going to connect with instantly. I’d read books with bisexual characters, and books with asexual characters, but this was the first time I saw the entirety of my sexuality represented in a book. And it was just incredible! Let’s Talk About Love is such an adorable, fluffy book set in college that had me swooning the entire time.


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Leah on the Offbeat

This is the book everyone had been waiting for after reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—the book where Leah finally gets her bisexual justice! And it was the perfect timing for this one to be let loose into the world, what with the release of Love, Simon earlier in the year. Even though Leah wasn’t my favourite in Simon, I finally got to know more about her and see her live her best bi life. More Simon-verse stuff, please!


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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy

After reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, Felicity Montague quickly became one of my favourite female characters of all time. I mean, she’s a badass feminist who’s also an aspiring doctor, who’s also kind of a pirate? That’s my dream girl right there. And The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy definitely didn’t disappoint. I just had a smile on my face the entire time while reading it, and I can’t wait to see what Mackenzi Lee writes next.


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Girl Made of Stars

Wow. It’s been months since I’ve read this novel, but I still can’t stop thinking about it. Girl Made of Stars is a book about sexual assault and friendship, and it’s one that will stay with you long after the final page. It’s also really heart-wrenching and hard-hitting. This isn’t an easy read, but it’s a necessary one. Mara’s sexuality isn’t the main focus of this book either, and that’s another thing I really liked about it. More queer protagonists in books that aren’t just about exploring one’s sexuality, please!

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What are some of your favourite queer YA novels of 2018? Have you read any on my list? Which upcoming releases starring queer protagonists are you looking forward to reading? I’d love to know!

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7 thoughts on “8 of the Best Queer YA Novels of 2018

  1. Awesome post! When I picked up What if It’s Us, I couldn’t put it down! Definitely one of my favorite reads of this year. I’d never heard of Skylarks before, but now I’m definitely adding it to my TBR. Hopefully I can pick up A Lady’s Guide and Let’s Talk About Love in the next few months – I’ve been wanting to read them forever!

  2. Fab list, have to confess I’ve only read What If It’s Us (loved it) and Leah on the Offbeat (thought it was ok) but Lady’s Guide is on my TBR and I will definitely be adding the others.

    One of my faves this year (other than What If It’s Us) has to be Jack of Hearts and Other Parts, it’s a little bit dark and disturbing (there’s some stalking/blackmail) but it’s brutally honest and so well written.

  3. Wow I’ve read and loved almost everything on this list, and the ones I haven’t I definitely need to! How did I not know that Summer Bird Blue is about an ace character?? This is a truly wonderful list – I especially loved Lady’s Guide and Leah on the Offbeat and I Was Born For This 😍

  4. Man, it’s a shame I’m not a fan of contemporary or this would be an excellent rec list. I really need to read Lady’s Guide though!

    My personal fave queer YA books of the year are Reign of the Fallen and Ruin of Stars. I desperately need The Brilliant Death too. I need more genderfluid characters like in TBD and RoS.

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