I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: now is a fantastic time to be a young reader. There are so many more diverse options out there for readers than ever before. It’s so much easier to find oneself in any given book or setting. You no longer have to read about people like you as just side characters; if you search long enough, you’ll find them to be the main focus.
As someone who has always been a fan of romcoms, I’m super excited that this sub-genre is also uplifting queer stories. Let’s be honest: being a teenager and dealing with hormones is complex enough. When you add in experiencing attraction, it brings it to a new level. And, when the attraction you’re feeling deviates from what society is trying to label the “right” way, it makes it even more so complex.
So, to be able to see this type of love showcased for all the young people out there? It warms my heart more than I can say. Because everyone deserves to see themselves in the stories they read.
However, there are closed-minded people working to ban books that uplift this type of love. Why? Well, simply put, they’re bigots, and you can’t change my mind. I’ll get very Southern for a minute and say that really burns my biscuits. Love is love, and heterosexuality is not the default setting.
And, because of that, I feel it is even more important to boost these types of books up. The youth that are in this demographic need people to advocate for them and let them know that they, and their romantic relationships, are fine the way they are.
Here are a few of the good, queer, YA romcoms out there for your reading enjoyment.
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
Lou is determined to make this summer the best ever, despite all the obstacles laid out before her. What obstacles, you say? Well, she is going to be the dancing hot dog at her summer job at Magic Castle Playland. Her current crush has a girlfriend that he is way too good for, and her best friend, Seely, is turning down her offers to get set up with a new girlfriend. And to top it all off, she finds out that the amusement park will be closing at the end of the summer. Throw in a fake dating scheme with Seely and a plan to save the park, and you have the perfect setting for a summer romcom.
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
The mastermind behind the Meet Cute Diary — a blog all about trans happily ever afters — Noah, is a romance expert. At least, this is the facade he has to present, especially since all the stories featured on the blog are fictional. When an internet troll blows the lid off this secret, Noah has to do work to prove that the stories were true. In walks Drew, who is willing to fake date Noah to help save the blog. As the two get closer, though, the line between reality and fiction gets blurred until they wonder if this is going to be their meet cute story.
Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
When Haley gets a text message from an unknown number claiming to be Martin Nathaniel Monroe II, she doesn’t know which one it is, because there are two in her school. (Don’t worry, though: you get to find out that story as well.) What begins as a question about schoolwork evolves into a friendship told through text. Even if they don’t speak at school, they’re building up quite the romance on their screens. Trouble is, Haley doesn’t know which Martin she is speaking to, and Martin doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. Will they be able to figure it out, or will their story end before it even really starts? This one has demisexual and bisexual representation.
Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
When Hani comes out as bisexual to her friends, they are less than supportive, claiming she can’t be, since she’s only dated guys. Caught off guard by this blatant biphobic behavior, Hani blurts out that she is in fact dating a girl: Ishu. The only problem there is that the two girls actually do not get along. To her surprise, Ishu agrees to this fake relationship in exchange for Hani helping her to become more popular. Throughout their fake relationship, real feelings develop, although they have to work against outside forces who are determined that they will not find their happily ever after.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz has a plan to get out of her small town of Campbell Indiana and never look back. When her financial aid falls through, it seems like it is a hopeless endeavor. That is, until she is reminded about the scholarship that gets awarded to the prom king and queen. And while going through that gauntlet of pageantry sounds like a level of hell, it’s even worse to fathom staying in her small town, so she takes the leap. New girl and queen competitor, Mack, helps to make the ordeal bearable, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are both competing for the same crown.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Despite being dumped by her girlfriend for being asexual, Alice is determined to make the best of the upcoming summer on her own. One of the things on her list? Absolutely no dating. This is threatened when she meets her co-worker at the library, Takumi, and begins to develop feelings for him. Despite all the butterflies she is feeling, Alice is scared to try to enter into another relationship with someone who may not fully understand and accept — and possibly end — what is shaping up to be a good friendship. Will she risk it all or play it safe?
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
When Codi crashes a party, along with her best friends Maritza and JaKory, she accidentally stumbles into popular Ricky kissing another boy. In exchange for keeping his secret, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and helps introduce her to the popular kids, including a super cool girl named Lydia. One major drawback to all this is that she doesn’t tell or include Maritza and JaKory, and will have to deal with the repercussions of all of that when her two worlds collide.
Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
When Nozomi agrees to a fake dating scheme with the pretty Willow, her ulterior motives are to turn this fauxmance into the real thing and prove to Willow she is the superior girlfriend choice. All the lies begin to pile up, Nozomi’s schemes began to take a turn for disaster, and she may find herself having to get out of the hole she dug herself while finding romance in a place that she did not really expect.
Looking for more great queer YA and romcom reads? Check out: