The best books about LGBTQ+ found family that are guaranteed to break your heart

Who am I?

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I endured many years with my voice stolen. Growing up, books offered a sanctuary from a world of cruelty and violence. Yet I never saw myself in fiction—not only as a young person battling to survive, but as a vulnerable teen questioning their sexuality. Now, I’m determined to support fellow survivors. 100% of the proceeds of my books are donated to charities supporting sexual abuse survivors, particularly victims of child trafficking. Living with CPTSD means I have a particular interest in trauma narratives, and an intense desire to do justice to abuse survivors in fiction. No one should feel alone or unseen.


I wrote...

The Dying Light

By Emily Rooke,

Book cover of The Dying Light

What is my book about?

When survival rests on a knife edge, what would you risk to save your family? Mad Max: Fury Road meets The Maze Runner in The Dying Light.

Deep in the slums of Penumbra, fiercely protective Charlie Carroway thought he had left the nightmares of his childhood behind and finally found a place to call home. But when an old enemy sets their sights on his adoptive family, shattering his dreams of outrunning his dark past, Charlie knows he has no choice. Risk everything. Escape the Witch Hunters. Save the children.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Foxhole Court

By Nora Sakavic,

Book cover of The Foxhole Court

Why this book?

Neil Josten is a runaway. A survivor. Determined to stay hidden from his murderous father, the last thing he needs is a national spotlight. But that’s exactly what he risks by signing for the Palmetto State Foxes. Thrown into a team of outcasts, last chancers, and no-hopers, The Foxhole Court is the story of one broken, battered boy and his fight to find something worth living for, and someone who deserves his truth. Neil transcends the page, blossoming slowly and resentfully as his teammates chip away at the icy walls barricading his heart. In a genre full of hopeless adults, I found it refreshing and heartwarming to have Coach Wymack as the gruff yet dedicated foster father to all these damaged kids. A violent, vicious, yet heartfelt comfort read.

The Foxhole Court

By Nora Sakavic,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Foxhole Court as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential — and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher. Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed. But Neil's not the only one…


Banana Fish, Vol. 1

By Akimi Yoshida,

Book cover of Banana Fish, Vol. 1

Why this book?

Determined to escape the clutches of his sinister mafia boss, ruthless Ash Lynx stumbles across a dying man bearing a strange drug and the codename ‘Banana Fish’. As bloodshed looms over New York City, Ash meets Eiji, a gentle Japanese photographer. Together, they attempt to uncover the mystery behind Banana Fish, as danger stalks ever closer to their fledgling friendship. Dark and brutal, Banana Fish is centered on the trauma of Ash’s past as a child forced into prostitution. Handled with respect and care, the author offers Ash a chance to heal through the compassionate nature of a true friend, warding off the demons plaguing Ash’s memories. Survivors are rarely given the opportunity to be as complex and conflicted, so Ash is a character who remains of deep personal importance.

Banana Fish, Vol. 1

By Akimi Yoshida,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Banana Fish, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nature made Ash beautiful; Nurture made him a killer!

VICE CITY: NEW YORK IN THE 80s...

Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A runaway brought up as the adopted heir and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, Ash, now at the rebellious age of seventeen, forsakes the kingdom held out by the devil who raised him. But the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Vietnam has suddenly fallen into Papa's insatiably ambitious hands--and it's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to make Ash Lynx's…


Half Bad

By Sally Green,

Book cover of Half Bad

Why this book?

Caged and shackled, Nathan endures endless torments at the hands of his captor. His crime? Being born a ‘Half Code’ – half White witch, half Black witch – and son of their hidden world’s most infamous villain. Adapted on Netflix as The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself, Half Bad thrives on the intense, gritty voice of its protagonist. Captured by Nathan’s plight, his pain and rage seared my heart as, chapter by chapter, I longed for his escape and for him to find the peace and freedom he so deserved. Be warned, this is a book that will get under your skin. Just thinking about Nathan’s struggle for survival is enough to make my stomach churn, which I think speaks volumes about the power of this brutal story.  

Half Bad

By Sally Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Half Bad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration for the Netflix series The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

“An enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition.”—Time magazine

“A bewitching new thriller.”—The Wall Street Journal

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live alongside humans, one sixteen-year-old boy is trapped between the two sides. Nathan's father is the world’s most powerful and cruel witch, and his mother is dead. Both groups of witches see Nathan as their greatest threat—or their greatest weapon. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, he must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three…


Six of Crows

By Leigh Bardugo,

Book cover of Six of Crows

Why this book?

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker knows that in Ketterdam, anything can be bought for the right price. When he’s offered a shot at becoming rich beyond his wildest dreams, Kaz sees a chance for revenge against the man who humiliated him as a child. But he can’t pull off this heist alone. Six of Crows is the perfect example of a team of unwanted misfits pulling together to take on power and authority, with main characters whose sexualities span the rainbow. Exciting and in constant movement, the author juggles twists and turns while presenting a cast of characters who, despite many errors of judgment, you can’t help but root for and love. A staple of YA Fantasy, Six of Crows is a must-read.

Six of Crows

By Leigh Bardugo,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Six of Crows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*See the Grishaverse come to life on screen with Shadow and Bone, now a Netflix original series.*

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable - perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk…


Seraph of the End, Vol. 1: Vampire Reign

By Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto (illustrator),

Book cover of Seraph of the End, Vol. 1: Vampire Reign

Why this book?

Purists might raise their brows at seeing this series included, but I would argue this manga is so deeply queer-coded it could not be omitted. Following a horrific epidemic, vampires rise from the shadows to enslave the remains of humanity. Reckless and stubborn, Yuichiro has made a home with his fellow orphans, led by sensitive and intelligent Mikaela. When their daring escape from the vampires ends in disaster, Yuichiro's dream of ridding the world of vampires is kept alive at a devastating price. The dynamic between Yu and Mika is perfectly balanced, infused with yearning almosts and bittersweet if-onlys. At the heart of the series, you’ll find a fierce determination to protect one’s chosen family, and an unapologetic commitment to sacrifice everything – even humanity – for the sake of love. 

Seraph of the End, Vol. 1: Vampire Reign

By Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seraph of the End, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a catastrophic epidemic kills every adult on earth, vampires arise from the shadows to enslave the remaining human population. Yuichiro escapes from captivity and joins the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. But before he's allowed to fight vampires, he has to complete his first, terrifying mission - make new friends with his fellow aspiring monster slayers!

Yuichiro and his friends are kept as vampire fodder in a creepy institution masquerading as an orphanage. One day, Yuichiro's dreams of fighting back are realized when the orphans stage a daring escape. But things go horribly wrong, and his dream is kept alive…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in medications, survival, and good and evil?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about medications, survival, and good and evil.

Medications Explore 14 books about medications
Survival Explore 135 books about survival
Good And Evil Explore 90 books about good and evil

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Princess Bride, The House in the Cerulean Sea, and They Both Die at the End if you like this list.