The best LGBTQIA+BIPOC coming of age books with exceptional audiobook narration

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a gay, neurodivergent, Mexican American, who grew up in a poor family riddled with domestic violence, in a small mid-western town. I’ve always been proud of my identities, but I’ve been particularly fascinated by their intersections. For example, a white gay man will face certain prejudices and discrimination, but a gay man of color, or a neurodivergent gay man, will have compounded challenges . . . and distinct joys . . . resulting from their combination. One of my writing goals is to include intersectional characters in all of my stories. When I read a wonderful, similar story, I like to herald the accomplishment.


I wrote...

Book cover of Pedro & Daniel

What is my book about?

Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father; that Daniel likes dolls; that neither boy plays sports. Both are gay and neurodivergent. They are alike, but they are dissimilar in their struggles, their dreams, their approach to life. 

Pedro & Daniel is a deeply personal novel that spans from the boy’s childhood until they are young men. Together, they find joy and laughter as they endure abuses, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of When the Angels Left the Old Country

Federico Erebia Why did I love this book?

I love everything about this book: the writing, the story, and the characters.

The audiobook narrator, Donald Corren, is phenomenal; it’s hard to believe that one person can voice so many varied characters. There is terrific queer and gender representation. There are many fascinating examples of Jewish customs and folklore that add to the rich storytelling that is at times historical, and other times fantastical. Brilliant!

By Sacha Lamb,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked When the Angels Left the Old Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In publishing-speak, here's what we at the LQ office sometimes describe as the Queer lovechild of Sholem Aleichem and Philip Roth:

Uriel the angel and Little Ash (short for Ashmedai) are the only two supernatural creatures in their shtetl (which is so tiny, it doesn't have a name other than Shtetl). The angel and the demon have been studying Talmud together for centuries, but pogroms and the search for a new life have drawn the young people from their village to America. And suddenly a murder forces the study partners to follow them.

Traveling through Warsaw and Hamburg, Uriel and…


Book cover of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

Federico Erebia Why did I love this book?

I’m so glad this book has been recognized for the writing, and the story itself. The audiobook narrator, Karla Serrata, is terrific. 

I love a strong female lead character who has dreams, doubts, obstacles, and triumphs. The supporting cast is well-rounded and fully detailed. The main characters are queer teens of color. The story is relatable, fun, and at times emotional. Highly recommended.

By Sonora Reyes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No one knows Yami is gay, least of all her mum, and Yami intends to keep it that way . . . Until, uh oh, she's falling in love again.

Yami prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, rich Catholic school - or for being gay. So after being outed by her ex-best friend, before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami decides to lie low, make her mum proud and definitely NOT fall in love. The thing is, it's hard to fake being straight when Bo,…


Book cover of This Is Why They Hate Us

Federico Erebia Why did I love this book?

The story is refreshingly honest in its depiction of teenage sexuality, lust, longing, angst, romance, and friendship, from a variety of orientations and identities.

The audiobook was excellent; Alejandro Ruiz is an extraordinary narrator, and perfect for this book. It was also nice to see Palestinian representation in a young adult novel. It’s two thumbs up for this LGBTQIA+BIPOC novel.

By Aaron H. Aceves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is Why They Hate Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

This “hilariously chaotic and profound” (Adam Silvera, #1 New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End) summer romp is Netflix’s Never Have I Ever meets What If It’s Us about a high school senior determined to get over his unrequited feelings for his best friend by getting under someone else.

Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good…


Book cover of Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Federico Erebia Why did I love this book?

This book’s cover, reviews, and awards drew me in, despite the very long queue for my library’s ten audiobooks.

The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, captures the nuance of the story and characters very well. The tone and setting reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Mulholland Drive, without the David Lynch weirdness. There’s a sense of mystery and intrigue that’s captivating. There is queer BIPOC representation. I really enjoyed it.

By Malinda Lo,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Last Night at the Telegraph Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

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…


Book cover of My Government Means to Kill Me

Federico Erebia Why did I love this book?

This is a compelling, historical fiction story centered around a gay, black teen in the 1980s.

There is a fictional, but believable mentor-like relationship with civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. The audiobook narrator, Jelani Alladin, is perfect for all the characters. I loved all the historical references, and the respectful portrayal of the devastation that HIV/AIDS unleashed on the gay communities.

There are many unforgettable characters, and moments. Remarkable.

By Rasheed Newson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Government Means to Kill Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK · A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITOR'S CHOICE

The debut novel from television WRITER/PRODUCER OF THE CHI, NARCOS, and BEL-AIR tells a fierce and riveting queer coming-of-age story following the personal and political awakening of a young, gay, Black man in 1980s New York City.

"Consistently engrossing." —New York Times Book Review

“Full of joy and righteous anger, sex and straight talk, brilliant storytelling and humor... A spectacularly researched Dickensian tale with vibrant characters and dozens of famous cameos, it is precisely the book we’ve needed for a long time.” —Andrew Sean Greer,…


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Book cover of Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

Leslie Tall Manning Author Of Maggie's Dream

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Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mentor Laugher Research nut Avid reader

Leslie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family’s happiness.

But Marilyn’s quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by…

Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

What is this book about?

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family's happiness.

But Marilyn's quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb…


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