The best gay books where no one dies at the end, and one where they do

Who am I?

As a female in a same-sex relationship, people often ask why my favorite books focus on gay males. The answer is really pretty simple – I grew up with readily available female protagonists in my books. In fact, I can count on one hand the male pov books I had read (Harry Potter, Eragon, Percy Jackson). I was never lacking when it came to finding female leads, and I read constantly. By the time I hit my twenties I was worn out on books about girls. And I didn’t find heterosexual relationships relatable, despite being bisexual myself. So – I started looking for the only thing left. Non-straight, male lead books. It’s simply what I find entertaining at this point in my life.

I wrote...

Loving Lakyn

By Charlotte Reagan,

Book cover of Loving Lakyn

What is my book about?

Lakyn James is sixteen years old and hating every second of it. He was supposed to be done. End of story. Suicide "attempt", they said. His intentions had no "attempt" in them. Re-entering normal life after ‘trying’ to take his own is weird. Especially when the world keeps going like it never happened. He still has to eat breakfast, go to school, and somehow convince a cute boy that he’s too damaged to date.

Scott White comes with his own problems, namely a habit of drinking too much and being indecisive about whether he wants in the closet, or out of it. Lakyn can’t stand him; he also can’t help smiling when Scott’s around. Unfortunately - or fortunately - for Lakyn, life has decided to give him a second chance.

The books I picked & why

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz,

Book cover of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Why this book?

As a Texas native, the setting of Aristotle and Dante really resonated with me. I don’t read much YA these days, but I found myself in Ari and I think many others can too. I fell in love with Dante through him. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the slow burn of a first love, coming out without being a typical ‘coming out’ book, where they both live at the end. The audiobook is also fantastic, and narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda. Bonus points for POC main characters.

The Foxhole Court (All for the Game)

By Nora Sakavic,

Book cover of The Foxhole Court (All for the Game)

Why this book?

The Foxhole Court was a book I picked up when I was desperate for books where – surprise, surprise – no one dies at the end. I didn’t expect to like it much, given that I don’t understand sports in the least. I absolutely fell in love with it. College, sports, mafia, found family, and psycho midget mom friends. It’s my favorite series in the world, I even have a tattoo from it. I recommend it to everyone I talk to. Look up the trigger warnings if you’re prone to those.

Red, White & Royal Blue

By Casey McQuiston,

Book cover of Red, White & Royal Blue

Why this book?

I nearly put down this book right after I started it because I wasn’t sure I was smart enough to get through it. McQuiston’s vocabulary is beautiful, but I am notoriously simple-minded. I’m forever thankful that I didn’t. A love story between the President’s son and the Prince of England isn’t something you think you need, but you do – you very much do. Mild SA (not main character) trigger for this one.

Boyfriend Material

By Alexis Hall,

Book cover of Boyfriend Material

Why this book?

A British rom-com between a chaotic mess and a lawful good (D&D joke there). A fake relationship that develops real feelings and completely stole my heart. Laugh out loud funny, all-around feel good, even when things get dicey. Really great read when you need a break from high school. Which, given that I’m pushing 30 now, is much needed.

They Both Die at the End

By Adam Silvera,

Book cover of They Both Die at the End

Why this book?

They Both Die at the End does exactly what the title promises. They both die. At the very end. Despite that, it’s a really beautiful novel. Rufus and Mateo both have a lot to teach the reader on their last day on earth, and plenty of time to fall in love before it’s over. It’s heartbreaking that they don’t get longer. You can read my other recommendations to mend your soul.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, gay topics and characters, and gay teenagers?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, gay topics and characters, and gay teenagers.

Gay Men Explore 43 books about gay men
Gay Topics And Characters Explore 88 books about gay topics and characters
Gay Teenagers Explore 26 books about gay teenagers

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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