100 books like Holly's Secret

By Nancy Garden,

Here are 100 books that Holly's Secret fans have personally recommended if you like Holly's Secret. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Secrets of Sam and Sam

Sarah Hagger-Holt Author Of Proud of Me

From my list on LGBTQ plus families.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirteen years ago, when my partner and I started our family, we didn’t know any other LGBTQ+ parents. We decided to learn all we could about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families. Our interviews with more than 70 families grew into an LGBTQ+ parenting guide called Pride and Joy. These real-life stories blew us away with their diversity; made us laugh, cry and gasp as we saw how families thrived, often against the odds. Yet we rarely saw families like these in the books our children read, so I started writing stories of my own. Thankfully, there are now many more - you’ll find some of my favourites on this list. 

Sarah's book list on LGBTQ plus families

Sarah Hagger-Holt Why did Sarah love this book?

Twins Sam and Sam (yes, their two mums, both psychologists, did decide to give them the same name) are not quite teenagers. They both struggle with fears and friendships on the brink of high school. I love this book because the humour is so subtle but spot on, the characters are so well-drawn, and the twins’ different anxieties about an impending school trip are so relatable. The fact that Sam and Sam have two mums makes their family distinctive, and the mums’ relationship is warm and believable, but is not the main element of the story.

By Susie Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secrets of Sam and Sam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sam likes being a twin. He likes having two mums. He likes cheese sandwiches and his dog and drawing comics with his friend Pea. He does not like humus - or heights ...His twin sister Sammie likes being a twin too. She knows that she's perfect best friend material for somebody - the girls in her class just haven't realised yet. And she knows that she's the best Sam - Sam A. Both Sam and Sammie - and everybody in their lives seems to be keeping secrets - which ones will come out? Meet the very different twins and their…


Book cover of The List of Things That Will Not Change

M. Tara Crowl Author Of Eden's Wish

From my list on middle-grade to make you feel good about the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a shy, dreamy kid, I relied on middle-grade books to learn about the world and feel less alone. That’s why I eventually started writing them. Growing up can be hard. Being grown-up can, too. Fiction can thrill, educate, and stimulate, and I love it for those reasons. But sometimes, I want a book to assure me things are going to be okay. In case you’d forgotten that the world can be scary and unpredictable, the last couple of years probably reminded you. I continue to find comfort in middle-grade books that make my heart feel full, tender, and hopeful. I needed books like these back then, and still need them today.

M. Tara's book list on middle-grade to make you feel good about the world

M. Tara Crowl Why did M. Tara love this book?

Bea is a kid with big feelings who’s navigating major changes. After her parents’ divorce, she finds stability in a list of constants: that each of her parents will always love her; that she’ll always have a home with each of them; that they are still a family.

I felt Bea’s waves of elation and anger so intensely that some moments made me feel like my heart might burst. Ultimately, the love and support she receives from the adults in her life helped me remember my own things that will not change.

By Rebecca Stead,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The List of Things That Will Not Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal

Sonia and I have a lot in common. Our parents are divorced. Our dads are gay. We both love barbecue potato chips. But she is different from me in at least one way: you can't tell how she's feeling just by looking at her. At all.

When Bea's dad and his wonderful partner, Jesse, decide to marry, it looks as if Bea's biggest wish is coming true: she's finally (finally!) going to have a sister.

They're both ten. They're both in fifth grade. Though they've never met, Bea…


Book cover of The Accidental Diary of B.U.G.

Sarah Hagger-Holt Author Of Proud of Me

From my list on LGBTQ plus families.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirteen years ago, when my partner and I started our family, we didn’t know any other LGBTQ+ parents. We decided to learn all we could about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families. Our interviews with more than 70 families grew into an LGBTQ+ parenting guide called Pride and Joy. These real-life stories blew us away with their diversity; made us laugh, cry and gasp as we saw how families thrived, often against the odds. Yet we rarely saw families like these in the books our children read, so I started writing stories of my own. Thankfully, there are now many more - you’ll find some of my favourites on this list. 

Sarah's book list on LGBTQ plus families

Sarah Hagger-Holt Why did Sarah love this book?

Billie Upton Green (B.U.G.) has two mums, an obsession with biscuits (the best varieties and correct way to eat them), and a problem with spelling. Young or old, everyone surely has a favourite biscuit-like Billie, I’m a custard cream fan - and even the most reluctant reader, whatever their own family is like, can pick up this quirkily illustrated book and find something to make them laugh or that they can identify with. Author Jen Carney, like me, draws on her own experience as a lesbian parent, and ensures that Billie is able to educate her classmates in a no-nonsense way on what it means to be adopted and to have two mums. 

By Jen Carney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Accidental Diary of B.U.G. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Meet Billie Upton Green and her VERY accidental diary - and don't you DARE call her B.U.G!

Billie has taken the new girl at school under her wing. She'll teach her the important stuff - Biscuit Laws, Mrs Patterson and of course where to sneakily eat a Jaffa Cake. She might even get invited to the EVENT OF THE YEAR (Billie's mums' are getting married).

But then suspicion sets in. The new girl seems VERY close to Billie's best friend Layla.

And she knows a LOT about the big school heist - the theft of Mrs Robinson's purse. But, Billie…


Book cover of Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

Sarah Hagger-Holt Author Of Proud of Me

From my list on LGBTQ plus families.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirteen years ago, when my partner and I started our family, we didn’t know any other LGBTQ+ parents. We decided to learn all we could about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families. Our interviews with more than 70 families grew into an LGBTQ+ parenting guide called Pride and Joy. These real-life stories blew us away with their diversity; made us laugh, cry and gasp as we saw how families thrived, often against the odds. Yet we rarely saw families like these in the books our children read, so I started writing stories of my own. Thankfully, there are now many more - you’ll find some of my favourites on this list. 

Sarah's book list on LGBTQ plus families

Sarah Hagger-Holt Why did Sarah love this book?

This book focuses on ten-year-old Archie, as he comes to terms with his father coming out as gay. Archie’s difficulties, and some of the book’s drama, come from his dad’s inability to talk to Archie honestly and openly about what’s going on and family uncertainty resulting from the divorce, rather than any issue that Archie has with his dad being gay. My favourite thing about this book is its portrayal of LGBTQ+ community - from teenage babysitters with dyed hair to drag queens and lesbian mums - as a place that’s warm and supportive for people of all ages. This book makes being LGBTQ+ sound like a whole load of glitter-filled fun! And that gets my vote every time.  

By Benjamin Dean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The rainbow-filled, JOYOUS debut from a hugely exciting new talent. Perfect for 9+ readers and fans of Elle McNicoll, Lisa Thompson and Onjali Rauf's bestselling THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS.

My name's Archie Albright, and I know two things for certain:

1. My mum and dad kind of hate each other, and they're not doing a great job of pretending that they don't anymore.

2. They're both keeping a secret from me, but I can't figure out what.

Things aren't going great for Archie Albright. His dad's acting weird, his mum too, and all he wants is…


Book cover of You Should See Me in a Crown

Diane Billas Author Of Does Love Always Win?

From my list on young adult fiction sapphic romance novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about young adult sapphic romance books because this is something I wished I would have read in high school. If I had novels similar to these when I was growing up I might have realized that I identify as queer sooner and it could have helped me understand more about myself. Because of this, I’ve been an avid reader, and writer, of sapphic young adult romances. If it’s sapphic, send it my way. I hope you enjoy these sapphic novels as much as I have!

Diane's book list on young adult fiction sapphic romance novels

Diane Billas Why did Diane love this book?

You Should See Me in a Crown is such a cute sapphic romance story, set around the fact that both the main character, Liz, and her love interest/new girl, Mack, are both running for homecoming queen to win a scholarship.

This book was a breath of fresh air because there were also real problems and insecurities brought up that sometimes are overlooked, making it the characters seem so real. 

By Leah Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked You Should See Me in a Crown 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?

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed mid-western town. But it's okay-Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down... until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom King and Queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but…


Book cover of Ma and Me: A Memoir

Vichet Chum Author Of Kween

From my list on to feel alive, awesome and Asian American.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Cambodian American/Asian American writer who is always concerned/interested/curious by the landscape of our diasporic stories. There is incredible diversity here… in the ways Asian Americanness can look, sound, and feel like a myriad of things. These books aren’t instructed or tethered by gaze but rather born and smartly crafted by unique souls that run deep. These authors and their stories are my heroes. I hope you enjoy these picks as much as I do!

Vichet's book list on to feel alive, awesome and Asian American

Vichet Chum Why did Vichet love this book?

This book sits at the center of my heart. It is personal, vulnerable, and incredibly moving.

It follows Pustata’s relationship with her mother who struggles to acknowledge her daughter’s queer identity. As children of survivors, it’s about the boundaries we must articulate to survive ourselves and the hope we must keep in the secret parts to leave space for transformation.

Her sensitivity and strength are always in conversation with each other and always equally felt.

By Putsata Reang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Putsata Reang was eleven months old, her family fled war-torn Cambodia, spending twenty-three days on an overcrowded navy vessel before finding sanctuary at an American naval base in the Philippines. Holding what appeared to be a lifeless baby in her arms, Ma resisted the captain's orders to throw her bundle overboard. Instead, on landing, Ma rushed her baby into the arms of American military nurses and doctors, who saved the child's life. "I had hope, just a little, you were still alive," Ma would tell Put in an oft-repeated story that became family legend.

Over the years, Put lived…


Book cover of Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag

Allan Hunter Author Of That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class

From my list on memoirs from interns, activists, feminists and others.

Why am I passionate about this?

Allan D. Hunter came out as genderqueer in 1980, more than 20 years before “genderqueer” was trending. He decided that women's studies in academia was the proper place to discuss these ideas about gender, so he headed to New York to major in women's studies as one of the first male students to do so. 

Allan's book list on memoirs from interns, activists, feminists and others

Allan Hunter Why did Allan love this book?

This story is the memoir of a very butch lesbian, which is an identity that juxtaposes very oddly and awkwardly against how our culture thinks of motherhood and pregnancy.

This tongue-in-cheek depiction makes for a clever skewering of the tension between one's internal identity and the perceptions of others, and the complexities of stepping outside the identity role that one has chosen to occupy. 

By A. K. Summers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First pregnancy can be a fraught, uncomfortable experience for any woman, but for resolutely butch lesbian Teek Thomasson, it is exceptionally challenging.

Teek identifies as a masculine woman in a world bent on associating pregnancy with a cult of uber-femininity. Teek wonders, “Can butches even get pregnant?”

Of course, as she and her pragmatic femme girlfriend Vee discover, they can. But what happens when they do? Written and illustrated by A.K. Summers, and based on her own pregnancy, Pregnant Butch strives to depict this increasingly common, but still underrepresented experience of queer pregnancy with humor and complexity—from the question of…


Book cover of Jude Saves the World

Calyssa Erb Author Of Maya Plays the Part

From my list on children’s books with neurodivergent protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young child, I lived in stories. However, as I got older, I lost my connection to writing and imagining. It was through a late-identified diagnosis of autism that I was able to reconnect with my creativity. Now, through my work as a children’s publishing specialist and volunteer at children’s book festivals, I am a champion of kids being able to see themselves in the stories that are published and promoted. I believe that young readers can develop a love of reading and a kindness for others through books that show the diversity of humanity.

Calyssa's book list on children’s books with neurodivergent protagonists

Calyssa Erb Why did Calyssa love this book?

I feel like I am being hugged by a friend when I read Ronnie Riley’s work. The world within this book is so full of friendship and support, so focused on affirming language around both identity and neurodiversity, that I was grateful to have it in my hands.

Jude’s ADHD is written in a way that makes it easy for those without ADHD to understand and affirming for those who are living with it. 

By Ronnie Riley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jude Saves the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.


Book cover of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

Wendy-O Matik Author Of Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

From my list on to ignite the revolution and smash patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a rebellious woman who is passionate about words and the revolutionary force of books, I know the power of stories. Stories are the seeds that give life to your purpose. Stories give you a reason to fight the good fight, care about something bigger than yourself, and want to be a part of social justice and positive change. The daily grind can kick you down, but a good story can remind you that there's still time to rise up, speak truth to power, help others less fortunate, and commit to what you value most. The books that I’m recommending are meant to be your personal guide to what really matters most in life to you.

Wendy-O's book list on to ignite the revolution and smash patriarchy

Wendy-O Matik Why did Wendy-O love this book?

Growing up as a hardcore tomboy, the gender binary issue has always been a challenge for me. Why do I have to choose between male or female? I resent being given only one gender with no option to explore a spectrum of gender possibilities. The gender battle is raging at the forefront of American politics. If you don’t understand the debate, this is a great book to start with to learn more about gender and identity. The writing is bold, courageous, and hilarious, and does a great job of smashing gender conformity.

By Kate Bornstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gender Outlaw is the work of a woman who has been through some changes--a former heterosexual male, a one-time Scientologist and IBM salesperson, now a lesbian woman writer and actress who makes regular rounds on the TV (so to speak) talk shows. In her book, Bornstein covers the "mechanics" of her surgery, everything you've always wanted to know about gender (but were too confused to ask) addresses the place and politics of the transgendered and intterogates the questions of those who give the subject little thought, creating questions of her own.


Book cover of All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

Robin Stevenson Author Of When You Get the Chance

From my list on queer communities throughout history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading about queer history: It’s the story of a diverse, courageous, and creative community, and it’s filled with inspiring actions and fascinating people. It’s also a history I had to seek out for myself because it was never taught at school—and although there has been progress since I came out as queer three decades ago, this is still true for most teens today. Over the last few years, I have written LGBTQIA+ books for all ages, and spoken to thousands of students. The books on this list explore queer history in ways that I think many teens will find highly enjoyable as well as informative.

Robin's book list on queer communities throughout history

Robin Stevenson Why did Robin love this book?

This one’s a bit different: not a novel, but a collection of short stories. And what a collection! Featuring short stories by a wonderfully talented group of authors (including two who are also on this list!), it covers hundreds of years of history, spans the globe, and dives into multiple genres. It is a great way for readers to explore queer history—the real thing and some fantasy versions--and discover new authors.

By Sara Farizan, Shaun David Hutchinson, Kody Keplinger , Mackenzi Lee , Malinda Lo , Tehlor Kay Mejia , Robin Talley , Alex Sanchez , Dahlia Adler , Saundra Mitchell , Natalie C. Parker

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Out 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?

Take a journey through time and genres to discover stories where queer teens live, love, and shape the world around them.

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier…to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain…to forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent…and an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across…


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