100 books like Honestly Ben

By Bill Konigsberg,

Here are 100 books that Honestly Ben fans have personally recommended if you like Honestly Ben. 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 Where's My Wand?

David S. Pederson Author Of Murder at Union Station

From my list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.

David's book list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes

David S. Pederson Why did David love this book?

This book took me back to my own childhood of imagination and fantasy and brought back so many memories. It's a fun, easy read, and quite entertaining. The characters are engaging and well thought out, and the charming descriptions of his home life, along with those of his rather eccentric mother, are a delight.

By Eric Poole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where's My Wand? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Gut-splittingly funny...a deeply moving account of a boy's attempt to control his world with his own brand of magic." --People magazine, 4 stars.

Tracey Ullman once described Eric Poole as "the best undiscovered writer I ever met." Now the world can enjoy his achingly honest wit and gift for capturing real life characters in this memoir about growing up in the 1970's with an obsessive-compulsive mother and a crush on Endora from Bewitched.


Book cover of Leave Me Not Alone

David S. Pederson Author Of Murder at Union Station

From my list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.

David's book list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes

David S. Pederson Why did David love this book?

All the Croy books are so descriptive and imaginative, well-plotted, and with great characters the reader cares about. It's been fun seeing them grow, change and develop through the series, set in the small, fictional town of Croy. Rumor has it this is the last in the series, but I'm hoping for more.

By Louis Flint Ceci, Jennifer Rain Crosby (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leave Me Not Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in the same Oklahoma town as the rest of the cycle, this fourth and final book in the series starts on the same afternoon that ends Book 3, but on the other side of town. Characters that appeared only in the wings before-gender-fluid Beau and robust farm boy Frank-suddenly take center stage. Beau follows his dream of starting a rock band, and Frank faces the devastating end of his only real connection in life and the disintegration of his family. Their lives intersect with the three young adults readers have come to know: Joanie, with her insatiable curiosity and…


Book cover of Maybe Next Year

David S. Pederson Author Of Murder at Union Station

From my list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.

David's book list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes

David S. Pederson Why did David love this book?

Maybe Next Year, by Dave Hughes, a coming-of-age love story of two young men that touched my heart. It's all about Bryan and Chris, two high school guys that have been best friends for several years, and what happens when they discover their feelings for each other are more than friendship. They come from two very different family backgrounds and will have a lot to navigate.

By Dave Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maybe Next Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bryan and Chris are high school juniors who have been inseparable best friends for three years. Now, they are discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than mere friendship.

Chris, whose open-minded family is completely supportive, is ready and able to live his life out and proud. For Bryan, whose father is the pastor of a very conservative mega-church in a Kansas City suburb, being gay simply isn’t an option. Bryan hopes that maybe next year when they leave Kansas to go to college together, he will be able to live more openly. In the meantime, they…


Book cover of Pangs

David S. Pederson Author Of Murder at Union Station

From my list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.

David's book list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes

David S. Pederson Why did David love this book?

Suspenseful, well-written fantasy of other worlds and realms that kept me turning the pages and held my interest until the very end. Yes, it's about vampires, but vampires who subsist on talent, not blood. And it's a story of two mortal enemies who find they must now work together.

By Jerry L Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unlike their Blood Brethren, Warner and Seth are vampires who subsist on talent. They have been enemies for centuries, competing to feed on artists with the most prodigious musical gifts, and country blues singer Wade Dixon is no exception. But the pursuit and capture of Dixon unleashes unexpected forces that carry these combatants from the earthly realm to a dangerous land of eternal night where they must work together or die alone.

Jerry L. Wheeler is the editor of seven anthologies of gay erotica for Bold Strokes Books, Wilde City Press, and other publishers. His own collection of short fiction…


Book cover of Fire Song

Regan McDonell Author Of Black Chuck

From my list on coming-of-age by Indigenous authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up on S.E. Hinton, I love a good, gritty young adult novel that doesn’t pull any punches! In my book, Black Chuck, four misfit teens suddenly find themselves cast adrift after the very charismatic Shaun dies, leaving them to navigate their way to adulthood without their leader. All the books on this list are coming-of-age stories about kids growing up in tough circumstances, finding love, making mistakes, getting hurt, and ultimately finding joy in a world that at times seems set against them.

Regan's book list on coming-of-age by Indigenous authors

Regan McDonell Why did Regan love this book?

This was one of my favourite books of 2018. This one deals with the impact of suicide on a tight-knit community, while quietly following Shane as he discovers his sexual identity and love for his best friend, David. The author, Adam Garnet Jones, is an Indigiqueer screenwriter, director, bead-worker, and novelist from Edmonton Alberta. While his Indigenous identity includes Cree, Métis, and Kahnawake

Mohawk, his traditional ancestry is complicated by the fact that his home reserve no longer exists. The land and community were forcibly enfranchised by the Canadian government in 1958.

By Adam Garnet Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life?
Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she's too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves-his friend, David.
Things go from bad to worse as Shane's dream of going to university is shattered and…


Book cover of The Music of What Happens

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From my list on queer YA exploring mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve struggled with mental health for most of my life, as have family members and friends I love. It’s extremely important to me that we normalize discussions of mental health so that we can find the best solutions. Anxiety and depression have been major themes in all of the young adult novels I’ve written; it’s my little way of furthering these conversations with the people who need them. I hope you’ll find these suggestions relatable, enjoyable, and question-inducing!

Heather's book list on queer YA exploring mental health

Heather DiAngelis Why did Heather love this book?

Author Bill Konigsberg has always pulled me in with his entertaining, well-written, and deep stories. In The Music of What Happens, Max and Jordan bond over their effort to save a 1980s-era food truck to help Jordan’s family stay afloat. Jordan’s secret, though, is that his mom’s mental health is spiraling out of control, and he carries the burden of being the only person able to hold everything together—financially and emotionally. I fell hard for Max and Jordan’s chemistry as well as for Jordan’s struggle of helping his mother through her mental health struggles. 

By Bill Konigsberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Music of What Happens 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?

From the award-winning author of Openly Straight, a story about two teens falling in love over a summer that throws everything possible to keep them apart.

* "Konigsberg demonstrates once again why he is one of the major voices in LGBTQ literature." -- Booklist, starred reviewMax: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the…


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…


Book cover of Heartstopper: A Graphic Novel: Volume 1

Jen Desmarais Author Of Crushing It

From my list on queer cozy YA romances that make you want to fall in love.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a teenager, I didn’t have romance in my life. I was so extremely shy that I could barely look at people I thought were cute, let alone talk to them. I lived vicariously through books. Now that I’m older (and way less shy), I still love reliving that time of my life through books. How would I have reacted differently in the same situation? How would things have been different if I had been more outgoing? Only recently, I realized that I was queer, and I’ve been slowly dipping my toes into that world as well.

Jen's book list on queer cozy YA romances that make you want to fall in love

Jen Desmarais Why did Jen love this book?

I adored this book from the moment I read the first page of the first graphic novel! I fell in love with Nick and Charlie and related so hard to the struggles that they were going through, even though I’m older than they are. It brought me back to how I felt in high school.

Charlie’s eating disorder, especially, really struck a nerve, and I thought it was handled with such beautiful rawness. Note: I read it before watching the TV show, which I also love. 

By Alice Oseman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Heartstopper 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?

*Now an acclaimed live-action Netflix series!* Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. A bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between.

'Absolutely delightful. Sweet, romantic, kind. Beautifully paced. I loved this book.' RAINBOW ROWELL, author of Carry On

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they've never met ... until one day when they're made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more…


Book cover of Alan Cole Is Not a Coward

Chad Lucas Author Of Thanks a Lot, Universe

From my list on middle grade books to counter toxic masculinity.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was in school, I often struggled to figure out where I “fit”. Yeah, I know that’s a common struggle among angsty teens. But as a biracial, bisexual kid who loved basketball and books, I didn’t feel totally at home in any of the stereotypical Breakfast Club-style categories that showed up even in many of the books I read: jock, nerd, prep, etc. Now, as a dad, coach, and writer, I know those boxes aren’t real. I’m passionate about giving kids stories that challenge old ideas about what boys are “supposed” to be and help them explore the full range of who they can be.

Chad's book list on middle grade books to counter toxic masculinity

Chad Lucas Why did Chad love this book?

Between his cruel older brother and his rigid, overbearing father, Alan Cole doesn’t have it easy—especially when his brother discovers he has a crush on a boy. But with some help from his friends, Alan learns to stand up for himself and challenge his family’s expectations. This is the kind of book I wish I could send back in time to my younger self, and I know a lot of kids will relate to Alan’s struggles—and celebrate his triumphs.

By Eric Bell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alan Cole Is Not a Coward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gary Schmidt, this is a hilarious and poignant tale about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age—and coming out.

Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And—scariest of all—he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.

But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks;…


Book cover of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Elizabeth Arroyo Author Of On the Edge of Broken Pieces

From my list on YA LGBTQIA coming out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember how it was to be an awkward teen, misunderstood, questioning, and having nowhere to turn. I remember living in a violent world where I had to grow up to survive. The world was a scary place for a neurodivergent who lived more in her head than in real life. I want to be able to bring stories to our young people where they might see themselves and not feel so alone because we all are a bit awkward, a bit misunderstood, and filled with stories that deserve to be told.

Elizabeth's book list on YA LGBTQIA coming out

Elizabeth Arroyo Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This is a heartwarming journey of one boy trying to protect the identity of a secret admirer while protecting his own heart. Simon is forced to come out. His parents are supportive, and his sisters are too. There’s a nice family dynamic there.

He really wants to know who his secret admirer is and that ending! This is the book that launched my interest in this genre. I loved it! 

By Becky Albertalli,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 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?

Love, Victor is now a major TV series on Dinsey+, set in the world of the hit film Love, Simon

The beloved, award-winning novel is now a major motion picture starring 13 Reasons Why's Katherine Langford and Everything, Everything's Nick Robinson.

----------

Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is - and what he's looking for.

But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated.

Because, for…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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