100 books like They're Going to Love You

By Meg Howrey,

Here are 100 books that They're Going to Love You fans have personally recommended if you like They're Going to Love You. 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 Girl Through Glass

T. Greenwood Author Of The Still Point

From my list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my daughter was three years old, I enrolled her in a “creative movement” class. I had taken dance lessons for ten years when I was younger, so this felt like an obvious choice. At age eleven, her teacher suggested that she had the facility, talent, and drive to pursue a career in ballet. What followed was seven years of being a “ballet mom,” as she studied, performed, competed, and ultimately left home to pursue her career. The Still Point comes from this experience. It's a novel about dark ambition, but it's also a love letter: to my daughter, to ballet, and to the mothers who became my closest friends inside the ballet studio walls.

T.'s book list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet

T. Greenwood Why did T. love this book?

Girl Through Glass offers readers entry into the magical and rarified world of an aspiring ballet dancer at the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet.

For readers who love a gritty New York setting, glimpses behind the beautiful façade that ballet offers, and dark secrets, this novel has it all. Fans of My Dark Vanessa will also appreciate the #metoo elements of this story.

By Sari Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

An Amazon Best Book of the Month 

A Buzzfeed Most Exciting Book of the Year

A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Year & Bestseller

Selected as a Skimm Read 

A Refinery 29 Best Book of the Year

Chosen as a Rumpus Book Club Selection

Chosen as a Bustle Best Literary Debut Novel Written By Women in the Last 5 Years

An enthralling literary debut that tells the story of a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet—a story of obsession and the…


Book cover of A Very Young Dancer

T. Greenwood Author Of The Still Point

From my list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my daughter was three years old, I enrolled her in a “creative movement” class. I had taken dance lessons for ten years when I was younger, so this felt like an obvious choice. At age eleven, her teacher suggested that she had the facility, talent, and drive to pursue a career in ballet. What followed was seven years of being a “ballet mom,” as she studied, performed, competed, and ultimately left home to pursue her career. The Still Point comes from this experience. It's a novel about dark ambition, but it's also a love letter: to my daughter, to ballet, and to the mothers who became my closest friends inside the ballet studio walls.

T.'s book list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet

T. Greenwood Why did T. love this book?

This book! I received this gorgeous black and white photobook as a gift when I was an aspiring dancer myself in the 1970s.

I was obsessed with the story of a young girl cast as Marie in the New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker. The story is told primarily through Krementz’s photos of a young dancer’s life in New York City: ballet classes, auditions, rehearsals, backstage moments, and performances.

This book is one of the most magical and special books of my childhood – which appealed to me as a dancer back then but later heavily influenced my work as a photographer as an adult.

By Jill Krementz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Very Young Dancer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A ten-year-old student at the School of American Ballet in New York describes her classes and the preparation for and performance of her role in the ballet "The Nutcracker."


Book cover of The Ballerinas

T. Greenwood Author Of The Still Point

From my list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my daughter was three years old, I enrolled her in a “creative movement” class. I had taken dance lessons for ten years when I was younger, so this felt like an obvious choice. At age eleven, her teacher suggested that she had the facility, talent, and drive to pursue a career in ballet. What followed was seven years of being a “ballet mom,” as she studied, performed, competed, and ultimately left home to pursue her career. The Still Point comes from this experience. It's a novel about dark ambition, but it's also a love letter: to my daughter, to ballet, and to the mothers who became my closest friends inside the ballet studio walls.

T.'s book list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet

T. Greenwood Why did T. love this book?

This novel, besides having a gorgeous cover, offers a sneak peek through the window into the lives of professional dancers at the Paris Opera Ballet.

It follows three young women from their days as students into adulthood. The plot has many twists and turns, but it is primarily a novel about female relationships in the cutthroat world of professional ballet.

By Rachel Kapelke-Dale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thirteen years ago, Delphine Leger abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg -- taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now thirty-six years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career -- and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets…


Book cover of Don't Think, Dear: On Loving and Leaving Ballet

T. Greenwood Author Of The Still Point

From my list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my daughter was three years old, I enrolled her in a “creative movement” class. I had taken dance lessons for ten years when I was younger, so this felt like an obvious choice. At age eleven, her teacher suggested that she had the facility, talent, and drive to pursue a career in ballet. What followed was seven years of being a “ballet mom,” as she studied, performed, competed, and ultimately left home to pursue her career. The Still Point comes from this experience. It's a novel about dark ambition, but it's also a love letter: to my daughter, to ballet, and to the mothers who became my closest friends inside the ballet studio walls.

T.'s book list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet

T. Greenwood Why did T. love this book?

Ballet has come under much scrutiny in the last decade: from the perpetuation of racial stereotypes to the abuse of power by directors to the promotion of damaging physical behaviors.

This non-fiction book by a former student at the School of American Ballet balances the problematic elements of ballet with the author’s love affair with it. Filled with both history and her own personal story, I found this book to be not only educational but also deeply moving.

It will resonate with not only dancers but anyone who has abandoned a childhood passion.

By Alice Robb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Think, Dear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Neither romanticizing or decrying the dance world, Robb beautifully explores the push-pull of masochism and perfectionism—preoccupations not just relevant to aspiring dancers, but to anyone who's ever pursued an almost-impossible dream." ?— Ada Calhoun, New York Times bestselling author of Why We Can't Sleep and Also a Poet

An incisive exploration of ballet’s role in the modern world, told through the experience of the author and her classmates at the most elite ballet school in the country: the School of American Ballet.

Growing up, Alice Robb dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. But by age fifteen, she had to face…


Book cover of Where We Go from Here

Abdi Nazemian Author Of Only This Beautiful Moment

From my list on queer youth to make you laugh, cry, and grow.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up feeling invisible in media, and absent in history. My Iranian history was hidden from me by a culture that believed shielding young people from trauma was the right thing to do, and my queer history was hidden from me by a homophobic time. I’m passionate about the power of seeing yourself represented in storytelling and in history, and have devoted much of my life to telling queer stories, and queer historical stories. As a parent, as a queer Iranian storyteller, as a passionate believer in art as a tool for empathy, these are books I think will both entertain readers and inspire them to love their fellow humans a little more.

Abdi's book list on queer youth to make you laugh, cry, and grow

Abdi Nazemian Why did Abdi love this book?

My personal wish is that Americans start reading a whole lot more books from other countries, especially books that shine a light on the queer experience around the world.

Ours is a global community, and we can’t fall into the trap of thinking diversity only exists in our own country and language. Lucas Rocha’s novel tells the story of three Brazilian teens who are dealing with the impact of HIV in their own unique ways. It’s engrossing, tender, and transporting.

Anyone who loves this should also seek out the work of Vitor Martins, and should demand more books in translation so we can travel through literature.

By Lucas Rocha, Larissa Helena (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where We Go from Here 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?

Henrique has had HIV for three years.
Ian has just tested positive.
Victor got with Henrique last night and thinks he might have it.

Ian, Victor and Henrique must navigate treatment, friendship and love, and eventually learn to trust each other.

Because with judgement and ignorance lurking round every corner, the real challenge isn't the disease - it's other people.

Brazilian author Lucas Rocha unveils the common misconceptions and prejudices that still surround HIV in the twenty-first century, showing how far we've come while shining a light on just how far we have yet to go.


Book cover of Carved in Bone

John Copenhaver Author Of The Savage Kind

From my list on slow burn psychological suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical mystery writer, English teacher, and book reviewer for Lambda Literary. I love to write and explore buried and forgotten histories, particularly those of the LGBTQ+ community. Equally, I’m fascinated by the ways in which self-understanding eludes us and is a life-long pursuit. For that reason, as a reader, I’m attracted to slow burn psychological suspense in which underlying, even subconscious, motivations play a role. I also love it when I fall for a character who, in life, I’d find corrupt or repulsive.


John's book list on slow burn psychological suspense

John Copenhaver Why did John love this book?

One of the qualities of mystery fiction that continues to draw me to the genre is the complex interplay between past and present. Nava’s 8th Rios novel utilizes separate narrative lines that resonate and then, like a parallel perspective drawing, converge in a powerful emotional twist. The first line is the story of Bill Ryan, a young gay man who, after being cast out of his home in Illinois, flees to 1970s San Francisco to discover himself and the gay community. The second line is Rios’s recovery from alcoholism and his investigation of Ryan’s suspicious death during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Ryan and Rios serve as foils: Ryan is a man losing the war with his self-loathing. Rios, in contrast, is winning his war.

By Michael Nava,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

November, 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios’s investigation into Ryan’s death–which Rios becomes convinced was no accident–tracks Ryan’s life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into…


Book cover of Holding the Man

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a classic of Australian literature, and for very good reason. Set during the AIDS epidemic in Australia in the late 1970s through to the early 90s, this memoir plunges us into the author’s life. We begin during his high school days—when he first notices his attraction to boys and starts sneaking out of the house to find ways to explore his sexuality—and follow him all the way through to his inevitably tragic death. It is a truly heartbreaking story, but incredibly life-affirming. An absolute must-read.

By Timothy Conigrave,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the land of Down Under comes this true story about a male high school drama student who falls in love with the captain of the football team. Winner of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Nonfiction, HOLDING THE MAN has been adapted into a play opening in America in September 2007. The playwright who adapted the book for stage refers to this a a memoir of striking and unapologetic honesty.


Book cover of The Angel of History: A Novel

tammy lynne stoner Author Of Sugar Land

From my list on queer books across time & genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a serial mover, living in 18 cities in three countries (so far) – though that has settled down (kinda) now that my lady and I find ourselves with three kids + a fish, kitten, and 100-pound dog. Wherever we land, we single-handedly support the entire local restaurant industry. My debut novel was lucky enough to do well and has inspired a short film, which will hopefully usher it down the long road to TV series… 

tammy's book list on queer books across time & genre

tammy lynne stoner Why did tammy love this book?

A few years ago we at Gertrude lit journal decided to answer the question that kept coming our way: What are some great books written by queer people with narratives that center on queer people? Before the pandemic made a mess of things, we ran GERTIE, a book club that chose two fabulous queer books every quarter. This was our very first book selection, and—like with many firsts, perhaps—it holds a special place.

The Angel of History takes place during one night in the waiting room of a San Francisco psyche ward when visits by the Devil and 14 Saints reveal the life of Jacob, a Yemen-born poet who was born in an Egyptian whorehouse. Yes, you read that right. 

By Rabih Alameddine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Washington Independent Review of Books, Literary Hub, and Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year



An Unnecessary Woman

won the California Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN Open Book Award and was a Best Book of the Year for the Washington Post, Kirkus, NPR, Amazon, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal


Book cover of Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration

Khan Wong Author Of The Circus Infinite

From my list on how art is more than art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Creative expression has been one of my most cherished values since childhood. I've always had a creative hobby of some kind since I was a kid. Not sure how that happened – my parents were tolerant of my interests at best. I made my day job career in the arts, fostering the creativity of community members and supporting the work of artists. Art (in the general sense of all forms of creative expression) is, to me, a defining characteristic of humanity, it makes life worth living, and the way it’s devalued under Capitalism both saddens and inspires me as a creator myself. I’m a writer of speculative fiction and I write about creative people.

Khan's book list on how art is more than art

Khan Wong Why did Khan love this book?

This memoir by the artist David Wojnarowicz deeply impacted me when I was a young queer man just setting off to make his way in the world in the early ‘90s. It’s a look at America during the AIDS crisis, and also delves into the author’s rage and lust and creativity and hope for a better world. The prose is electric, confrontational, and not at all concerned with decorum or coddling delicate sensibilities. It’s a raw and honest deep dive into the heart and soul of an artist living life on the edge of a society actively antagonistic to his existence and is a testament to art as a mechanism of survival. I can only hope to write something this invigorating one day. Bonus points for existing.

By David Wojnarowicz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Close to the Knives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I am glad I am alive to witness these things; giving words to this life of sensations is a relief. Smell the flowers while you can.

Close to the Knives is the artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz's extraordinary memoir. Filthy, beautiful, and sharp to the point of piercing, it is both an exploration of the world seen through the eyes of an artist, and a moving portrait of a generation living, grieving, and dying through the AIDS crisis. It is a triumphant hymn of resistance, and a dizzying celebration of the joys of seeing and living in the world.


Book cover of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Nicholas Blair Author Of Castro to Christopher: Gay Streets of America 1979-1986

From my list on LGBTQ history through photography and print.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became aware of the struggles of the LGBTQ community as a 22-year-old touring the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where hundreds of gay men were imprisoned—my mother was a Holocaust survivor who survived Auschwitz. A month later, in October 1978, after I returned to San Francisco, Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were murdered. As a hippie, San Francisco seemed extremely tolerant, but after the murders, I realized there was a monumental struggle for “unalienable rights” in the LGBTQ community. I started photographing LGBTQ political events and, for six years, documented the “gay liberation movement” as it exploded across the streets of New York and San Francisco.

Nicholas' book list on LGBTQ history through photography and print

Nicholas Blair Why did Nicholas love this book?

I found this to be a phenomenally original and imaginative dive into the tragic period of the AIDS epidemic.

I was gripped by the complex relationship between the different couples, the relationships between the characters, and “queerness” even if they were not. I learned about that dark period in American social history through the entwined lives of a few emotionally charged and engrossing characters.  

By Tony Kushner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Angels in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes includes Part One, Millennium Approaches and Part Two, Perestroika

“Glorious. A monumental, subversive, altogether remarkable masterwork…Details of specific catastrophes may have changed since this Reagan-era AIDS epic won the Pulitzer and the Tony, but the real cosmic and human obsessions—power, religion, sex, responsibility, the future of the world—are as perilous, yet as falling-down funny, as ever.” –Linda Winer, Newsday

"A vast, miraculous play... provocative, witty and deeply upsetting... a searching and radical rethinking of American political drama." - Frank Rich, New York Times

"A…


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