The best books about coming out

5 authors have picked their favorite books about coming out and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren, Book 1: The Seeker

The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren, Book 1: The Seeker

By Cody Wagner,

Why this book?

It’s easy to find books about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and witches… but very rarely do you stumble across a young adult book about sirens. Not the mermaid kind (we’ve already covered mermaids), but still sinister, manipulative, and dangerous. Despite this threatening presence, this book is absolutely hilarious and a fantastic adventure. It’s also an LGBT story written by an LGBT author who has always said that this was a book he wrote for his younger self. To let him, and kids like him, know that he’s not alone. And I just love that. 

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The best supernatural books to read all year long

Book cover of Gender Queer: A Memoir

Gender Queer: A Memoir

By Maia Kobabe,

Why this book?

Loved this—it was intimate and thought-provoking, a true look inside another person's coming of age. If you took Skylar Kergil's Before I Had the Words and mixed it with Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, you’d have an idea of what this graphic memoir is like. It perfectly limns the mind of someone's journey of self-discovery, someone who’s non-binary and (possibly) asexual. Kobabe writes (and draws) with honesty, humor, and heart, not trying to speak for all nb/ace people, but just eir own experience as thoughtfully as possible. Texas wanted to ban this book— it’s a testament to how truthful and…

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The best books to introduce you to the world of trans masculine teens

Book cover of The Magic Fish

The Magic Fish

By Trung Le Nguyen,

Why this book?

The Magic Fish felt like a beautiful stain glass window into the life of first-generation immigrants. Every time I pick it up, I read it straight through and from that first read it has had a permanent place on the shelf of books I have to pull from for inspiration or to recommend. I think it uniquely captures this experience in a way that is so personable, it’s impossible not to like. When the characters found a way to communicate through stories it felt like a triumph. 

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Book cover of I Am Purpose

I Am Purpose

By Icia Ragsdale, Zsade Fleming (illustrator),

Why this book?

Cute story about a little seed named Purpose who wants to be a tree. I love the picture where he looks so tiny next to the flower and he is holding a leaf in each hand with a sprout coming out of his head. He is oblivious to the fact that what he longs for is already growing inside him. The author has done a wonderful job incorporating the special “talents” of nature to counsel Purpose about the true potential that dwells within him. A great story for children who are trying to figure out who they are and what…

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The best picture books that inspire children to be happy with who they are

Book cover of Rise to the Sun

Rise to the Sun

By Leah Johnson,

Why this book?

Leah Johnson always writes accessible characters that pull at my heartstrings. Her newest release Rise to the Sun is a real queer teen love story. In one weekend, love is found and lost, and secrets are told and accepted through music, friendship, and fearlessness. Olivia and Imani have been best friends since they were little kids, and this weekend is their special getaway to the Farmland Music Festival in Georgia. Donning a cowboy hat and long hair, Toni is there to compete in the singer’s showcase, but when she misses the deadline for the singles competition, she teams up with…

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The best LGBTQIA+ YA books on coming out and finding love

Book cover of The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd,

Why this book?

One of my favourite YA novels ever! The narration in this book truly comes alive. Reading it, the narrator Dade just popped right out of the page and into my inner reading voice. He was so vibrant and full of personality, and while his misadventures were very unlike my own experiences, I still felt a connection to him. I was hooked from beginning to end! This book also inspired me to get back into writing my own novel, so it has a really special place in my heart.

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The best coming of age books to make you feel seventeen again

Book cover of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

By Jonny Garza Villa,

Why this book?

Not only is Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun a swoony love story about a long-distance relationship, but it is also a coming of age story with a strong found family. The premise of the book says it all to me. I mean, a gay teenage boy getting drunk and accidentally coming out on Twitter? Then his Twitter crush slides into his DMs? Sold.

From the list:

The best young adult books about queer people of color

Book cover of The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

By William Dameron,

Why this book?

When I explored coming out in my forties, I was lonely and searched for answers. I found nothing. So, I wrote my own book.

Gay people who’ve been in heterosexual marriages, especially those with children, face a predicament: a bad choice and a worse one. The Lie is a story of hope for anyone caught in the dilemma of either living a lie or leaving a family they love. Many consider suicide; many have attempted it.

The Lie is an emotional and honest story of Dameron’s coming out to live the life he was meant to live. He owns up…

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Book cover of All the Bad Apples

All the Bad Apples

By Moïra Fowley-Doyle,

Why this book?

More beautifully written magic realism, with compelling characters and a fascinating plot. Fowley-Doyle uses the obliqueness of the supernatural and the compelling tropes of a mystery story to explore Ireland's troubled history with women and children. There's something of the road trip to this one, with a warm, supportive, found-family providing kindness and companionship to the main character in a story that otherwise might be too bleak to bear. Release yourself to the prose and to the experience, let the book carry you. It’ll be worth the journey.

From the list:

The best supernatural books written by Irish women

Book cover of The Liar's Dictionary

The Liar's Dictionary

By Eley Williams,

Why this book?

This book is the story of etymology: words and the mystery of their origin and utilization by writers and speakers. And of course, the story of the books that officially collect and define them. I made a list of new words, arcane and whimsical. It was amusing to guess which were legitimate usage and which were contrived to aid the narrator’s search for what is true and real. Wordplay is the name of the game. Obsessive main characters with a supporting cast of a lackadaisical cat and oddly motivated associates of the dictionary compilation project amused me up until the…

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