The most recommended books about coming out

Who picked these books? Meet our 46 experts.

46 authors created a book list connected to coming out, and here are their favorite coming out books.
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What type of coming out book?


Book cover of Dr. Todson's Home for Incorrigible Women

A. L. Brooks Author Of Dare to Love

From my list on coming out later in life.

Who am I?

I knew in my early teens that I wasn’t straight, but back then, the thought of coming out was too scary. I waited until I was twenty-three to do so, and it was still scary even being ten years older! So I can relate to stories of women of all ages discovering their less-than-straight sexuality. It’s rarely easy, no matter how many years you’ve lived already. It still requires good support from the people who love you, and one thing in common in all of the books I’ve recommended is that family, or often found family, plays a crucial role in the newly-out woman feeling comfortable being themselves.

A. L.'s book list on coming out later in life

A. L. Brooks Why did A. L. love this book?

This one had me laughing out loud just as much as swooning over the lovely story of Caroline and her transformation once her husband dumps her in the home where ‘difficult’ women are put when they cause too much trouble for those husbands. There are elements of steampunk, social commentary, twisted humor, and a cast of secondary characters that are as varied as they are interesting. The setting, while bleak to begin with, grows on you as you read, and once all the twists and turns finally click into place, it’s a romp of a ride to the end.

By Riley LaShea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dr. Todson's Home for Incorrigible Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gentle Victorian tale of women’s passions and power, with a sprinkle of romance, a trifle of steampunk, and heaps and heaps of quiet revolution.

Caroline Ajax is an inconvenient woman. Unwell. Hot-tempered. Harboring a tragic secret she can’t share with another living soul. Dropped at an institution in the Surrey Hills by her husband, Thomas, her only objective is to survive, to endure, to make it back to what little there is of her life as soon as she possibly can. But it doesn’t take her long to discover there is something unusual about this house and its eclectic…

Book cover of The Midnight Show

Yakira Goldsberry Author Of Curse of the Midnight King

From my list on YA retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Who am I?

I’ve been in love with fairytales since childhood when I picked up a collection of fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson. These stories shaped my imagination, so much so that I longed for distant mysterious lands full of magic, wonder, and mystical creatures. Though in a way, I guess I did live a bit of a fairytale, having grown up surrounded by thick woods and open fields, as one of twelve siblings. Now as an adult, I still wish I could escape to distant fantastical lands, but I’ll just have to stick with the ones I find between the pages of books and the ones in my own head! 

Yakira's book list on YA retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Yakira Goldsberry Why did Yakira love this book?

Set in a fantastical world based on the roaring 20s, Pennington’s take on the tale is very unique! Bastion and Dayo quickly became some of my favorite characters, and I loved all of the intrigue and mystery that surrounded them both. Not to mention the subtle African influences on the world!

By Sarah Pennington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off…

Book cover of Rise to the Sun

Llinos Cathryn Thomas Author Of A Duet for Invisible Strings

From my list on mixing music and romance.

Who am I?

It’s often been said of musical theatre that the point when the characters begin to sing is the point their emotions become too much to express in words alone. I think that’s one reason I’m so obsessed with books about people connecting over music, art, and performance—it allows for so much passion and intensity. Having sung and played instruments over the years, I know how powerful it can feel to make music with other people, even when you’re not in love! These days, though, I spend more time reading and writing about music than I do playing it.

Llinos' book list on mixing music and romance

Llinos Cathryn Thomas Why did Llinos love this book?

This Young Adult romance takes place over the course of a single weekend, and it captures the urgency of young love perfectly. Sure Olivia and Toni fall hard and fast, but it’s no wonder—a great music festival can pull you far enough from your day-to-day that you feel as though you’ve been there a lifetime, even as an adult. And this book captures that so clearly, bringing you right into both girls’ perspectives, letting you feel every triumph and every moment of despair as they chase their dreams, musical and otherwise, and figure out who they are.

By Leah Johnson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rise to the Sun 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?

A stunning novel about being brave enough to be true
to yourself, and learning to find joy even when times are unimaginably
Three days.

Two girls.

One life-changing music festival.

Toni is grieving the loss of her roadie father
and needing to figure out where her life will go from here - and
she's desperate to get back to loving music. Olivia is a hopeless
romantic whose heart has just taken a beating
(again) and is beginning to feel like she'll always be a square
peg in a round hole - but the Farmland Music and Arts Festival is…

Book cover of We Could Be Something

Verity Croker Author Of May Day Mine

From Verity's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Passionate reader Keen swimmer Outdoor yoga lover Piano player

Verity's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Verity Croker Why did Verity love this book?

This cleverly crafted young adult novel takes us on a journey of self-discovery for two young men written from a dual point of view.

It examines a relationship breakdown, but ultimately love shines through. It’s also an Australian immigrant story about a Greek family, set in Sydney. I loved the twist I didn’t see coming, but then on reflection could see the clues all the way through. As a writer, I enjoyed analyzing how the author had managed to construct this story.

By Will Kostakis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Could Be Something 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?

'The enormous heart of We Could Be Something beats with a rare, thrilling authenticity. Every funny, smart, tough word of it rings true. I loved this book.' - Patrick Ness, bestselling author of A MONSTER CALLS and the CHAOS WALKING series

Part coming-out story.

Part falling-in-love story.

Part falling-apart story.

Harvey's dads are splitting up. It's been on the cards for a while, but it's still sudden. Woken-by-his-father-to-catch-a-red-eye sudden. Now he's restartinghis life in a new city, living above a cafe with the extended Greek family he barely knows.
Sotiris is a rising star. At seventeen, he's already achieved his…

Book cover of Women Are the Fiercest Creatures

Tanmeet Sethi Author Of Joy Is My Justice: Reclaim What Is Yours

From my list on to find joy.

Who am I?

I’ve worked on the frontlines of the hospital, clinic, and delivery rooms for the last 25 years and in global settings after traumatic disasters…As a physician activist, Justice is my act of service. And yet, the moment I found out my young son had a fatal illness, fighting for Justice felt elusive. Until I started fighting for myself. Until I realized that if I walked back toward my unfathomable pain, I could find something revolutionary... Joy. Now, this work of finding Joy has become my most potent medicine for my patients and myself. It is my mission to make sure everyone knows Joy is accessible. No matter what. 

Tanmeet's book list on to find joy

Tanmeet Sethi Why did Tanmeet love this book?

I had to put this book in because sometimes it gives me great Joy to get lost in a good story, especially one where women come out victorious.

This is set in Seattle, where I currently live, which also was fun and literally I turned page to page and lost track of time. It’s been a long time since I’ve read fiction and reading this was pure Joy. At the end, I wanted it to keep going and am secretly hoping for a sequel!

Book cover of The Magic Fish

Jamie Jo Hoang Author Of My Father, The Panda Killer

From my list on loving what makes you different.

Who am I?

All my life, I’ve struggled with accepting who I am. It’s no secret that the Vietnam War was unpopular in America; as such, I spent my adolescence hiding who I was. Literature like this didn’t exist when I was a kid. If it had, I think I would’ve seen myself differently. As a writer, I explore similar themes in my work and highlight the importance of discussing how our childhood experiences (good and bad) shape us. Uniformity is a destroyer of identity; my mission is to show how loving what makes us different allows us to love the differences we see in others.

Jamie's book list on loving what makes you different

Jamie Jo Hoang Why did Jamie love this book?

Language is powerful. For those of us who are children of immigrants, language can also be a barrier.

In this beautiful graphic novel, Nguyen, shows how stories shared among parents and children can help us bridge language gaps between us. The way he adapts well-known fairytales to fit within the framework of the Vietnamese diaspora is so flawless that I felt they were a part of my own family’s retellings.

Also, the illustrations are beautiful. Novels like this remind us that even though we may be different, at our core we want to love and be loved for who we are.

By Trung Le Nguyen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Magic Fish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tiến loves his family and his friends…but Tiến has a secret he's been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA graphic novel that deals with the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together.

Real life isn't a fairytale.

But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word…

Book cover of The Saint of Bright Doors

Rita Chang-Eppig Author Of Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea

From Rita's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Nerd Writing teacher Chaotic neutral Psychologist

Rita's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Rita Chang-Eppig Why did Rita love this book?

Chandrasekera first came onto my radar when I read a brilliant short story of his in 2021.

When I learned he had a novel coming out this year, I immediately preordered despite vague doubts about his ability to extend his meta, liminal brand of short fiction into novel form. Well, I’m pleased (and annoyed and envious) to admit I was wrong.

In The Saint of Bright Doors, a boy named Fetter is raised by his mother to one day kill his father, who is a saint not in the figurative sense of the word but in the has-godly-powers sense of the word. Meanwhile, in his city, strange, colorful, unopenable doors have been popping up all over the place.

The beautiful prose alone makes this book worth reading, but those who read for the plot will still find plenty to enjoy in this imaginative, fast-paced, and thought-provoking book.

By Vajra Chandrasekera,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Saint of Bright Doors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Saint of Bright Doors sets the high drama of divine revolutionaries and transcendent cults against the mundane struggles of modern life, resulting in a novel that is revelatory and resonant.

Fetter was raised to kill, honed as a knife to cut down his sainted father. This gave him plenty to talk about in therapy.

He walked among invisible powers: devils and anti-gods that mock the mortal form. He learned a lethal catechism, lost his shadow, and gained a habit for secrecy. After a blood-soaked childhood, Fetter escaped his rural hometown for the big city, and fell into a broader…

Book cover of Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Animal rescuer Endo sufferer Audiobook fanatic

Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Heather's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Heather DiAngelis Why did Heather love this book?

Fake dating story? Check. Queer characters? Check. A fragile web of lies? Another check! In Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, Hani and Ishu do not like each other.

They might be the only Bengali girls in their predominantly white Irish school, but that doesn't mean they're anything alike. If pretending to date someone will get you ahead in life, though, sometimes you do what you have to do. And if that turns into real feelings, well...that's a problem for another day.

I was totally smitten by this story. It's cute, well-written, and heartwarming, and it's sure to add a little bounce to your step after you turn the final page.

By Adiba Jaigirdar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating 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?

WINNER OF THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2022! Hani and Ishu couldn't be less alike - and they definitely don't like each other. But when fates collide and they pretend to date each other, things start to get messy... A heart-warming queer YA love story for fans of Becky Albertalli.

Everyone likes Hani Khan - she's easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they don't believe her, claiming she can't be bi if she's only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she's in a relationship... with…

Book cover of I Am Purpose

Dawn Doig Author Of Hair Peace

From my list on inspire children to be happy with who they are.

Who am I?

I was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, but inherited ‘travelling DNA’ from my sailor father which has led to a life of work and travel around the globe. In addition to being an audiologist and teacher, I am also the author (and sometimes illustrator) of 15 children’s picture books. Many of my books have been inspired by the special children I have had the privilege to work with as both an audiologist and teacher. My books are on a variety of topics including childhood hearing loss, dysgraphia and writing challenges, bullying and forgiveness, learning English as an additional language, and positive self-image. Some of my books are written to evoke giggles and belly laughs. 

Dawn's book list on inspire children to be happy with who they are

Dawn Doig Why did Dawn love 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 they want to be. This story would also be great for adults who doubt their abilities or question their potential. A source of inspiration for all ages

By Icia Ragsdale, Zsade Fleming (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I am Purpose is a fictional children's book that uses nature to share in the journey of a seed, Purpose, in hopes of becoming a tree. Purpose must navigate his way, while expressing emotions in a manner that teaches children to do the same. In addition to helping children develop and expand their emotional vocabulary, I am Purpose illustrates how to persevere until the end.

Book cover of Spinning

J. C. Phillipps Author Of Pacey Packer Unicorn Tracker

From my list on young readers featuring a strong female protagonist.

Who am I?

I loved graphic novels even before I became an author/illustrator. But because I create for young readers, I also read a lot of graphic novels aimed at them. I am also a big believer that books with female protagonists are important for all readers: male, female, and non-binary. All of the books I’ve recommended are books I plucked off my own bookshelf, and that I’ve read several times and I think are exceptional in some way.

J. C.'s book list on young readers featuring a strong female protagonist

J. C. Phillipps Why did J. C. love this book?

Spinning is a memoir of the author starting from when she was in fifth grade, when her family moved from New Jersey to Texas.

Tillie had been training as a figure skater and her training changed along with her school, friends, and entire life. It’s a coming-of-age story, fully based in reality, about letting go of some things in order to grow into your true self.

The art is spare and honest. It’s mostly line work in a kind of grey mauve hue with pops of yellow.

By Tillie Walden,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Spinning 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?

Download a FREE sampler of SPINNING by Tillie Walden!

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.