I’m totally a “read & support queer books all year round” supporter, but I love how Pride Month is an extra oomph of celebration! (Unless you only celebrate queerness in June. Then I side-eye you.)
So, in preparation for Pride Month, I have five underrated queer recommendations for you–in an If You Liked . . . format!
I hope you find something new to read. I am recommending the underrated books a lot more than the popular ones, but support all queer books! Not to say that you shouldn’t pick up the popular ones, but I bet the underrated ones could use some love . . .
Without further ado, let’s get started on underrated queer novels based on the super popular queer YA!
NOTE: I’d just like to point out that ALL of the popular books, which I discerned to be some of the top 5 read YA LGBTQ+ fiction with 50k+ ratings on Goodreads, happen to be m/m fiction–some OV, others not OV. *cough* Carry on.
I’ve only included Representation Info for the underrated books.
If you liked Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you’ll love Amelia Westlake Was Never Here!
To be honest, I’m really surprised that I’ve never written a comp for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, especially given the fact that its wildly popular and people are always looking for similar book recs.
I think Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is such a perfect comp for this book too! It’s got a hoax-like thing in it (remember Simon & Blue’s anonymous emails?) and two girls falling in love, so I can’t recommend this cute, funny, lesbian romcom!
It’s got the same fluff level as Simon vs., plus it features friends, fighting issues within a boarding school, and so much more. I think people who love Simon vs. will really enjoy Amelia Westlake Was Never Here and all of its fluffy, hoax-filled goodness!
Representation Info: Both female MCs are both lesbians.
If you liked Carry On, you’ll love For a Muse of Fire!
This comparison is probably the biggest stretch on the list, but I also really really want to just should out For a Muse of Fire because it deserves so much more hype.
So much. Like Carry On, it’s got a big sprawling adventure and loveable characters and that touch of magic! But For a Muse of Fire is definitely unique as it tackles colonialism, mental health, and so much more.
It’s wonderful and I love the magic and beautiful world. Also I get a special sort of pride in recommending this since Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park was very distinctly racist against Asian folks.
READ FOR A MUSE OF FIRE PLEASE IT IS SO GREAT.
Representation Info: The female MC is bisexual.
If you liked The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, you’ll love The Brilliant Death!
If you’re looking for a deliciously queer historical European novel, totally check out The Brilliant Death. (It also has magic!)
Not only do we get that European setting similar to Gentleman’s Guide, but we also get a super sweet romance between Teo and Cielo and all sorts of adventures and overthrowing of plots!
Sound familiar? I think anyone who loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue will really enjoy The Brilliant Death because of its similar themes and just really engrossing story and magic system.
Representation Info: A genderqueer + bisexual/pansexual MC & a genderfluid LI.
If you liked Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, you’ll love Missing, Presumed Dead!
Two words: ANGRY. TEENS.
I admit that Aristotle & Dante is one of the books on this list that I just . . . have not gotten to reading. It’s frankly pretty low on my TBR, both on account that it’s popular and that the author has been meh to reviewers.
However, Missing, Presumed Dead should 100% be super high on your TBR! Not only do we get more angry queer teens (Lexi is an Angry Hoodie-Wearing Ghost-Seeing icon), but we get two loners who form a special friendship (and do that kissy kissy thing) and discover things about themselves and who they want to be.
It’s great. It’s wonderful. It fully embodies that teen angst. Definitely add Missing, Presumed Dead to your TBR!
Representation Info: Bisexual/pansexual MC & LI
If you liked They Both Die at the End, you’ll love The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali!
Although They Both Die at the End has that sort of fantasy/sci-fi spin to it, both They Both Die at the End and The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali have this sort of ~atmosphere~ to them.
It’s a little sad and a little nostalgic, and I think they both have this vibe to them. If you enjoyed that atmosphere in TBDatE, I think you’ll enjoy Rukhsana Ali, because although it has its happy ending, there are parts that make me a little bit sad and I just want the best for Rukhsana.
This comparison is totally an atmosphere-based comparison, but I really think these two books work perfect with each other!
Representation Info: A lesbian MC