If You Liked . . . #16: Underrated Queer Novels

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.


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

What underrated queer books would you recommend based off of some popular queer YA?

40 thoughts on “If You Liked . . . #16: Underrated Queer Novels

  1. LMAO I loved that shady little note you included at the beginning, love me some m/m fetishization and f/f hate 😎 But I love this post idea to boost lesser known queer books! I still need to read For a Muse of Fire (our buddy read went so well) but I absolutely loved The Brilliant Death! I definitely want to read more of Amy Rose Capetta’s work ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. May i am the epitome of shady about m/m & f/f asldkfjlskd


      (i’m eternally sobbing at how horrible both of us are at buddy reads….)

      and omg yes THE BRILLIANT DEATH was so good–I really want to read THE LOST COAST

      Liked by 1 person

    1. i am the shadiest tree there ever was lmaoooo

      and omg yes it’s been out for a while in the UK/AUS but i’m v happy it’s out in America too bc AHHH it’s so much fun and the KISS KISS queer ladies give me life

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is such a cool title! I need to check it out 😀 The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali was already on my list, so I’m really glad to see it compared to They Both Die At The End since that read made me bawl like a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes it is! it’s about this hoax girl they come up with, but is she real???? (and omg yes LOVE & LIES is so thematically similar to TBDATE that it makes me tear up–they’re both sad BUT GOOD)


  3. Can I just say that I love all of your graphics? They’re all so cute and I can’t imagine the time you must’ve spent on them! Also it’s so disappointing that the top five queer books on goodreads are all m/m, like I do agree that we should be supporting all forms of queerness but come on world. I actually uhmm,, don’t think I’ve read any of the underrated books you recommended in this post which is such a shame but thank you for the recs! I’ll be sure to check them all out, especially For A Muse of Fire because I’ve seen the cover and I know the author is Asian but I’ve never heard of the premise and now that I know it I AM SO INTRIGUED!

    Liked by 1 person


      and yeah, like I get that m/m opened the doors to all kinds of queer fic in YA, BUT we need to stop championing those top 5 and start championing more queer fic bsides that. and omg it’s totally okay! yes–FOR A MUSE OF FIRE is sooo good and she is Asian! it is so intriguing! shadow puppet magic is a YES!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. OF COURSE also after that if you liked missing presumed dead, you should also read THAT OTHER queer gritty (not as angry) book THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE for ghosts and revenge and f/f romance. and stuff. heheh


  4. WAIT RAINBOW ROWELL WAS RACIST TOWARDS ASIANS ASDFGKH?? And YES to all these books! I love lesbian books. They’re amazing and no one shall ever convince me otherwise 🙃
    Also, *they do that kissy kissy stuff* cracked me up 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lmao the whole book Eleanor & Park was reallllly bad about talking about Park and his family lmao


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh what a wonderful list of recommendations, Vicky, thank you so much for highlighting these lovely books. I have had For A Muse of Fire on my TBR for, well, forever and I can’t WAIT to read it ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. of course, marie! and omg, it felt like I had it on there forever too! it took me MONTHS to get in the right mood, but wow did it pay off

      Liked by 1 person

    1. AHHH THANK YOU! the middle part of that book gave me so many TBDATE vibes bc 😥

      and omg PLEASE DO THE BRILLIANT DEATH IS SO AMAZING AND WE’RE GETTING A SEQUEL TOO (it’s not a cliff hanger tho) SO !!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand! It has a f/f romance and an asexual character, and all the acephobia is called out and challenged on-page (and she gets a happy ending!). It’s also a super interesting story and plot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooooh yes! I’ve heard good things about Sawkill Girls and actually checked it out from my library….and then returned it. oops. but YES *grabby hands*

      Liked by 1 person

    1. omg yes! on a technical level, it’s such a well written book. I think some people might struggle to connect with it, but I hope you don’t turn out to be one!

      Liked by 1 person

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