21 best new books with LGBTQ characters to read in 2022 – Business Insider
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Characters of all gender and sexual identities help queer readers see themselves in literature.
- The books on this list include a range of genres and characters, from romance to fantasy.
- All of these books are brand new and were published in 2022.
Pride Month is a time when many readers intentionally gravitate towards novels written by LGBTQ authors and featuring queer characters, but this representation matters all year long. The appearance of gay, bisexual, nonbinary, questioning, and other queer characters not only helps more readers see themselves in books but also offers more unique stories to the amazing expanse of literature in the world.
This list features LGBTQ characters of a wide range of gender and sexual identities in romance novels, fantasy adventures, contemporary fiction, and more. To create this list, we gathered recommendations from Goodreads reviewers, bestseller lists, and personal favorites. Every book features at least one LGBTQ character (though most have an exciting cast of queer side and main characters) and was published in 2022.
21 of the best new books with LGBTQ characters to read in 2022:
“Icebreaker” by A.L. Graziadei
Mickey James III is the next in a family line of history-making NHL players, but when his teammate, Jaysen Caulfield, also becomes a contender for the league’s top draft spot, their rivalry heightens and slowly transforms into something more. Besides the main gay romance of this novel, “Icebreaker” also features polyamorous, bisexual, and lesbian characters.
“The One True Me and You” by Remi K. England
Fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont can’t wait for the small but hugely exciting upcoming fandom convention where she plans to meet online friends, try out new pronouns, wear masculine cosplay, and kiss a girl for the first time. But when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up at the same hotel for a beauty pageant on the weekend of the convention, Kaylee’s plans are entirely derailed until she meets another pageant contestant with whom the sparks immediately fly.
“Lake Lore” by Anna-Marie McLemore
Though everyone who lives near the lake has heard the stories of the world beneath it, only Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia, two nonbinary teens, have actually been there. As the line between the world under the lake and the world above begin to blur, Bastián and Lore must overcome what once tore them apart and work together in this young adult fantasy read.
“Wrath Goddess Sing” by Maya Deane
“Wrath Goddess Sing” is a retelling of “The Iliad” where Achilles is a trans woman, recruited by Odyessus for war, but would rather die than fight as a man. When Athena intervenes and grants Achilles her true form, she reunites with allies, sets out for vengeance, and faces hellish battles in this fantastical novel of identity, family, and love.
“A Million Quiet Revolutions” by Robin Gow
“A Million Quiet Revolutions” is a young adult story told in verse of two trans boys who name themselves after Revolutionary War soldiers whom they discover may have been trans men in love in their own time. Aaron and Oliver have shared every milestone, but when Aaron moves away, the boys feel lost and turn to America’s past to find the power to stake their own place in history.
“Yerba Buena” by Nina LaCour
Sara Foster left her past behind when she ran away from home at 16 and has become a renowned bartender at Yerba Buena in Los Angeles. In the same city, Emilie Dubois is struggling to decide what to do with her future when she takes a job arranging flowers for Yerba Buena, where she and Sara meet and form an immediate connection. “Yerba Buena” is a contemporary love story about two women finding their way in the world, in themselves, and towards each other.
“So This Is Ever After” by F.T. Lukens
Arek has fulfilled the prophecy that said he was destined to save the kingdom, but now he’s stuck as King with a magical loophole to get married by his 18th birthday or wither away. With the deadline only three months away, Arek begins a desperate and hilarious search in all the wrong places while the romantic answer to his problem may be much closer than he suspects.
“Fevered Star” by Rebecca Roanhorse
“Fevered Star” is the second book in Rebecca Roanhorse’s “Between Earth and Sky” series and picks up as sea captain Xiala finds unlikely allies in the wake of Tova’s destruction. Starring characters of varying orientations, gender identities, and pronouns, readers are swept into an imaginative fantasy world of politics, forbidden magic, and dire consequences.
“Ophelia After All” by Racquel Marie
This young adult coming-of-age romance follows Ophelia Rojas, a self-proclaimed “boy-crazy” girl, who begins to question her sexuality when she finds herself developing a new crush on Talia Sanchez. In the blur of high school prom season, this emotional, unique, and sweet story unfolds as Ophelia navigates new friendships, complicated emotions, and the nonlinear journey of questioning and discovering who she is alongside a diverse cast of bisexual, pansexual, aromantic, biromantic asexual, and questioning side characters.
“Legends & Lattes” by Travis Baldree
This wonderfully cozy “slice-of-life” fantasy novel follows orc barbarian Viv as she leaves her warrior life behind in favor of opening a coffee shop. Tagged as “high fantasy with low stakes,” “Legends & Lattes” invites readers to enter a magical world where Viv meets new friends, learns how to run her new business, and even finds a little bit of queer love.
“The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School” by Sonora Reyes
Yamilet Flores is navigating her new white and rich Catholic school where no one knows she’s gay — and she plans to keep it that way. However, keeping her own secret proves to be nearly impossible since Bo, the only openly queer person in her school, is basically irresistible. This young adult novel deals with familial acceptance, sapphic love, and the magic of embracing our truest selves.
“Chef’s Kiss” by TJ Alexander
Simone Larkspur has a successful career as a pastry chef for a cookbook publisher but when her company decides to start making cooking videos, Simone struggles to find success in the new endeavor. Infuriatingly, the new test kitchen manager, Ray, accidentally becomes a viral YouTube star and Simone must work beside them or risk her job. But the more time they spend together, the more Simone’s heart softens for Ray and makes her want to stick by their side as they come out as nonbinary to a wave of mixed reactions.
“You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty” by Akwaeke Emezi
With bisexual and lesbian characters, “You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty” follows Feyi Adekola as she sets out to reignite her life and find love five years after an accident that killed the love of her life. After a chance encounter leads to a whirlwind summer beyond Feyi’s wildest dreams, her new relationship is sabotaged when she meets the one person she could never be with yet leaves her wondering just how far she would go for another chance at love.
“The Romantic Agenda” by Claire Kann
Asexual Joy has been secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm for years, but when he meets the love of his life, Summer, he invites Joy to join them and Summer’s friend on a vacation, hoping she’ll keep Summer’s friend occupied during the trip. Heartbroken, Joy and the friend, Fox, pretend to fall in love to make Malcolm jealous, but find they may be more fit for each other than they could have imagined.
“The Boy with a Bird in His Chest” by Emme Lund
“The Boy with a Bird in His Chest” is a new fantasy novel about Owen Tanner who lives with a chatty bird inside his chest. When a forest fire forces Owen to flee the home in which he’s spent a decade hiding from the world, he’s thrust into a world that’s both terrifying and joyful in this novel about embracing our truest selves in a story that’s brought to life with several queer characters and magical realism.
“Siren Queen” by Nghi Vo
In pre-Code Hollywood, studios run on a dark system of magic sacrifices and blood bargains where fame comes at a great cost but Luli Wei is desperate and will do whatever it takes to reach stardom. Readers love how “Siren Queen” tackles prevalent issues including racism and LGBTQ rights under the backdrop of 1930s Hollywood featuring a lesbian main character.
“A Lady for a Duke” by Alexis Hall
This compelling historical fiction novel features trans heroine Lady Viola Caroll who takes the opportunity to finally live as herself after being presumed dead at Waterloo, though it comes at the cost of her title, her wealth, and her dear friend, the Duke of Gracewood. Years later, Viola and the Duke reconnect and rekindle old feelings that may still prove dangerous in this rich romance read by the same author who wrote “Boyfriend Material.”
“Boys Come First” by Aaron Foley
“Boys Come First” is a story about three Black, gay men looking for love, friendship, and acceptance in Detroit, which seems to be constantly changing around them. Inspired by the author’s personal experiences and conversations, Troy, Dominick, and Remy lean on each other as they navigate their professional lives, challenging relationships, and gentrification.
“I Kissed Shara Wheeler” by Casey McQuiston
A month before graduation, Chloe Green’s high school nemesis, Shara Wheeler, kisses her and two other classmates before disappearing leaving a cryptic trail of clues for each of them to follow. “I Kissed Shara Wheeler” features a queer romance at the novel’s forefront but also includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, nonbinary, and gender-questioning side characters as Chloe teams up with Shara’s boyfriend and neighbor to follow the clues and get Shara back before graduation.
“D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding” by Chencia C. Higgins
On the reality TV show “Instant I Do,” strangers have six weeks to plan a wedding a convince their families that they’re getting married with a $100,000 prize at stake if no one guesses their relationship is fake. Kris is looking for her big break as an influencer and D’Vaughn is looking to finally come out to her mom, but when the two meet on the show, they find their chemistry is anything but fake.
“The Verifiers” by Jane Pek
Claudia Lin is used to keeping secrets from her family, like the fact that she’s gay and has just been recruited by a referrals-only detective agency for online dating. When a mysterious death occurs, Claudia knows she must break protocol and investigate in this novel that’s part mystery and part family story.
Sign up for Insider Reviews’ weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.
Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].