14 Must-Have Gay Romance Novels To Spice Up The Bookshelf
Gay romance novels are kind of the best. You get to live vicariously through the characters, enjoying all the love and sex with none of the consequences, all while giving your brain a little flex.
Some avid bibliophiles don’t take the romance genre seriously. But trust us—plenty of books that center on LGBTQ love stories cross the line from genre into art. To help you figure out what’s next on your to-read list, we’ll give you a little teaser about 14 of our favorites in the field of gay lit.
14 LGBTQ romances to add to your list
Whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, or get a horny history lesson, these 14 novels are sure to please. And while you can find them on Amazon, we’ll show you how to buy each book on Bookshop.org, an online bookseller that sends the profits from your purchase directly to a local bookstore of your choice. They even have an entire section for LGBTQ reads!
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
When a compromising photo threatens the fame of Luc O’Donnell, the bisexual son of two ’90s rockstars, he agrees to fake a relationship with Oliver Blackwood, a respectable lawyer who’s totally boyfriend material (and Luc’s polar opposite). As Luc and Oliver navigate their differences, they find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other, despite the challenges of their respective pasts and wildly different personalities.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s queer reimagining of The Iliad travels back to Ancient Greece, retelling the Trojan War from the perspective of Patroclus, an exiled prince who ultimately becomes Achilles’ lover. A mix of historical fiction, mythology, and gay romance, The Song of Achilles features well-drawn characters, intricate world-building, and positively to-die-for prose.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Ever wondered how history might have looked if a Kennedy fell for the Prince of Wales? Casey McQuiston fleshes out a similar fantasy in Red, White & Royal Blue. The story follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, the U.S. President’s son, who has a long-standing feud with Henry, the Prince of Wales. When their rivalry threatens relations between the two countries, Alex and Henry hatch a plan to avoid an international crisis by faking a friendship — but when their platonic relationship develops into a real romance, things get complicated, just like we like it.
Hot Head by Damon Suede
For 10 years, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has been in love with Dante Anastagio, his (unfortunately straight) partner. Knowing his coworkers won’t accept his sexuality, Dante keeps his crush a secret — until Dante proposes the two make some money by launching HotHead.com, a gay porn website. A little bit romance, a little bit erotica, Hot Head’s complex characters and steamy sex scenes make this gay novel well worth the read.
Buy it in paperback or hardcover on Bookshop.org.
What if It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
LGBTQ romance is a hit with Gen Z, and What if It’s Us is no exception. This coming-of-age novel follows Arthur and Ben, two boys who have a magical first date after a meet-cute in a New York City post office. Things take a complicated turn when the two get separated, and they spend the rest of the novel trying to reunite while navigating the ups and downs of teenage life.
gay-romance-novelsCall Me by Your Name by André Aciman
Even if you haven’t yet read André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name, you’ve probably seen the critically acclaimed film adaptation starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. This beautifully written coming-of-age novel explores the romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman and his father's 24-year-old graduate student, Oliver, during a summer in Italy in the 1980s. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction in 2008, Call Me by Your Name still ranks highly on most lists of the best gay romance novels.
Bear, Otter, and the Kid by T.J. Klune
T.J. Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid is a coming-of-age book about a gay man named Bear who’s been raising his younger brother, the Kid, since their mother abandoned them as children. When Otter, the older brother of Bear's best friend, returns to town after a long absence, Bear begins to realize his true feelings for him, but his own fears, insecurities, and brotherly responsibilities stand in the way of a relationship.
This one’s not available on Bookshop.org, but you can buy the book in paperback, audiobook, or for Kindle on Amazon.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper, the popular Netflix series, began as a graphic novel series that follows Charlie Spring, a shy, openly gay teenager who finds himself sitting beside a rugby player named Nick Nelson one morning at school. When Charlie develops a crush on Nick, a popular jock, their feelings for each other deepen as they navigate the challenges of coming out and dealing with a lack of acceptance from family and friends.
Each book in the series is available on Bookshop.org. Start with volume one in paperback or hardcover.
Try by Ella Frank
Logan Mitchell, a lawyer accustomed to getting what he wants, sets his sights on Tate Morrison, a new hire at Logan’s favorite Chicago bar who’s still licking his wounds after divorcing his awful ex-wife. Tate resists Logan’s advances until one explosive night at the bar unleashes a desire he’s never experienced before. Try is the first book in the acclaimed M/M Temptation series, which critics praise for its engaging writing, complex characters, and captivating romance.
Buy book one in the six-part series on Amazon in paperback, audiobook, and for Kindle.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Dev Deshpande’s love life is a mess, but his career as a reality dating show producer follows the script to the letter. When disgraced tech genius Charlie, the show’s new star, struggles to connect with the female contestants, he and Dev set off on a world tour to get the show back on track — only to find that their chemistry is far stronger than what Charlie shares with the women waiting in the wings.
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
Armed with a healthy trust fund, a beautiful fiancée, and a promising future with the FBI, Austin Glass’ dreams are all coming into focus. But when a murder, a former male sex worker, and a potentially career-ending obsession threaten to derail his plans, Austin realizes just how fragile the mask he’s been wearing really is. If you’re a fan of sharp wit, redheads, bunny slippers, and page-turning mysteries, Shattered Glass is an M/M romance you’ll return to again and again.
Buy it in paperback on Bookshop.org.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
In Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the book that inspired the hit film Love, Simon, Becky Albertalli tells the story of Simon Spier, a 16-year-old high school student who has yet to come out as gay to his family and friends. When Simon begins exchanging emails with “Blue,” a mysterious boy whose identity remains unknown, Simon finds himself falling in love. Simon works to uncover Blue's true identity while enduring the stress of coming out to his loved ones. Critics and fans love this coming-of-age story’s relatable characters, humor, and heartfelt depiction of the LGBTQ experience.
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy
Football-loving film student Simon Murray has all but resigned himself to a life of loneliness. But one night at a party, he defends the honor of Declan Tyler, the local football team’s star forward, not realizing Declan himself is also at the party. This contemporary gay romance story grapples with the stress of coming out in the hyper-masculine world of sports, a challenge Declan will have to face head-on if he wants to keep his career — and the relationship he and Simon have both been waiting for.
Buy book one in the four-part series on Amazon in paperback, audiobook, and for Kindle.
Fake Out by Eden Finley
Desperate to escape the pressure to marry his childhood sweetheart, Maddox tells her he’s gay and flees to New York. It’s a lie — or so he thinks. When Maddox’s ex-girlfriend invites him to her wedding five years later, he bribes his best friend’s brother to be his plus-one to keep up the gay charade. But when things heat up between them, Maddox realizes there might be something to the saying that there’s a little truth in every lie.
Buy it in paperback on Bookshop.org.
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