Most often developed in childhood, your attachment style dictates how you form relationships with family, friends, and significant others. Are you prone to fleeing at the first sign of intimacy? Do you love the chase of a relationship, but worry about rejection the minute your affection is returned? Do partners often say you’re hot and cold depending on the day? You probably have one of the three insecure attachment styles: anxious/preoccupied, avoidant/dismissive, or disorganized/fearful. For those who have high self-esteem, can handle rejection, and view failed relationships in a mostly unbiased light, you’re sure to land solidly in the secure attachment style.
Regardless of where you fall on the attachment style spectrum, here are some young adult LGBTQ+ novels that will appeal to the way you experience friendships and romance.
If you constantly need reassurance from your significant other, love flirting and receiving attention, and take the slightest disappointment in your partner’s actions as a relationship-threatening blow, you probably have an anxious/preoccupied attachment style. Individuals with this style have a hard time being single, struggle with low self-esteem, and are often clingy with their romantic partners or friends. They develop an immense fear of rejection while in a relationship and are extremely dependent on those they have relationships with.
As someone who gets a severe confidence boost from attention, tropes like love triangles, forbidden love, and slow burn feed right into what you like most about relationships. The attention from two different people without having to choose one? A great confidence boost. Your romantic partner defies their family, circumstances, even fate to be with you? That’s got to feel good. Realizing too late you’re in love with that idiot you’ve been running around with? Well, your fear of rejection is moot. You’re well past that point, now. Read these to satisfy your anxious/preoccupied heart:
Ironspark by C.M. McGuire
This fae-filled sapphic love triangle will satisfy your craving for attention. Big time. Why settle for attention from one person if you can get it from two? The main character, Bryn, struggles with showing emotion, is often stuck in her own head, and idolizes those around her. Sound familiar? Of course not. You definitely don’t do any of those things. But, if you did like that sort of thing, Ironspark is the novel for you.
Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood by Anna Burke
A gender-bent Robin Hood retelling with a lesbian romance between Robyn and the Sheriff of Nottingham’s daughter? Yes, please. It’s easy to forget about your fear of rejection when your significant other defies their entire family to be with you. It’s you and them against the world, now. Robyn, her band of misfits, and her off-limits love set out to commit a heist to take down the greedy tax-enacting Sheriff in a tale you’re sure to love.
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
This slow burn sapphic romance between two teenage outcasts set against the stars is sure to instill hope in even the most anxious of hearts. Ryann’s dreams of space travel rendered impossible by her circumstances, The Weight of the Stars explores loss, dreams, and friendship that develops into something more. It says, you can be afraid and you can be flawed and still you can still love. If you’re searching for signs in the stars that you are worthy, look no further. The stars are answering back.
If you’re not afraid to be alone (in fact maybe you even prefer it), tend to focus more on your professional development, and only let relationships get to surface level before you go running, you, like me, have an avoidant/dismissive attachment style. Characterized by getting annoyed by romantic partners for the smallest things, seeking out reasons to end a relationship for “no reason,” and going running the minute things get serious, the avoidant/dismissive style features a high view of the self and a low view of others.
As the kind of person who flees at any sign of intimacy, tropes like stuck together/bed-sharing, fake dating, and dare-dating are right up your alley. You can’t avoid someone you’re trapped with, right? And you skip past all that fear when every touch, kiss, and feeling is pretend. Read these and feel seen from a distance, just like you like it:
Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins, Translated by Larissa Helena
Felipe’s long-time crush Caio is just that: a crush. But now he’s staying with Felipe for 15 days over break while his family goes on vacation. There’s no school to serve as a distraction. No, it’s just 15 days of Caio. It’s hard to avoid someone you’re living with. Even harder to avoid those feelings you so wants to flee from. Too bad there’s nowhere Felipe can go.
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse’s got a no-relationships rule. No feelings means no heartbreak. But that doesn’t mean she can’t do all the fun parts of falling in love with this cute girl, Ruby, right? Their relationship has a deadline, which is perfect for not getting too attached. When a break-up is planned, it can’t hurt. Saoirse forgot what happens after the falling-in-love montages in all of those romantic comedies they emulate: feelings. But by the time she realizes, it’s already too late.
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee (May 4, 2021)
Fantasizing about romance but not experiencing it yourself is a key avoidant/dismissive characteristic. Resident romance expert Noah runs The Meet Cute Diary, a blog of trans romances. But, when he’s caught lying about his romantic history, he needs some way to minimize the damage. Then Noah meets Drew. A fake-dating plan ensues. Crisis averted. And if Noah’s fake feelings start to veer into real territory, no one needs to know. It’s all fake anyway, right? Right?
If bits and pieces of both anxious/preoccupied and avoidant/dismissive feel like they fit you, you might be a disorganized/fearful. Characterized by swinging wildly between both, people who have this attachment style desire closeness, but are unable to develop the deep connection they desire. The process of trusting people is scary or even painful. They often feel misunderstood and are summarized by the phrase “come here, go away.”
As someone who identifies with both of the attachment styles above, tropes like found family, friends-to-lovers, and soulmates are sure to satisfy. Having a band of people, willing to fight anyone who harms you? That trust is hard earned and you’d fight for them too. Having a friend you already trust, and for a long time, confess their feelings? Great, now you don’t have to open yourself up to someone new. Found your soulmate? Even better. They can’t reject you, right? Read these to prove you deserve that connection you so desire:
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel can see spirits, a gift from the ancient goddess of death. On a quest to prove himself and set the ghost of his murdered cousin free, Yadriel accidentally summons Julian Diaz, who everyone knows is the school’s bad boy. Stuck together, and with the help of Maritza, Yadriel’s best friend, the trio embark on tying up loose ends. This Latinx found family ghost-filled romance is sure to dispel both your fear of rejection and those pesky avoidant tendencies.
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
Isolation to engagement stories are sure to teach you to trust a little more and this novel is no exception. Mila, now aged out of foster care, has, well, no one. And nothing. Offered a job at an isolated farm, she takes it. Anything for a place to call home, right? The memories that surface and the ghosts that come along with it are minor irritants. Nothing to worry about. Until, that is, they show Mila how to open up again. Maybe it’ll teach you how along with her.
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
This Romeo and Juliet retelling featuring two bisexual leads is charming from the outside. From families of rivaling comic stores, Jubilee and Ridley are instantly drawn to each other when they meet at a comic convention. Striking out on a secret relationship, they’re in deeper than either of them are prepared for. They’re soulmates, right? Meant to be. The rivalry between their families is nothing. But, maybe that co-dependent connection you crave so much isn’t so healthy after all.
If you’re able to connect easily, trust a lot, and believe you’re worthy of love, you’ve got a secure attachment style. Romantic slights, friendship break-ups, and falling outs hurt, sure, but you’re able to bounce back. Just because something bad happened doesn’t mean you can’t love again. You’re able to objectively see what happened and do better next time.
As someone who can deal with a lot and still recover, you can read anything. Monster boyfriends, second chance romances, enemies to lovers, it’s all free rein. You know there are monsters in the world, yes, and hey, maybe they deserve love too. Had your heart broken? Oh well, you’re open to trying again. And that enemy of yours? Maybe they did horrible stuff, but you know, deep down, they’re worthy of love the same way you are. Read these to dig into the messier areas of love and come out full of hope, just like you always do:
The Henna Wars by (Book Riot Contributor) Adiba Jaigirdar
Rival henna business owners Nishat and Flávia falling in love while going head-to-head in a school competition is just as messy and complicated as you’d expect. Even more so when the topic of cultural appropriation is tossed into the mix. But, you’re secure. You can handle a little bit of disaster with your sapphic enemies-to-loves romance. You know, just as Nishat and Flávia do, that deep down, the heart wants what it wants.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Ollie and Will fall in love over summer vacation. Or, at least Ollie thinks they do. When their perfect summer is over, Will stops replying. Ollie’s been ghosted. Then he’s forced to move across the country and start at a new school. And who does he run into on his first day but Will, now-distant and strange. This second-chance romance is sure to hurt. To dig into all your insecurities right along with Ollie. But, maybe it can dig into the magic of second chances, too.
The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig
August isn’t interested in the vampires his town is teeming with. Not at all. Except, that is, until he finds out he’s chosen as the vessel for an angel who may or may not be planning to do some damage on Earth. Oh, and he’s thrust in the middle of a gay vampire love triangle. As per usual in Fulton Heights. The relationships in this are messy and dangerous, but you can handle it. In fact, you just might delight in this complicated, magic-filled, delightful paranormal romp.