The past year has been wonderful for LGBTQ romance, and this list brings together 10 of the best books published over the past 12 months. You’ll find picks from a variety of sub-genres — including contemporary, rom-com, historical, and fantasy! While their settings and storylines vary widely, they have one connecting theme. Each one centers on a queer couple whose personal breakthroughs are just as thoughtful and compelling as their journeys together.
Whether you’re hoping to spot your personal favorites or are looking for romance recs for your New Year’s TBR that you may have missed in 2023, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. Here’s to more queer love stories in 2024!
Interested in reading more of the best LGBTQ books released in 2023? This round-up is just the tip of the iceberg. Visit 8 Incredible New Books by Trans Women and Transfeminine Authors for more recommendations, including Bellies by Nicola Dinan and Tar Hollow Trans by Stacy Jane Grover. Plus, for underrated favorites (defined here as books with less than 250 ratings on Goodreads), check out 12 Queer Books from the First Half of 2023 You Might Have Missed, like Any Other City by Hazel Jane Plante and Journal of a Black Queer Nurse by Britney Daniels.
Stars in Your Eyes by Kacen Callender
When rising actor Mattie Cole is cast alongside established star Logan Grey in an upcoming movie and must fake date for publicity, on-screen chemistry turns into something real. In each other, both find someone who shows compassion for them and helps them process their traumatic pasts.
All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim
Pianist Quito Cruz is reluctant to return to his hometown, but when his dad asks for his help planning a charity performance, he promises he will. But he’s not the only one coming home for the event. Emmett Aoki, his first-love-turned-Hollywood star, agrees to help as well. In the weeks leading up to the performance, the two must navigate 20 years of estrangement and the feelings between them.
Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake
Between a history of heartbreak and a family who refuses to understand, Iris Kelly turns to casual hookups in the hopes of protecting her heart. What she doesn’t expect is falling for Stevie Scott after a one-night stand gone wrong leads to the two being cast alongside each other in a local production of Much Ado About Nothing.
Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander
Luna O’Shea is a transgender woman who receives an unexpected proposition from Jean-Pierre, a trans man and heir to a culinary TV empire. He is in need of a fake girlfriend to appease his family and someone willing to help him pass a cooking test with his fortune on the line. Luna hesitantly agrees but, as the months pass, discovers real sparks between her and Jean-Pierre.
A quick mention for Second Chances in New Port Stephens, another delightful rom-com by Alexander released this past year that explores transmasculine identity and the way love both changes and stays the same over time.
Liar City by Allie Therin
Set in an alternate Seattle where those with magical abilities are demonized, Reece is an empath with an innate knowledge of when people are lying. When a politician known for their anti-empath bills is murdered, Reece must investigate with a special agent who’s as dangerous as his legendary code name: The Dead Man. Evan Grayson, or The Dead Man, is the only person Reece can’t get a read on.
We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian
Nick Russo is a closeted gay man pursuing his journalist dreams in 1950s New York City, all the while falling for his friend Andy Fleming. When Andy’s girlfriend leaves him, and he moves in with Nick, the two slowly build a home together and realize that a happy life together isn’t as impossible as they think.
Can’t Let Her Go by Kianna Alexander
Peaches Monroe and Jamie Hunt are best friends with different dreams and responsibilities to consider for their future. Jamie longs to leave Austin, Texas, and return to college. Peaches is caring for her family in the wake of her mother’s death and has her barbershop to consider. But both realize their friendship has turned into something more — and they are willing to overcome everything in their way for a chance at love.
Love at 350° By Lisa Peers
High school chemistry teacher Tori Moore is shocked when she is accepted to be an American Bake-o-Rama TV contestant, even more so when she meets celebrity judge Kendra Campbell. As feelings for Kendra begin to blossom for Tori and the competition ramps up the heat with each passing week, she begins to wonder…is it possible Kendra feels the same for her?
One Night in Hartswood by Emma Denny
When his sister’s fiancé — William de Foucart, an earl whom neither sibling has met — disappears, Raff Barden is called to track him down. Little does he know that his traveling companion, Penn, is the earl in disguise, determined to escape an abusive home and a name that never fit him. As Penn and Raff grow closer on the road and trust each other with their secrets, soon, neither can see a future without the other’s companionship.
A Shot in the Dark by Victoria Lee
After moving back to New York City for an MFA in photography, Ely Cohen has a romantic night with Wyatt Cole after meeting him at a queer bar — not realizing that he is the same photographer she will be studying under. Now she must not only navigate complicated feelings about her ex-Orthodox identity through her art project on Jewish spirituality, but also the sparks between her and Ely.