Books Featuring Queer Siblings

Laura Sackton

Senior Contributor

Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You can catch her on Instagram shouting about the queer books she loves and sharing photos of the walks she takes in the hills of Western Mass (while listening to audiobooks, of course).

As soon as I finished Sonora Reyes’s brilliant YA novel The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, I fell down an internet rabbit hole because I wanted more queer sibling books, STAT. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes reading about queer siblings so satisfying, but I can’t get enough of them. Maybe it’s because, as the lone queer person in my immediate family, I often daydream about having queer siblings. What would it feel like to share the experience of queerness with a sibling? Or maybe it’s because I am not the only queer person in my extended family, and I know exactly how it feels to have queer cousins: it’s the best thing. I turn to queer sibling stories because they affirm something I know in my bones: how precious it is to have other queer people in your family of origin.

There aren’t nearly enough queer sibling books yet, but this list is definitely a start. In some of them, the sibling relationships are front and center. In others, these relationships are just a small part of the book. Sometimes the fact of their shared queerness is the thing that defines the characters and their relationships to each other. And sometimes that shared queernesses is quiet, hardly spoken aloud. I love how many the different ways these authors have found to portray queer siblings in all their complexity.

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes book cover

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

This joy-filled but thoughtful YA novels follows Mexican American teenager Yamilet through a turbulent school year at a new Catholic school. She’s dealing with racism from her peers, trying to keep her queerness hidden despite a new crush, working to support herself for fear of being rejected by her family, and trying to be there for her brother through his struggles with mental health. It’s a lot. Reyes’s writing is full of compassion, and while this book doesn’t avoid tough subjects, it’s ultimately hopeful.

Cover of Man O' War

Man o’ War by Cory McCarthy

River is a trans swimmer trying to figure out who they are and what they want in a small Midwestern town. Their story is messy and circular and full of ups and downs. It unfolds over a long time period, capturing River’s early teens and their years in college. This feels true to life — River changes and grows so much, and in so many different ways, as they move through the world. It makes for an intense, emotional, and satisfying read.

Cover of High School

High School by Tegan and Sara Quin

As far as real-life queer siblings go, twins Tegan and Sara are definitely some of the best well-known and well-loved, especially in the LGBTQ community. In this joint memoir, they write about growing up in Calgary, Alberta, in the 1990s. They reflect on their formative childhood years, their parents’ divorce, their first loves, and the beginnings of their music career.

cove of The Other Mother by Rachel M. Harper

The Other Mother by Rachel M. Harper

There’s so much queer family in this book! A queer sibling relationship is just one of the many kinds of queer familial relationships Harper explores. It’s a beautiful intergenerational family saga that unfolds across decades and through various POVs. It’s about parenthood and making art, finding your roots and running from them, holding onto secrets and letting them go, forgiveness and loss, and so much more.

Book cover of Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzalez

In this charming and often hilarious novel, a teenager who runs a popular anonymous advice column learns the hard way that navigating relationships is a whole lot more complicated than telling people how to navigate them. Darcy is an A+ bisexual whirlwind, and this book has a little bit of everything: friendship, romance, family drama, queer joy, intense growth, and an in-the-background-but-super-grounding queer sibling relationship.

It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian Book Cover

It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian

This historical romance stars Phillip, a grumpy, grieving sea captain who doesn’t know what to do with his rowdy children, and Ben, a charming, affable vicar who loves kids and dogs. It’s not about queer siblings, exactly, but it is the first in Cat Sebastian’s Seducing the Sedgwicks series, which is very much about queer siblings, as Ben’s two brothers find love in the subsequent books. There’s nothing better than a good family romance series, especially when everyone in the family is queer!

cover of The Family Outing

The Family Outing by Jessi Hempel

If you’re skeptical about how realistic a romance series about three queer brothers is, here’s a memoir for you! Because, spoiler alert: there are plenty of families in which all the siblings are queer. In this warmhearted book about change and growth, Jessi Hempel recounts what happened after almost everyone in her family her came out: she and her dad are gay, her brother is trans, and her sister is bi. It’s a beautiful story about one family’s messy journey from keeping secrets and pretending everything was fine to finding wholeness and happiness — though not in the way any of them expected.

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar book cover

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

The queer sibling storyline in this novel is subtle — so subtle you might miss it. But that’s part of why I’m including it: not all queer sibling stories are flashy. This is a gorgeous book about a Syrian American trans man who finds an unexpected connection to his family’s queer history while researching a bird artist his mother loved. It’s a moving story about immigrant communities, queer lineage, and the homes queer and trans people have built for and with each other throughout history.

Looking for more books about queer families? Check out these books about queer parents, and these romance series that feature found families. And if it’s sibling books you’re after, we’ve got you covered with these 100 must-read books about siblings.