New Adult LGBTQ romance: a genre I would love to see so much more of. The first NA romcom I fell head over heels in love with is once you may be familiar with. A little book called Red, White and Royal Blue — heard of it? I was swept away by the humor and charm and loved seeing characters that were closer to my age (if not my life experience — not remotely a royal here, just saying).
If you’re not familiar with the term new adult, it refers to the genre of books with characters at an age between YA and adult, thus: new adult. The characters are typically in their 20s, sometimes in college, sometimes working, almost always trying to figure out how the heck to handle this thing called adulthood. It’s a highly relatable genre that has sometimes struggled to find a place in publishing, but the unique experiences of readers that age makes it one I hope will continue to grow and find success in the future. And particularly when it comes to queer new adult, the intricacies of exploring and discovering sexuality or gender identity, dating, and expressing your truest self, there is so much to explore in new adult LGBTQ romance stories.
And while it’s true that I would love to see so many more book coming out in this genre, that isn’t to say that there aren’t already some great books to start with. In addition to my beloved RWRB, these new adult LGBTQ romance books are a great place to start exploring the genre.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
When it comes to dreamy (and somewhat steamy) NA romcoms, Casey McQuiston is my go-to. Red, White and Royal Blue was the book that hooked me on NA romance, and One Last Stop only confirmed it. This book is full of queer found family, late-night diner antics, and a touch of subway time travel shenanigans, and it’s a romp of a read from start to finish.
Their next book slated for publication, I Kissed Shara Wheeler, is YA, but I imagine we’ll see some more great NA romcoms from them in the future.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
You might think accidental marriage is just a trope from your favorite fanfic, but for PhD student Grace Porter and her (apparent) new wife Yuki Yamamoto, it’s all too real. Grace is just trying to figure out life, make her strict dad proud, and keep her best friends from imploding. She doesn’t have time for a wife, much less one she doesn’t even remember marrying. But after losing out on a big job and having a massive panic attack, she starts questioning everything. Maybe the perfect way to figure out what she really wants is to finally get to know the woman she drunkenly decided was the girl of her dreams. Despite being in her late 20s, Grace’s growing pains and experiences put her on a coming-of-age journey that is every bit NA.
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
A romance book club, a hopeless romantic, and a motorcycle-riding bad boy? Sounds like a meet cute waiting to happen for me. After offending romance reader Jordan by calling his favorite genre grandma reading material, Rex Bailey is determined to make it up to him by joining his romance book club. Reading every romance book he can get his hands on might convince Rex there’s more to these books than meets the eye, but will it get the guy who believes happily ever afters only exist on the page to agree to go out on a date with him?
I Kissed a Girl by Jennet Alexander
A makeup artist and an up-and-coming horror movie actress fall for each other in this NA romance featuring two Jewish women trying to survive life, love, and Hollywood. Their connection is forged over long hours in the makeup chair, Noa helping Lilah shine on screen. But can the bond they’ve developed behind-the-scenes survive being put in the spotlight?
Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie Bell
One drunken night with her ex leaves Poppy with a positive pregnancy test and a future she wasn’t exactly ready for. Joining a knitting group seems like a way to get ready for this new life, one stitch at a time. But when the leader of the group, Rhiannon, turns out to be the same woman who escorted her into Planned Parenthood and also possibly the girl of her dreams, things get complicated. Is now really the best time to be looking for love? Then again, with a baby on the way, maybe it’s exactly the right time.
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Alexis thinks her sister’s bachelorette party is just the cap to a terrible year she can put behind her as soon as the bridesmaid dress is packed away. She doesn’t expect her freshman year of college to change any of that. But then the last person she ever expected to see again shows up in her class: the stripper from her sister’s bachelorette. The girl she remembers as Treasure is really Trisha, and she can’t help but notice the baby butch she remembers from that party, too. She’s finally saved up enough money for a four-year university, but she just can’t seem to keep her eyes off Alexis. Even that might not be enough for Alexis to risk her heart after everything she’s been through, but there’s only one way to find out.
Fresh by Margot Wood
College freshman Elliot McHugh has no idea what she’s doing with her life, much less how to weather the trials and travails of life as a bisexual woman with ADHD. Other students might be worried about declaring their majors, but Elliot is more concerned with parties and having the best sex of her life. Except the sex isn’t always that good and the parties aren’t necessarily fun. But she’ll tell you all about that and the lessons she’s learned from it in this novel loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma.
Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell
Charlotte Hilaire gets to travel the world doing work as a museum courier. Sometimes, things don’t quite go as planned, though. Like when a blizzard strands her in Spain. It might not be such a bad thing though, since her grad school crush invites her to stay on her pull out sofa for a few days. Were they always meant to be? Maybe. But living an ocean apart and trying to figure out a new long-distance relationship isn’t easy, especially when career decisions and life choices get in the way.
Release date: October 26, 2021
Learn about the New Adult genre and find more great LGBTQ romances: