Figuring out who you are can be really hard, especially as a young queer person. Trying to navigate the world, often without a queer elder to help you out, can be scary and overwhelming. Luckily, we have some amazing books that can guide the way, and help us see the joy that queer adulthood can be.
I love books with queer protagonists! It feels so affirming to see the hero of the story be one of my own people. Often, especially in YA, they are experiencing the same struggles that I went through, or am still going through. That’s when it becomes really nice to have an adult who has “been there, done that” and is ready to help.
Queer parents just understand the queer experience that much more, so getting to see them pop in books and be thriving is a wonderful experience. It can remind young readers that there is hope, and good things to come. It can also be a great thing for queer parents to share with their children.
This list has a bunch of wonderful YA books with queer parents and grandparents. Each one is unique and lovely, and I can’t wait for you read them and share them with those you love.
America, Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Riveria and Joe Quiñones
America Chavez finally gets a break from the Young Avengers and is trying to forge her own path and be her own person. But of course, things start to get a little wild, After all, it can be hard to be a queer, super-powered individual just trying to survive school. Luckily, America has her moms to support her, an incredible mentor, and some really good friends to back her up. This is a fast-paced thrill ride perfect for any comic fan.
Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan
Adopted by her two moms, Mira has always felt out of place in her mostly white community. All she knows about her mother is that she had Mira in high school and then returned to India. But then Mira finds some letters addressed to her from her birth mom and decides the time has come to learn more about where she came from. But, is she really prepared to finally meet her bio mom? This is a heartwarming story of family, belonging, and self discovery that will stay with long after reading.
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
Nova works for her grandmas’ bookshop, and knows a lot about magic and being a witch. One night her childhood crush, who is a werewolf, gets into some trouble, and it’s up to Nova to find out what happened and help her friend. Backed up by magic, her two grandmothers, and some absolutely delicious desserts, Nova and Tam work together, and maybe find something more than friendship along the way.
The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Secret Series is a delightful tale that I can’t tell you a single thing about! It’s all a secret, even the main characters names, so we just call them Cass and Max-Earnest. One day Cass finds a mysterious item delivered to her grandfathers’ antique shop, it’s said to come from the home of a magician. Cass starts to investigate and soon finds out about a secret, two secret societies, and a whole bunch of magic.
Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith
It’s really hard to be a teenage superhero. Especially one that no one knows about. Struggling to keep her powers a secret, Nubia does her best to blend in, hang out with her friends, and be normal. But how can she be normal when she secretly has super strength and other amazing powers? When a student threatens her friends and their school, Nubia steps in to save the day, and prove to her moms that she is ready to be an actual hero. The art and story in this book is simply breathtaking.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Nova has had enough with the “so-called heroes” that have taken over the world. Sure they claim they want the world to be a better place, but they killed her uncle. After an attack goes wrong, Nova must go undercover with these people to bring an end to their rule. But are they as corrupt as she thought? Or are they really trying to do good in the world? This is a fantastic book with a very nuanced discussion about good and evil, right and wrong, and the responsibility of the powerful.
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
Monty finds a “mystical amulet” for only six bucks and decides to buy it. However, soon strange things start happening. This amulet called “the Eye of Know” seems to cause strange things to happen to people who Monty hates. Can Monty use this newfound power for good? Like taking down the preacher who hates her moms? Or are some powers too great for one person to have? This is a delightful and magical book with truly unforgettable characters.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Bri has always been able to make plants grow from the smallest seeds, to the biggest bloom. When her moms decide it’s time to get out of Brooklyn after the death of her aunt, Bri finally has the chance to understand and control her powers. Surrounded by flowers, and idyllic vistas, not all is perfect in this new summer home. Strangers keep appearing to ask for strange elixirs, and this house seems to hold a mystery that could be the key to answering all of Bri’s questions.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
From the author of Love, Simon comes this adorable tale of Molly, who has been in love a total of 26 times. And not once has that love been returned. But, when her sister starts dating the new girl and spending less time with Molly, she cooks up a plan. She’s gonna date the brother of sister’s girlfriend, get her sister back, and, most importantly, get her first kiss. That’s the plan until for the first time Molly realizes she might actually have an impossible crush on her best friend Reid. But that can’t be? Can it?
When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
Alexis has it all! A group of best friends, and magic. But all good things must come to an end, and after a freak magical accident that results in the death of a boy, Alexis starts to feel helpless. Now this group of friends must come together to make things right, no matter how may times they fail. Which turns up being a lot. But this group has got each other’s backs and Alexis just might be remembering what brought them all together as friends in the first place. This is a dark, but heartwarming look at friendship, love, and the painful process of growing up.
These are just a few of the amazing YA books out there that feature queer parents. Some have been around a while, and some came out pretty recently, but no matter what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be the perfect book on this list for you.