An Alternative School Reading List: Here Is Every YA Novel With Lesbians


The Rules for Hearts, Sara Ryan (2007)
A companion to The Empress of the World, this book continues the story of Battle Hall Davies, who’s ready to take on Reed College in the fall. But first, her estranged brother finds her, and she spends the summer learning more about him and about herself.

Down to the Bone, Mayra Lazara Dole (2008)
Laura is a tortillera–a girl who likes girls in her Cuban-American community in Miami. When her relationship with Marlena is outed, she’s kicked out of her Catholic school, and Marlena returns to Puerto Rico to marry a dude.


Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story, Ellen Wittlinger (2008)
Marisol’s taken a year off of college to accomplish two things: writing a novel and falling in love. But as she attempts to pursue both goals, things start to get off track. Companion to Wittlinger’s 2001 Hard Love [which also features Marisol, but is told through the point of view of a straight male friend who has the misfortune of falling in love with her].

M+O 4evr, Tonya Cherie Hegamin (2008)
Opal is left reeling after the death of Marianne, whom she has always loved, but is helped by the story of a runaway slave.

Gravity, Leanne Lieberman (2008)
Ellie’s orthodox Jewish upbringing is challenged when she realizes that she’s fallen in love with a girl, and she wonders if she will have to change who she is or leave her faith.

Skim, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (2008)
A graphic novel about a sensitive, depressed girl who falls in love with her teacher.

Gone, Michael Grant (Series, Starting 2008)
In the best-selling dystopian sci-fi series where all the adults have disappeared, one of the main characters is a powerful black lesbian.

How Beautiful the Ordinary, edited by Michael Cart (2008)
A collection of short stories with entries from favorite lesbian authors Julie Anne Peters, Ariel Schrag, and Francesca Lia Block.

Ash, Malinda Lo (2009)
A lesbian retelling of Cinderella, Ash is at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and is comforted by the fairies in her dreams. But when she meets Kaisa, the King’s huntress, everything begins to change.


Rage: A Love Story, Julie Anne Peters (2009)
Johanna has a lot to deal with: the recent death of her parents, and her all-consuming, abusive relationship with her girlfriend, Reeve.

Wildthorn, Jane Eagland (2009)

Louisa is a Victorian doctor’s daughter whose life takes a dark turn when she’s imprisoned in Wildthorn Hall, and she works to understand why she was sent there. Winner of a Lambda Award.

My Invented Life, Lauren Bjorkman (2009)
Roz and Eva are close sisters, until one day Eva starts to pull away and Roz asks her Ouija board a question: “Is Eva a lesbian?” Hijinks follow on the road to the truth.

Scars, Cheryl Rainfield (2010)
The main story here clearly isn’t a lesbian love interest, although that is present, but the scars left by cutting, which Kendra does as a way to deal with the childhood abuse that haunts her.

About a Girl, Joanne Horniman (2010)
“Anna is afraid she must be unlovable—until she meets Flynn.” But after Anna and Flynn spend every moment together, secrets threaten to tear them apart.

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner (2010)
Cass deals with the death of her best friend in two different ways: a cross-country solo bike trip, and working on bringing her best friend’s dream musical, Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad, to fruition. Important discoveries are made in both adventures.


Huntress, Malindo Lo (2011)
A prequel to Ash, Huntress tells the story of two teenage girls, one magical and one not, on a mission to save their kingdom.

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