Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

4 YA Books About Fake Dating, the LGBTQ+ Edition

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

The In Between by Marc Klein, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Seventeen-year-old Tessa Jacobs doesn’t believe she deserves love. But everything changes after a chance encounter with Skylar, a senior from a neighboring town who’s a true romantic. Tessa starts to believe she might be deserving of a happy ending after all. When tragedy strikes, Tessa wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. And Skylar has passed away. As Tessa searches for answers, Skylar’s spirit reaches out to her from the other side. Desperate to see him, Tessa must unravel the pieces of their relationship — and the truth might lead her into the afterlife itself.

Fake dating is one of the oldest and most beloved romantic tropes and we’ve seen it play out in so many different time periods and settings, from Daphne and Simon in Bridgerton to Nick and Norah in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist to Lara Jean and Peter K in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. But because this month is Pride, and this is a trope we can’t get enough of, today I’m going to be highlighting some great new YA books about fake dating, with romances featuring LGBTQ+ couples!

She Drives Me Crazy from Fake Dating Books 2021 |

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Scottie is a basketball player who’s been off her game since her ex and former teammate Tally transferred to the next school district over, and broke up with her on her way out. When a terrible match against Tally leads to Scottie getting in a fender bender with Irene, the head cheerleader, she doesn’t think things could get worse…until their moms force them into a carpooling situation. But sharing a ride with Irene makes Tally jealous, and soon Scottie devises an ill-advised scheme to get back at Tally by fake dating Irene. But cool-as-ice Irene isn’t quite as impenetrable as Scottie thought, and when she starts to catch feelings for the cheerleader, she’s forced to deal with the real emotional baggage from her relationship with Tally.

Meet Cute Diary cover

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Noah started writing his blog Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans love stories, as a way to give himself hope when he was still closeted and afraid. He never imagined that the blog would attract such a wide readership. Just like he never expected that a troll would expose the stories as fiction rather than the real-life romances he’s been claiming they are. Desperate to save his credibility, Noah needs a way to prove to his readers that trans love is real. Just then, Drew enters his life, willing to fake date Noah to save the blog’s reputation. But romance IRL isn’t quite the same as discovering love on the page.

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating cover

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

It’s right there in the title! Hani is one of the most popular girls at school, but when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they dismiss her news and her identity by saying she can’t really be bisexual unless she dates a girl. Hani panics and claims she does have a girlfriend — Ishu, another Bengali girl in their school, and a serious academic overachiever who has set her sights on becoming head girl. And Hani’s friends just happen to hate her. But Ishu agrees to play along because she hopes that Hani’s popularity will rub off on her. The last thing either of them expects is for real feelings to develop. This is a great new romance, written by a Book Riot contributor!

Love and Other Natural Disasters from Fake Dating Books 2021 |

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura

When Willow asks Nozomi to post as her fake girlfriend in order to make her ex jealous, Nozomi jumps at the chance. She’s been crushing on Willow for ages, and this is the perfect opportunity to get close to her and prove that Nozomi has what it takes to be the best girlfriend that Willow could ask for. But Nozomi’s plans to heal Willow’s broken heart and to find romance herself don’t go as planned. In fact, there’s nothing more disastrous than a fake romance when very real feelings are involved!

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