Riot Headline Book Riot’s 2024 Read Harder Challenge

Read Harder 2017: Read a YA/MG by an Author Who Identifies at LGBTQ+

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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.

One of the book challenges I’m most excited about for the Book Riot 2017 Read Harder Challenge is “read a YA or MG book by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+”! Middle grade and YA books are more than diverse than ever (but we still have a ways to go), and while it’s great to see so many new books include LGBTQ+ characters of all ages, I’m excited that this challenge supports and highlights #ownvoices. And luckily for us, there are so many great books to choose from!

Before we dive in, I want to address why our YA list is going to be longer than the MG list. First off, YA authors tend to be a bit more visibly out in their public author lives than MG writers are. While every writer has their own personal and professional reasons for this, I highly encourage you to read Alex London’s article “Why I Came Out As a Gay Children’s Writer” to understand why being open about their sexuality can be difficult for some MG writers, and even detrimental to their careers (like I said, we’ve still got a ways to go!). In compiling this list, I don’t assume that because an author wrote a book in which a significant character is gay, they must also be gay. Therefore, the writers here are those who are publicly out, or those whom I know personally and have obtained their permission to include their names in this list. If I have missed anyone or overlooked them, it’s probably because I’m not aware that they identify as LGBTQ+, but if they’re out in their public lives, feel free to let us know in the comments!


Zac Brewer

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series
The Cemetery Boys
The Blood Between Us

georgia peachesJaye Robin Brown

No Place to Fall
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit (this one would also work for the LGBTQ romance challenge!)

Amy Rose Capetta (full disclosure: Amy Rose is a friend!)

Echo After Echo (out in October)

Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

M-E Girard

Girl Mans Up

Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere
The Ship Beyond Time

We Are The AntsShaun David Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
We Are the Ants
The Edge of the Universe
…plus more titles!

Bill Konigsburg

Openly Straight
The Porcupine of Truth
Honestly Ben
…and other titles!

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David LevithanNina LaCour

Hold Still
The Disenchantments
Everything Leads to You (which would also work for the LGBTQ romance challenge!)
You Know Me Well (with David Levithan)
We Are Okay (out in February)

Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous Thing
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing
Every Day
Boy Meets Boy
…and so many others!

Huntress by Malinda LoMalinda Lo


Carrie Mac

10 Things I Can See From Here (out February 28th)
…plus other titles!

Cori McCarthy (full disclosure, Cori is a friend!)

Breaking Sky
You Were Here

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemoreAnna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers
When the Moon Was Ours

Gabby Rivera

Juliet Takes a Breath

Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl

Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life (out soon)
…and many others!

Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not
History is All You Left Me (out January)



Phil Bildner

A Whole New Ballgame
Rookie of the Year
…and many others!

george-by-alex-ginoAlex Gino


Jessica Leader

Nice and Mean

Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Marvels

Delia Sherman

The Evil Wizard Smallbone
The Freedom Maze
…and other titles!

Authors who write both YA/MG!

audacity january

Marion Dane Bauer

On My Honor (MG
Killing Miss Kitty and Other Sins (YA)
Runt (MG)
Little Dog, Lost (MG)
…and so many more titles

Melanie Crowder

Parched (MG)
Audacity (YA)
The Nearer Moon (MG)
Three Pennies (MG)
An UnInterrupted View of the Sky (YA)

Tim Federle

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (MG)
The Great American Whatever (YA)

Proxy Alex LondonAlex London

Proxy (YA)
The Wild Ones (MG)
Dog Tags (MG)
…and other titles!

Hannah Moskowitz

Marco Impossible
Gena/Finn (with Kat Helgeson)
…and so many more titles!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson coverJacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming (MG)
Feathers (MG)
After Tupac and D Foster (MG)
Hush (YA)
…and so many more titles!


Which books are you most excited to read?


(Note: Marion Dane Bauer was originally classified as MG author, some of her titles can be considered YA/MG crossovers.)