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35+ Best Lesbian Books & Lesbian Novels You Have To Read!

Looking for great lesbian books and lesbian novels? You came to the right place! The world has more lesbian books than ever before. Growing from overused tropes and making their way into all kinds of genres on the market.

And as someone who stopped reading books about straight people nearly a decade ago, I know the best lesbian books with lesbian stories to share.

This list of lesbian books will include the classics, lesbian fiction, lesbian fantasy, lesbian romance novels, lesbian young adult books. And new lesbian books. Everything you’re looking for!

You might recognize some titles on this list from our blog on the best lesbian movies. Don’t forget to watch the film after you read the book. Or read the book that your favorite lesbian movie is based on.

Happy reading!

Lesbian Books Lesbian Novels

Lesbian Authors

Now, we can’t dive into an article on the best lesbian books without first mentioning lesbian authors. They pushed the boundary and lead the way to where we are today.

Lesbian writing kicks off with the famous ancient Greek poet, Sappho. Though much of her writing is lost today, plenty of her poetry depicted love between women. So much that the words “sapphic” and “lesbian” stem from her name and the name of her island, Lesbos, respectively.

Sappho lesbian author

Some of the classic lesbian writers and poets you might be familiar with include Gertrude Stein, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf (and her ex-lover, Vita Sackville-West), Audre Lorde, and Emily Dickinson. You’ll find some of their works on this list.

All of these great authors have paved the way for contemporary books. Today’s lesbian writers work to fill the world with more lesbian books in every genre.

Best Lesbian Books

Let’s start with the best lesbian books. These are the best lesbian books of all time that you simply have to read!

Though many of the classic books’ lesbian themes and characters are more subtextual than what you’re likely to pick up from recent publications. They are called ‘classics’ for a reason.

  1. Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden (1982)

Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

I love this lesbian book about a lesbian love story between teenagers. It was actually the first lesbian book to portray such a story; it’s a groundbreaking book!

Annie On My Mind tells the story of gal pals Annie and Liza. They live in New York City, and their friendship turns into something more. Despite the pressure from family and school, the teenagers promise to be true to their feelings and to each other.

Both girls are from different backgrounds. But when they meet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a rainy day, they become friends and fall in love.

Annie goes to a private school and lives with her family in an upscale neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. While Liza lives in a ‘shabby neighborhood’ and is the daughter of Italian immigrants.

The book received multiple young adult fiction awards. But sadly, it also has been banned from multiple school libraries in the United States.

  1. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002)

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

One of the lesbian books on this list you simply have to read is Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Her work is amazing and Fingersmith is a book that remains exciting until the last page.

The book is a bit dark but has a brilliant plot, amazing twists, and so much tension, drama, love, hate, and sensation. Plus lesbian love!

Set in Victorian times in London, Sue Trinder is an orphan raised by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby. Mrs. Sucksby is a ‘baby farmer’ and Sue grows up among a ‘family’ of fingersmiths (thieves).

When a man named ‘Gentleman’, the most beloved thief of all, asks Sue to help swindle a rich woman named Maud of her inheritance, Sue accepts it. As she could use some extra money too!

Pretending to be a maid, Sue has to gain the trust of Maud. So Sue can persuade her to elope with Gentleman. His plan is to send Maud to a madhouse once they are married, so he can claim Maud’s fortune. But things get complicated when Sue likes Maud more than she expected.

The lesbian movie The Handmaiden is a film adaptation of the book Fingersmith! It’s one of the lesbian movies you have to see.

  1. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (1985)

If you’re looking for more of a literary read, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a perfect classic lesbian book to fit the bill.

A short read, rich with metaphor and allegory, this book might reach its full potential with margin annotations. In fact, if you went to high school in the UK, you might recognize it from your GCSE and A-levels readings lists.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel about a child adopted by an evangelical couple in Lancashire, UK. Unsurprisingly, her attraction to other girls causes problems in the church, especially her mother.

Personally offended by Jeannette’s lesbianism, her mother subjects her to literal exorcisms to rid the teen of sins. But don’t worry too much, the ending is pretty good given the circumstances.

Though Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit never made it to Hollywood, it did hit the silver screen with a television adaption in 1989.

Lesbian Fiction Books

Of course, one of the most frequented genres is lesbian fiction books. From historical fiction to dramas and thrillers, here are some of the best lesbian fiction books.

  1. Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair (1995)

What’s better than lesbian fiction? Maybe historical lesbian fiction taking place during the American Civil Rights Movement.

Coffee Will Make You Black follows Stevie, a young Black girl in Southside Chicago. She grows up through the 60s, joining Black power movements and becoming politically involved by high school.

During that time, Stevie recognizes her attraction to her school’s white nurse and grapples with her orientation.

This first-person lesbian novel explores each new challenge candidly. And it reveals a historical lifestyle for Black teens growing up during these historical movements.

  1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

This classic lesbian novel might be something you Americans remember from high school reading lists.

The story takes place in rural Georgia in the early 1900s about two Black sisters who were separated as kids.

Though the book has trigger warnings for physical, ടexual, and emotional abuടe. It is really a story about compassion, affirmation, and healing.

Throughout the book, the main sister, Celie, writes letters to God and letters to her sister, Nettie, to find strength during her struggles. And her connection to Nettie and another woman reminds her that she is worthy of love.

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (2017)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I know the title doesn’t sound very queer, but wait for it.

Evelyn Hugo, a glamorous and aging Hollywood icon, hires an up-and-coming writer, Monique, to pen her autobiography. Sharing all her secrets, scandals, and setting straight the juicy gossip splattered across a lifetime of tabloids.

Through each session of Evelyn’s storytelling, Monique hopes to answer the question, “Who was Evelyn Hugo’s one true love?”

The answer? A woman.

This great read takes so many twists and turns while still playing out as one of the best lesbian romance novels I’ve read. The narrative is so well-written and multilayered that it makes my top list of the best lesbian books.

Lesbian Novels

Nowadays, there are plenty of lesbian novels on the market, both old and new, ranging in various genres (including lesbian romance novels, of course!). Here are some of my top lesbian novels picks.

  1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (2013)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The buzz around Cameron Post revived a little after the film adaptation’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

In an unusual decision, I watched the film first and enjoyed it, though many of my fellow lesbians disliked the movie. And after reading the book, I realized why.

While the film focuses almost exclusively on Cameron’s time at a conversion therapy camp, the lesbian novel instead encompasses her entire childhood and adolescence. While coming to terms with being a lesbian lays the groundwork for the book’s conflict, Cameron’s struggles and personality are much more well-rounded on the page.

Set in the rural and west US, Cameron grows up after her parents pass away, a tragedy she internally attributes to her queerness. She has some heartbreaking moments with young relationships, confronting the reality of her identity and her parent’s passing, and the simple pain of growing up.

As a person who grew up in rural America, this lesbian book holds a special spot on my bookshelf.

Make sure to watch these lesbian short films! No matter if you want to laugh, cry, need some romance, or want to watch lesbians making out; we could all use some lesbian short films to fulfill our needs.

  1. The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth (2020)

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth lesbian books

This adorable lesbian young adult novel was a highly-anticipated read and quickly became a staple favorite among lesbian and queer women readers.

Our grumpy yet lovable and oh-so-witty protagonist, Saoirse, doesn’t believe in love. Then she meets Ruby, a fun spirit with a passion for classic romantic comedies.

The two agree to a “falling in love montage” in which Saoirse watches Ruby’s favorite movies, and they purposefully live through all the fun clichés of romantic comedies.

At the end of the summer, they’ll part ways. Or will they fall in love themselves? I think you know the answer.

The Falling in Love Montage is a charming, must-read lesbian romance novel.

  1. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg (1993)

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

This classic lesbian book is a historical fiction novel depicting life as a butch lesbian in the 1970s.

This one can be a tough read for some, considering the main character’s institutionalization for gender nonconformity, police brutality, assault, and other difficult topics. But if you can bear it, it’s a must-read.

The main character, Jess, encounters many brutal hardships in everyday life and explores her gender identity throughout the book, leaning into her butchness and even passing as a man through a good chunk of her life.

Jess falls back into comfort with gender nonconformity by the end of the book, making it a great read for butch lesbians and gender-nonconforming sapphics.

Lesbian Nonfiction Books

We all love a great, made-up story, but lesbian nonfiction books aren’t to be overlooked either.

From memoirs to new journalism and other nonfiction (yet still entertaining!) stories, here are the recommendations for great lesbian nonfiction books.

  1. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde (1982)

Zami- A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

You’ll find the genre of this classic lesbian book marked as “biomythology”, which is a term created by Audre Lorde herself. It’s a term that’s a mix of history, biography, and myth. However, this lesbian nonfiction book is very much rooted in Lorde’s personal life.

Detailing moments in her life from childhood and into adulthood, Zami follows Lorde’s earliest encounters with racism in Harlem during the 30s, which continue on throughout her life under Jim Crow laws.

Lorde does a lot of traveling, writing, and rediscovering herself throughout her life. Including exploring the lesbian lifestyle on her return to New York after her dad passes away.

Though Audre Lorde is most known for her poetry, Zami is an excellent (and still somewhat poetic) read.

  1. Overshare: Love, Laughs, ടexuality and Secrets by Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton (2019)

Overshare Love, Laughs, s exuality and Secrets by Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton

If you’re familiar with the world of lesbian YouTubers, then you’re definitely familiar with married British YouTubers, Rose and Rosie. The two began their YouTube careers in 2014 and have hit over one million subscribers. 

Their lesbian nonfiction book, Overshare, does exactly what you’d expect, overshares! The pair talk candidly about their relationship, mental health, and how they got into YouTube and comedy. Plus about family and friendships, and of course, all things queer. 

Complete with a fun “R&R personality quiz” and two distinct font types to distinguish parts of the book between Rose and Rosie’s separate narrations, this hilarious memoir is just as entertaining as their YouTube channel.

  1. Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn (2016)

Eleanor and Hick The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn

Did you know Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian? 

Okay, we don’t know that for sure, but we do know that Eleanor definitely fell in love with a female reporter, Lorena Hickok, who frequented the White House during FDR’s long stay in office. 

In a series of letters between Eleanor and Hick, the two professed their compassion, respect, and love for one another, spanning over thirty years until the end of Eleanor’s life. Hick even had her own bedroom at the White House for some time.

Alongside this historical relationship, Eleanor and Hick sheds light on American history at the time, including WWII and its aftermath. And while FDR fought polio, Eleanor worked behind the scenes, essentially making decisions that would affect the course of the United States for years to come.

Lesbian Fantasy Books

My favorite book genre before my ‘Great Gay Realization’ was fantasy, so finding lesbian fantasy books was a top priority once I came out. Here are some of the best lesbian fantasy books.

  1. Ash by Malinda Lo (2009)

Ash by Malinda Lo lesbian books

In what is deemed a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, this lesbian book includes all the great elements of fairy tales. 

Written in fable-like language and devices (like elegant drop-caps at the start of each chapter), this book follows Ash, a believer of ancient magic that most of the world has long forgotten or taken seriously.

When Ash finds a dark fairy, Sidhean, she is nearly entranced with his magic. But things change when she meets Kaisa, the king’s huntress, as feelings begin to spring from friendship.

Ash takes its spot on my list of personal favorites of lesbian books for its creative use of fairy tale elements and a love triangle that isn’t boring. 

  1. Malice by Heather Walter (2021)

Malice by Heather Walter

I couldn’t put Ash, the Cinderella retelling, on the list with lesbian books and lesbian novels without also mentioning, Malice, a lesbian retelling of another fairy tale classic, Sleeping Beauty.

In this dark retelling, the villain, Alyce, narrates the story. Alyce lives shunned from the kingdom for her dark magic (the very same kind of magic that cursed Princess Aurora at birth). 

Alyce fully expects Aurora to shun her just the same, or even hate and fear her, as others do. However, when the two meet, Aurora finds compassion for Alyce and encourages her to find pride in her dark magic.

Malice takes a classic romance trope, enemies to lovers, and wraps it up in this dark fairy tale twist, and I couldn’t get enough.

  1. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (2021)

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

The first installment of a new lesbian fantasy trilogy just dropped this summer, and many are quickly calling it their favorite lesbian fantasy book.

Inspired by the histories of India, this narrative places a princess, Malini, in a prison held captive by her brother. A maidservant, Priya, sent to clean Malini’s prison, hides a forbidden and magical secret. 

The two become unlikely allies (and maybe lovers!) in this thrilling fantasy tale. And as the first book, I can’t wait for the next two books in the “Burning Kingdoms” trilogy!

  1. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (2016)

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

This lesbian fantasy novel kicks off with our protagonist, Denna, set to marry the prince of another kingdom for protection and political purposes.

Oblivious to the possibility of being gay (or, you know, classic internalized homophobia), Denna thinks she wants to marry the prince.

But Denna also has a secret, she possessed illegal fire magic. Denna must work with her teacher, Mare, to uncover the mysteries and danger around them. Of course, the danger brings them closer together.

The best part about Of Fire and Stars? The story doesn’t end here. You get to read more about Denna and Mare in the sequel, Of Ice and Shadows.

  1. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (2018)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire comes with strong world-building and a romance tied right into the stakes of that world. 

The main character, Lei, is part of the lowest social caste in the kingdom and is training to be a servant to the Demon King. To no one’s surprise, the servants aren’t too fond of being servants. 

Lei falls in love with Wren, another servant (or paper girl, as they are called) while training. Between Wren’s secrets, justice, and romance, the two must wade through dangerous decisions to find a new future. 

The fantasy of this lesbian YA novel is based on Asian mythology, which makes for a refreshing break from your typical Eurocentric fantasies. 

YA Lesbian Books

YA books can get a bad reputation at times, but there are plenty of great young adult lesbian books out there to choose from.

Here I have a collection of some stellar queer women and YA lesbian books that you’re going to want to read even if you’re a full-blown adult. 

  1. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (2019)

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour lesbian novels

In this lesbian YA novel, our protagonist tries to find her place in the world of Hollywood set designing (the same profession as The Price of Salt’s main character, which we will talk about later). 

Stuck in an on-again-off-again relationship, Emi finds herself in messy romantic entanglements while being a true romantic herself, quite the combo for a lesbian. 

Then she meets Ava, an instant fan-favorite with a mysterious past. 

Everything Leads to You is the cute and fluffy lesbian romance novel you need on your reading list. 

  1. Crier’s W a r by Nina Varela (2019)

Crier’s W a r by Nina Varela

Nina Varela’s book, about political unrest and what it means to be human, became a quick favorite of young adult lesbian fantasy books.

Following a conflict within the kingdom, Ayla becomes a servant to the House of the Sovereign, whom she vows to eliminate one day to avenge her family. Here she meets Lady Crier, daughter of Sovereign, as she gears up to take over the kingdom.

In a true enemies-to-lovers romance (like, they literally wanted to eliminate each other), this angsty slow-burn is coupled with a complex world in which the characters live, making this lesbian YA book one to add to your list. 

  1. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (2018)

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

If you’re a typical reader of LGBTQ YA novels, then maybe you’ve read Becky Albertalli’s book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. This novel works like both a sequel and its own standalone story.

In Leah on the Offbeat, Leah struggles to tell her friends that she’s bi. It’s hard to even tell Simon, though he’s out as gay at school. 

Leah catches feelings for one of her friends, making matters even more stressful. But she does remain her witty, hilarious self throughout the book, making this dramatic read lighthearted and funny as heck.

  1. The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding (2018)

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

In this lesbian summer romance novel, the main character, Abby, lands the internship of her dreams in a fancy boutique. Which is a great deal for an upcoming fashionista who’s focused entirely on her plus-size fashion blog.

To her surprise, Abby falls for a fellow intern, Jodi. Unlike Abby, Jodi lives life in the spotlight, which makes Abby uncomfortable at times. Tensions of all kinds arise as the two navigate their feelings and working relationship.

A bonus side plot involves finding the best burger in Los Angeles, so be warned that you shouldn’t read this book while hungry.

  1. Wilder Girls by Rory Power (2019)

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

This lesbian YA science-fiction/horror book might be hitting a little too close to home these days. The entire plot of the book places a group of schoolgirls in eighteen-month isolation.

The girls wait for a promised cure at their school on a coastal island. Teachers catch the illness one by one, and the disease makes land outside the school fence unfamiliar and dangerous. So they wait.

As the students fall victim to the disease, one of our main characters goes missing and her gal pal risks going beyond the fence to find her. 

Romantic horror might seem like a bit of an odd combo, but then again, lesbians fell in love with Dani and Jamie from the lesbian show Haunting of Bly Manor. Plus, romantic horror vibes are perfect autumnal reads.

  1. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins (2019)

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This lesbian YA novel gives us what we love most about young adult books: classic teenage drama and romance. The main character, Millie, applies to boarding school to avoid facing her ex-best friend/ex-girlfriend. To her disbelief, the school accepts her, and she leaves for Scotland.

Excited to start the next chapter of her life, Millie is disappointed to find her roommate is a high-maintenance princess (like, a literal princess).

What makes this teenage enemies-to-lovers story so great? You guessed it! Lesbians.

  1. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (2019)

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

This fun lesbian YA book gives us a witch for a protagonist, and what’s better than magical lesbians?

Hannah is part of a secret witch coven in Salem, Massachusetts (of course), where dark magic begins wreaking havoc. Hannah has an idea of what (or who) might be causing trouble, but her coven doesn’t believe her. 

To save her coven, Hannah teams up with her best friend, her new crush, and (reluctantly) her ex-girlfriend. Did I hear someone say something about a lesbian love triangle?

Lesbian Comic Books

At the crossover between long-form narrative fiction and visual art, we have lesbian comic books! 

  1. Mookcakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker (2019)

Mookcakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker_

Not only does this lesbian graphic novel excite readers with fun visuals, Mooncakes welcomes often-forgotten representations to the table.

In this supernatural-themed story, one of the main characters uses hearing aids and the other is a sapphic non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns.

In fact, this is one of the few books I’ve read with a non-binary character! And I’m saying that as a non-binary person, who tries to go out of their way to find them.

Mooncakes tells the story of a young witch who reconnects with a childhood friend, who she discovers is now a werewolf! In beautifully designed and arranged panels, the pair races against time and magical villains to save each other.

  1. Princess Princess Ever After by K. O’Neill (2016)

Princess Princess Ever After by K. O’Neill

Waiting for Disney to give us lesbian Elsa? Get your dose of lesbian royalty while we wait for Disney to catch up! This is fun and charming lesbian graphic novel. 

Winner of 2014 Autostraddle’s Comic Art Award for Favorite Graphic Novel, Princess Princess Ever After uses one of my all-time favorite sapphic tropes, the classic friends-to-lovers story. 

What is this princess story all about? After one princess rescues the other from a prison tower, the two embark on a quest together. They spend their journey learning and appreciating the strengths they bring out in one another, a true fairy tale!

Check out these best queer & lesbian quotes to inspire you(r Lover)

  1. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars (2017) and Ruins of the Empire (2019) by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko

A list of lesbian comics would be incomplete without mentioning Legend of Korra. 

You likely remember the name from the animated television series on Nickelodeon, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. At the end of the show’s four-season run, Korra walks into a portal holding hands with her best friend, Asami. 

Though still somewhat ambiguous, that final episode brought Korra’s orientation and romance with her friend to the forefront. After the episode aired, the creators confirmed the two’s relationship

The first collection of the comic series, “Turf Wars,” picks up after right where the show left off, following Korra and Asami into the spirit world. The pair develops their feelings for each other through both collections, and the comics take things further than what the show portrayed, kissing included!

If you watched and enjoyed the show, this lesbian comic book is simply a must! 

Lesbian Pulp Fiction

Lesbian pulp fiction books of the 1950s-80s were primarily written for men (lesbians and queer women written for the male gaze, yep, it happened in books too).

Luckily, some lesbian writers managed to publish lesbian pulp fiction books that sympathize with lesbian characters. Here are some lesbian pulp fiction books that don’t end badly for lesbians.

  1. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith best lesbian novels

You might have heard of the lesbian movie Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. If not, what are you waiting for?! It was named the best LGBT film of all time in 2016. 

The movie is based on the lesbian romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith! The novel was published in 1952 and republished in 1990 as Carol.

Patricia Highsmith used the alias Claire Morgan to publish the book, as she didn’t want to be tagged as a ‘lesbian book writer’. We are glad she wrote the lesbian book, under whichever name!

What is the story about? Therese works at a department store in the toy section and when a beautiful and elegant woman enters the story, Therese is instantly attracted. That woman is Carol, who comes into the store to buy a doll for her daughter. 

Therese decides to use the address of the delivery for the doll to send Carol a Christmas card, as she wants to contact Carol! Carol responds, and what happens next you have to read yourself! 

The story includes friendship, two women falling in love (but one of them is in a divorce), an epic road trip, a chase by a private investigator, and a choice between daughter and lover. Ooh, and we love lesbian stories with a (relatively) happy ending! 

It’s a must-read literary lesbian classic.

  1. The Girls in 3B by Valerie Taylor (1959)

The Girls in 3B by Valerie Taylor

Like The Price of Salt, this lesbian pulp fiction book veers from the norm by giving lesbian characters a generally happy ending.

In this story, three young women share an apartment, and one of the women is a lesbian. Though her “lesbian origin story” falls into the “survivor of violence from men” trope, she learns to love again, by falling in love with a woman.

By the end of the book, our lesbian protagonist moves in with her new lady lover after a series of googly-eyes and lunch dates. 

This lesbian book has notably sweet sapphic moments, that come from a sapphic writer herself (which Valerie Taylor is). In fact, Valerie Taylor penned over a dozen lesbian pulp fiction books (that end on a decent note).

  1. Chris by Randy Salem (1968)

Chris by Randy Salem

With Chris, we have yet another great lesbian pulp fiction book written by a lesbian, for lesbians.

What I love most about Chris is the love triangle. I know, crazy right? Who actually likes love triangles? Well, this love triangle features three women, so what’s not to love?

Chris tells the story of a protagonist named (you guessed it) Chris, who finds herself head over heels for a charming but cold-hearted bi woman. Hurt by not receiving the same love she gives out, Chris falls for another woman, a warm-hearted foil to the other. 

Our protagonist must decide who to be with. And the great news is that whichever woman she decides to stay with, the book still ends with a lesbian relationship.

Books With Lesbian Characters

Though some people (me) would argue all books should have lesbian characters, that is sadly not the case. So, here is a lineup of books with lesbian characters and other sapphic characters that I haven’t yet talked about.

  1. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (2016)

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera lesbian book

Books with lesbian characters don’t always have to be romance-focused, as Juliet Takes a Breath is a prime example. 

After coming out to her family, Juliet feels unwelcome in her home in the Bronx and leaves for Portland to find herself.

With her travels across the country and a fresh start comes more questions about herself and her intersectional identities.

Soon, Juliet wonders if her trip to Portland is less about discovery and more about avoidance. You can’t beat a lesbian book about self-discovery.

Want to travel through the States too? These are the best USA lesbian vacation destinations!

  1. KiIIing Eve Trilogy by Luke Jennings (2018, 2019, 2020)

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

You’re probably familiar with this story on BBC America’s hit show, KiIIing Eve, starring the amazing Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.

Though some queer fans wonder if the dynamic between the two onscreen women falls into queer baiting territory, the books give readers much more. 

The three novels follow Eve, an MI-6 agent in her pursuit of Villanelle, a charming psychopath hired to take down high-ranking political figures across the globe. 

Across the three books, Villanelle relishes the attention she gets from Eve, and Eve finds Villanelle and her life completely irresistible. It’s the perfect mix for thrilling queer chaos. 

The books also include a non-binary side character who transitions names and pronouns from one book to the next, a refreshing side story from this mainstream thriller. 

When you run out of episodes and crave more of this thrilling duo, pick up the books for your next dose of the lesbian ship Villaneve until the final season comes out!

  1. I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre (2021)

I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

In a classic enemies-to-lovers story, this lesbian romance novel brings two unlikely allies together. 

Emma, a true romantic, has a great idea for the next film festival, but her rival, Sophia, a politically involved student and self-proclaimed lesbian, thinks her idea is better.

As the two work on the film, they see each other in a new light, shifting things to the “lover” half of the trope.

With plenty of drama and lighthearted romance, I Think I Love You is a great addition to your lesbian YA reading list.

  1. This is Not For You by Jane Rule (1970)

This is Not For You by Jane Rule

This lesbian novel gives readers a layered literary read. This book places the main character in the 1950s/60s as she struggles to accept her lesbian identity. 

Entirely written in the second person, the story is a compilation of letters addressed to the main character’s long-time friend (or lover who was never quite her lover). 

The narrative reveals the lives of each character, their friendship, and other relationships while dancing around the big question: Do you have feelings for me, too?

New Lesbian Books

Last but not least, I have a couple of new lesbian books, lesbian books 2020 and lesbian books 2021, to share!

  1. Cinderella is D e a d by Kaylynn Bayron (2020)

Cinderella is D e a d by Kaylynn Bayron

Okay, yes, another Cinderella story (but like, not the Selena Gomez movie). Even if you aren’t a fan of the classic tale, this is still worth the read.

In a post-Cinderella fairy tale world, girls of “marriageable age” (aka, 16) parade at a ball in front of suitors, the men pick a girl they like, they marry. It’s not the Cinderella happily-ever-after we remember. And the girls who don’t get picked for marriage? They’re never heard of again.

Our protagonist, Sophia, isn’t a fan of this tradition and would instead rather marry her childhood friend (or should I say, her childhood gal pal, if you know what I mean). 

In her attempt to flee, Sophia meets the last known descendent of Cinderella herself, and together they aim to take down the crown and its unjust tradition. 

This is a twisted fairy tale you’re not going to want to miss!

  1. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (2020)

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson lesbian novel

Nothing says YA like high school drama, and lesbian young adult novels are no different.

You Should See Me in a Crown places the Black and outsider protagonist, Liz, in Midwestern America, desperate to leave and become a doctor. But she can’t afford the education without a scholarship.

In an attempt to win her school’s prom court scholarship, she campaigns for prom queen, a quest she never expected to find herself in. And her competition? An outcasted new girl who was quick to get Liz’s attention.

The slight enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope really had me sucked in with this one.

  1. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar (2021)

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

Are you familiar with the “fake dating” trope? Two people pretend to date, and then they fall in love for real. That’s what you’re getting with Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating.

When the popular girl, Hani, comes out as bi at school, everyone assumes she’s lying for attention. Because how can a girl possibly be bi if she’s only dated men? Newsflash: she’s bi if she says she is.

In a panic, Hani says she is dating a girl, the quiet brainiac Ishu. In exchange for fake dating Hani, Ishu hopes Hani will make her more popular with the kids at school.

It’s almost like the short-lived MTV show, Faking It, except with better writing and much less transphobia.

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