10 essential young adult sci-fi books with queer protagonists

Even if you can't celebrate Pride like usual, these books will keep you going all year long.

by Molly Horan
Originally Published: 
On a Sunbeam

Pride 2020 has been about celebrating differently, and even if you can’t reunite with your queer community in person, you can find that community through fiction. From space travel to superheroes, these 10 young adult sci-fi books will help you celebrate Pride 2020 all year long.

10. On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

This beautifully illustrated graphic novel takes you deep into the world of a space crew restoring old structures. Queer romance drives the plot forward, but it's really a story of found family.

9. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Aaron lives in a world with an enticing new invention that can scrub your mind of painful memories. Forgetting his father’s recent suicide is tempting, but he has mixed feelings until a growing crush on his friend Thomas makes him consider forgetting these feelings his friends and family won't accept.

8. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Austin is having a busy week. Between his beloved girlfriend, his best friend Robby who he’s been romantically attracted to, and recording his history for a family project, there’s really no room for anything else. Unfortunately, the man-eating bugs he helped hatch really don’t care if he’s too busy to save the world.


7. The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Bad news: Aliens have arrived and taken control of planet earth. More bad news: The survivors have to live without books or music. But not all humans have completely ditched their libraries, including Ellie Baker, whose fate at might not be so dire — as long as she’s willing to share her playlist with the aliens.

6. The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

Sixteen-year-old Caleb Michaels feels your pain. Literally. Supernaturally empathic, Caleb is living the pain of his classmates. As he learns to deal with his ability with the help of therapy, the emotions of one boy begin to attract him in a way no others do.

Tor Teen

5. The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

Romance under the stars is a YA cliche at this point, but when Alexandria looks up at the night sky, she’s not just seeing the milky way. She’s dreaming of her mother, who traveled to space with no plans to return. When Alexandria starts to depend on the help of Ryann to get closer to her mom, the two girls learn to trust, respect, and need each other.

4. Dreadnought by April Daniels

For Danny Tozer, suddenly becoming a superhero is just one facet of a complicated life. Though she’s known she was trans for a while, a physical transformation (one side effect of becoming super) means everyone can suddenly see her true self. Navigating who she wants to be when everyone around her has an opinion is hard — and she still has to save the world.

3. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

What would you do if the person you loved disappeared, and no one else remembered them? That’s what Ozzie faces when his boyfriend, Tommy, vanishes without a trace. The story escalates when Ozzie realizes the problem is bigger than just Tommy, and the love he feels is complicated by another boy who hasn’t gone anywhere.

Simon Pulse

2. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Jessica Tran lives in a world so full of superheroes and villains that her lack of power sets her apart. It’s no big deal when she takes an internship with a real-life supervillain, but between her old crush, a quickly developing new one, and some secret information, Jessica’s un-super life gets super complicated.

1. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

The world might be destroyed by aliens in one week, and three teens struggle to make the best use of that time. For some, it means finally answering questions they thought could wait. For others, it’s the last chance to make a better future with the little bit of future they have left.

Blackstone Pub

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