10 Must Read Queer Romances to Heat Up Pride Month

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10 Must Read Queer Romances to Heat Up Pride Month

It was June 1969 when the Stonewall riots brought LGBTQ+ rights into mainstream consciousness. This fortuitous accident of timing has taken June, the most romantic month of the year when most weddings are held, and made it Pride Month. The double whammy of gender and sexuality issues and love in a thirty-day span make June the perfect time to expand your queer romance bookshelf.

While the rise of LGBTQIA+ romance is a relatively recent phenomenon in mainstream publishing, queer stories have been around for decades. However, Netflix’s Heartstopper reaching mainstream hit status has already pumped life into on-screen adaptations like Bridgerton did for more heteronormative romances. With Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue arriving on Amazon soon, here are ten more queer romances viewers should get into.


Sorry Bro queer romance cover

Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni (2023)

A queer romance that begins with a hereto couple’s marriage proposal may not sound promising, but in the case of Sorry Bro, Taleen Voskuni’s story of a lesbian romance between two Armenian women, it’s a perfect setup. 

News anchor Nar should be thrilled when her boyfriend of five years gets down on one knee, but instead, it just confirms to her that marrying a dude because your late father liked him is not the best idea. The two “go on a break,” which he thinks is temporary and she knows is not, but she’s still shocked to meet and fall in love with Erebuni, who works at the Genocide Education Foundation. Armenian culture and history are deeply intertwined as part of Nar’s coming to terms with being bisexual, making Sorry, Bro a fascinating read.


Rule Breaker queer romance cover

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton (2017)

Lily Morton’s line of contemporary London (and Cardiff)-based LGBTQ+ romantic comedies are as adorable as they are laugh-out-loud funny. Morton is currently on her third (and fourth) spinoff series from the original trilogy, but nothing quite beats the original Rule Breaker, the Mixed Messages novel that introduced her characters.

Dylan Mitchell doesn’t know how he’s survived working for his terrible boss Gabe for this long; eventually, one will murder the other. That is until a chance encounter at a club makes him realize that the thin line between irritation and attraction is far more porous than he knew. Gabe might be his perfect man, except for a tiny detail, his utter refusal to commit to anyone.


How to Find a Princess queer romance cover

How To Find A Princess by Alyssa Cole (2021)

Alyssa Cole’s A Prince on Paper was luckily timed to Harry and Meghan, helping the third in her Reluctant Royals trilogy, featuring an interracial romance and well-rounded queer characters, to become a mainstream success. However, her follow-up series, Runaway Royals, finally lets those queer characters take the lead in book two, How To Find A Princess.

Like her other royal romances, How To Find A Princess is a retelling of a fairy tale, in this case, Anastasia, featuring a long-lost princess with the fantastic name Beznaria Chetchevaliere, who falls in love with Makeda Hicks. Hicks just happens to be the female investigator tasked with finding her and was not ready to have this royal pain in the butt flip her world upside down.


The Song of Achilles queer romance cover

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

Madeline Miller’s debut novel, 2011’s The Song of Achilles, took her ten years to write. But the love story of Achilles, the Greek Warrior and hero of The Illiad, and Patroclus, his best friend since childhood, was worth it.

Narrated by Patroclus, the story is a retelling of the Trojan War; however, unlike many of the classics, where the LGBTQ+ overtones were edited out or glossed over, this focuses directly on the love story between these warriors, including Achilles’ refusal to fight, Patroclus’ fatal attempt to impersonate Achilles in order to force the issue, and Achilles’ attempt suicide-by-Hector upon losing the only man he ever loved. These Greek myths stand the test of time for a reason, and this modern update on them is a reminder of how powerful they are.


I Kissed Shara Wheeler queer romance cover

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (2022)

As noted above, McQuiston’s Red White and Royal Blue is heading to Prime Video in late summer 2023. However, McQuiston has several LGBTQ+ novels for readers, including I Kissed Shara Wheeler, her first foray into YA.

One month before high school graduation, the out-and-proud Chloe Green is kissed by her only rival for class valedictorian, prom queen Shara Wheeler, who then disappears. Green teams up with the other two people Shara kissed before disappearing—popular jock Smith Parker and literal boy-next-door Rory Heron–and the three hunt her down as Chloe discovers Shara is not the girl she thought she was.


A Fashionable Indulgence queer romance cover

A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles (2015)

For those who love a good Regency romance, KJ Charles’ queer historical love stories are a fantastic place to start in the LGBTQ+ world. Many of them are also detective series or thrillers, but her Society of Gentlemen books, with their class-conscious plots, is everything missing from your typical Bridgerton stories.

The first of them, A Fashionable Indulgence, features Harry Vane, a hero right out of a Gothic romance, a radical who spent years fighting for reform until he suddenly comes into a title and money. Suddenly needing to become a country gentleman quickly, he hires Julius Norreys, a perfect dandy with all the manners Harry lacks. There’s just one problem: while he’s supposed to be wooing his cousin, it’s his mentor Harry can’t stop fantasizing about.


For Her Consideration queer romance cover

For Her Consideration by Amy Spalding (2023)

This LA-based rom-com love story with a plus-sized heroine is for anyone who has ever abandoned their dreams. It’s also one set in tinsel town with a writer protagonist, as Amy Spalding plays directly to the fellow writer choir.

For Her Consideration begins with ex-screenwriter Nina Rice exiting Los Angeles and working from her new suburban misery as a talent agent. Her couch-based life is upended when she’s assigned control freak actress Ari Fox, who has decided Nina should be her ghostwriter. Ari’s belief in Nina helps get her back in the game, though that might also be the best avoidance tactic for a possible relationship, as Nina knows she’ll screw that up too. As usual, Ari has other opinions…


The Town of Babylon queer romance

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela (2022)

Alejandro Varela’s debut novel, The Town of Babylon, was a finalist for the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction and longlisted for the 2023 Aspen Prize. Though the story’s heart is a romance, it is also an examination of community and what happens when social safety nets fail.

Andrés leaves his cheating husband and professorship and returns home, where he finds himself back with his high school friends and running into his first love at the 20-year reunion. A part coming-of-age in your 30s story, Andrés settles in to care for his aging parents and finds he must confront the social circumstances that drove them apart if he ever wants to try again. 


the Price of Salt queer romance cover

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

The groundbreaking 1950s-era author Patricia Highsmith (best known for dreaming up The Talented Mr. Ripley) was openly queer in her literary circles. But The Price of Salt was her only book to feature lesbian heroines, notable for giving them a happy ending, and originally published under a pseudonym. 

The story is the basis of the hit 2015 movie Carol, starring Cate Blanchett as the titular character and Rooney Mara and Highsmith’s onscreen alter ego, Therese Belivet. Newly arrived in New York, Therese is swept off her feet by the elegant Carol, a patron at the store where she works, who gives Therese her address to deliver her purchases, kicking off a relationship between the two women that neither knows how to quit.

1linebreakdiamond.pngGravity queer romance cover

Gravity by Tal Bauer (2022)

Most of Tal Bauer’s contemporary romances are thriller mysteries or rife with political intrigue. (Seriously, there’s a whole bodyguard trope series featuring a secret service officer in love with the President.) However, for those who just want the love story, his sport-romances are exemplary genre forms.

His latest series, set in the world of professional hockey, kicks off with Gravity, which features a queer Quebecois player who falls hard for an American upstart, complete with language and culture clashes, as well as plain old closeted failures to communicate. The super romantic plot contrasts with the ugly brutality of the sport for an angsty thrill ride with a happy ending.

Ani Bundel is an Associate Editor at PBS/WETA’s Telly Visions, where she co-hosts a weekly podcast by Anglophiles for Anglophiles. A self-taught journalist from the school of hard knocks, Ani came up blogging in the fast-turn-around era. Ani’s other regular bylines can be found on CNN, NBC News, and more.

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