19 Queer Love Stories For Whatever Kind Of Valentine’s Day You’re Having

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Whether Valentine’s Day makes you jump for joy or bums you out, here are some books to help you celebrate.

Valentine’s Day can be a polarizing holiday. When you’re in love, it’s the best day of the year. It can also be tough for a variety of reasons: recent heartbreak, loss of a loved one, or loneliness. No matter what kind of mood you’re in, these queer love stories are here to keep you company.


Simon & Schuster / Via simonandschuster.com

A queer love story that takes place on the set of a reality competition dating show? Sign me up! Dev Deshpande, recently dumped hopeless romantic and producer on Ever After (think The Bachelor meets Disney) is the talent handler of “Prince Charming,” Charlie Winshaw, a tech wunderkind hiding a few secrets of his own. While working together, Dev and Charlie develop a growing attraction to each other, a development that could spell disaster for both of their professional lives. 

Come for the drama. Stick around to see if «Happily Ever After» is only real on reality TV.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


Penguin Random House / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

Katie Daniels and Cassidy Price work as lawyers, negotiating opposing sides of a deal. Katie is a straight-laced Kentucky transplant living in New York who was recently dumped by her fiancé. Cassidy, born and raised in New York, is as commitment-phobic as they come. They’re both sure of who they are and what they want, until they start developing feelings for each other. Katie finds herself attracted to a woman for the first time, and Cassidy…might actually want to be in a relationship? 

This opposites-attract romantic comedy is clever and engaging, while emphasizing the importance of queer community in the form of their local lesbian bar, the Metropolis, which faces extinction in a city changing as rapidly as the title characters.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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I’ve watched The Color Purple movie more times than I can count, but hadn’t read the novel until a year ago. There are many reasons to read it, but one of the most remarkable is its frank depiction of a love story between two queer Black women (an aspect that was deliberately scrubbed from the film for “mainstream” audiences). When Celie meets Shug, she realizes what love can be and blossoms sexually and emotionally. When she allows herself to truly feel, she grows into her fullest potential and becomes the person she was meant to be. 

You haven’t gotten the full experience of this story until you read Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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Wallace wasn’t a happy person when he was alive. He was a workaholic who didn’t care whose feelings he hurt, with no meaningful personal relationships. When he dies suddenly of a heart attack, he’s given a week to learn how to live before he crosses over to the other side, with the help of Hugo, owner of Charon’s Crossing tea shop and professional reaper (of the non-grim variety). In this heartwarming fantasy about the nature of life, death, and acceptance, Wallace sets out to right his many wrongs before he doesn’t have the opportunity anymore. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll find love and accept who he truly is. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


Penguin Random House / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

An event planner from New York City falling in love with the Prince of Wales? The royal family should hope for this kind of positive publicity… 

In the hands of anyone but legendary writer Paul Rudnick, this setup sounds too corny to be plausible. But Rudnick, scribe of comedic classics Sister Act and Addams Family Values, brings along his trademark wit to the unlikely love story of Prince Edgar and Carter Ogden, sprinkled with a healthy dose of heartfelt charm, making this book anything but predictable. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and you won’t soon forget this romance. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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For those looking for something a little less conventional on Valentine’s Day, I present Jeanette Winterson’s 1992 novel. The narrator is genderless, and all we know about them is that they’ve been having an affair with a married woman. Winterson’s language crackles on the page as she examines the beauty and devastation of being in love. She examines the clichés we all take for granted and holds them up to the light. Gorgeously written and unforgettable, this book will change the way you look at love forever. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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This transporting novel is based on the story of real-life couple Suzanne Malherbe and Lucie Schwob, who met as young women in France, fell in love, and reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore in interwar Paris. At a time when gender-nonconformity was hardly as common as it is now, they managed to live wildly productive, transgressive lives, create impactful art, and celebrate love in its various forms. This book is a transfixing triumph of historical fiction, and an unabashedly queer love story.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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Felix wants more than anything to be in love. He also wants to make his dad proud, get into a good college, and figure out who he really is. But when he’s deadnamed and his pre-transition photos are exposed at his school, love is the furthest thing from his mind. His revenge plot gets more tangled than anticipated quickly, and Felix is left to untangle the mess. Through it all, Kacen Callender makes it clear in this smart and engaging novel that the search for love and identity always ends up in the same place: accepting yourself. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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What would you do if you fell in love with someone who wasn’t living in the same time as you? That’s the dilemma facing August, the protagonist of One Last Stop. She falls in love with Jane, an enigmatic woman she meets on the train, who also happens to be stuck in the 1970s. In order to be with Jane, she has to figure out why she’s stuck, and how to get her into the present day. What’s that they say about the course of true love? Oh yeah…never smooth. 

Casey McQuiston’s second novel is just as engaging and feel-good as her first. If you loved Red, White, and Royal Blue, get ready for another delightfully queer love story!

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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Long a classic of queer literature, Giovanni’s Room remains a blistering portrait of coming to terms with one’s sexuality. In depicting David’s romance with Giovanni while engaged to a woman, Baldwin emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance. How can we love others if we don’t accept ourselves? And what are the consequences of refusing to deal honestly with reality? 

As always, Baldwin’s prose is beautiful and unadorned, getting straight to the heart of things. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?!

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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What happens when the choice to live authentically could lead to risking one’s safety? 

A coming-of-age story set in Cold War Poland, Swimming in the Dark explores the conflict that occurs when the personal and the political intersect. The love story of Ludwik and Janusz, who first bond over a shared copy of Giovanni’s Room, serves as a vehicle for Jedrowski to explore these deeper societal issues with sensitive, restrained prose. Contemplative and yearning, this slim book will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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Noah, author of the popular blog the Meet Cute Diary, which catalogs the stories of trans «meet cutes,» has never actually been in love. When the blog is exposed as fiction, he scrambles to fix this situation and save his reputation. Enter Drew, who’s willing to «fake-date» Noah in order to save his reputation. When his fictional romance with Drew starts to feel a little too real…Noah has to let go of the illusion that love is something that can be controlled. Endearing and witty, this is perfect for the reader who loves love. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


Penguin Random House / Via images.randomhouse.com

This year’s winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is an unforgettable piece of historical fiction. Perfectly capturing the feel of San Francisco 1954, specifically the queer community in the form of the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo deals with issues of identity, racial discrimination, and political tensions. She tackles issues that continue to plague us, using the past as both example and warning. It’s a gripping read you won’t be able to put down, with a beautiful love story directly at the center. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


W.W. Norton / Via images.randomhouse.com

Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym and used as the basis for the 2015 film Carol, The Price of Salt is one of the first mainstream books about a lesbian romance without a tragic ending. It may seem a product of its time, but Highsmith broke major ground in the field of queer literature with this novel. The relationship between Carol and Therese is complicated and realistic, with writing that jumps off the pages. It’s impossible not to be impressed that this book was written in the 1950s, at a time when it could have ended Highsmith’s career. Instead, it continues to inspire queer writers and artists, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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Described by the author as a «novel in verse,» this book is difficult to categorize. Anne Carson uses a small fragment of the myth about Herakles defeating the monster Geryon to create something totally original. In Autobiography of Red, Geryon is no longer a monster, but a sensitive young man who takes refuge from his difficult upbringing in art and his love for Herakles. The queer love portrayed here is deeply felt, but complicated by obsession, invalidation, and mixed emotions. An unconventional read that left me stunned at what could be accomplished with language. 

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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I felt it was my responsibility to include Madeline Miller’s 2012 bestseller in this list, for anyone who hasn’t had it recommended to them. So if that’s you: Read this book! Miller reimagines the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus from The Iliad for a whole new generation, and in doing so paints a tender and tragic portrait of a queer relationship. Prepare to feel all the feels, but beware: You’re going to need tissues! (This also makes a great book club selection.)

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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This book is my favorite kind of historical fiction: grounded in a specific time and place but with writing that feels fresh and modern. The novel is centered around Julia, a woman unhappily married to a famous playwright, who falls in love with a tailor named Eve. Through their story, we experience Vienna from 1910 to 1946, at a time when Europe was going through enormous upheaval. In exploring the lives of her queer characters, Hitchman emphasizes the importance of chosen family, resilience, and the necessity of love, especially in the darkest times. All of You Every Single One is a warm-hearted, wonderful novel.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


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It doesn’t take much to get me talking about astrology. I love the idea of love being cosmic, just waiting out there for all of us. If you feel the same, you’ll love Written in the Stars

Darcy, analytical to a fault, and Elle, Twitter astrology guru, couldn’t be more poorly matched, and they realize it on their disastrous first date. But when Darcy is caught in a lie, she convinces Elle to «fake date» her in order to save face. I won’t spoil anything, but as fake feelings turn into real ones…things get more than a little complicated. A delightfully queer romantic comedy that’ll have you rooting for Elle and Darcy to figure it out.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

19.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer


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I’m a firm believer that not all love stories need to be conventional. Some, like Less, are more about the journey than the destination. Arthur Less, a hapless writer, is currently going through a dry spell both personally and professionally. In order to avoid the wedding of an ex, he plans an elaborate trip around the world. Nothing goes quite as expected, with hilarious results. Less refuses to take itself too seriously, tackling subjects like aging, success, and the fleeting nature of happiness. Sometimes all it takes is a trip around the world to find out the answer may be simpler than you ever imagined.

Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

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