5 Must-Read LGBT Coming of Age Books

In honor of Edmund White's birthday.

5 Must-Read LGBT Coming of Age Books


Today is Edmund White’s birthday, and last month marked the ebook debut of Edmund White’s classic A Boy’s Own Story. To celebrate this release, we’re recommending five can’t miss LGBT coming of age books for you to add to your New Year’s resolution reading list.

img-whiteaboysownstory_115532760430A Boy’s Own Story, by Edmund White

Of course it’s on the list. The novel was just released as an ebook, and it’s the Grandaddy of them all. Originally published in 1982, it was one of the first books to frankly portray homosexuality in teens.

Our unnamed narrator struggles with his emerging sexuality. Embarrassed by his desire for male affection in the heternormative and homophobic 1950s, he retreats into his own imagination and a purely physical relationship with his young neighbor.

The most interesting part? The novel is a largely autobiographical account of White’s own childhood and initial struggle to embrace his identity.

downloadMaurice, by E. M. Forster

Though written in 1914, the book wasn’t published till 1971. Like A Boy’s Own Story, it was quite ahead of its time. It describes the life of a normal young man named Maurice who happens to be homosexual. It follows his life from teenage- to adulthood as he struggles to find happiness in a time when loving men is far from accepted.

download (1)

Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel

This graphic novel memoir covers Bechdel’s life from childhood through college as she navigates life as a lesbian with a gay, but closeted father.

download (2)Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This book is one of the newer additions to this genre, but it already boasts a host of awards and a big fan following.

Aristotle(Ari) and Dante are both loners, but they meet and discover they have a lot in common. As they grow closer, Ari struggles with his strong feelings for Dante and the realization that he might want to be more than friends.

download (3)Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson

Another LGBT classic published in the same era as A Boy’s Own Story:

Jeannette is adopted and raised by her fundamentalist mother for the purpose of being a missionary. As she grows however, she begins to have some differences of opinion with her mother’s church. After she falls for recent convert Melanie, they begin an affair. Though Jeannette is able to reconcile loving both God and Melanie, her church is less understanding.

All of these books are timeless portrayals of what it means to grow up LGBT, we hope you’ll give them all a read! And for more on A Boy’s Own Story coming to ebook, learn more here!

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