NPR recently polled its readers for their favorite teen novels of all time and published the results in their Top 100 Choices for Best Teen Novels. Unsurprisingly, very few queer books made it onto the final list, so Autostraddle came up with their own list of 20 awesome queer young adult novels.
20. Shockproof Sydney Skate, by Marijane Meaker (1973)
The gay lady in this underrated YA novel is actually the protagonist's Mom, but it's a fascinating look at her world through the eyes of her son, Sydney, chock-full of punchy dialogue, wry observations and classic pop culture references, shot through with a smart, fast-paced plot. Sydney decoded his agent mother's power-lesbian-girlfriend gossip at age eight but has never told her that he knows she's gay. Then he falls in love with Alison Gray, his Mom's newest client... who subsequently falls for his Mom. Hijinks ensue.
19. Letters in the Attic, by Bonnie Shimko (2002)
Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls and Betty DeGeneres blurbed this Lambda-Award-Winning young adult novel (and crossover success), which takes place in the early 1960's and follows 12-year-old Lizzy McMann, a teenager forced to move from Arizona to upstate new York with her "unstable" mother when her father leaves them for a hatcheck girl. There, she falls for an eighth grader "who looks like Natalie Wood and smokes," meets her grandparents for the first time, and experiences fun things like "puberty." Emily Saliers notes: "Letters is a biting and compassionate look at the vulnerabilty of coming of age and the triumph of coming into own's own."
18. Girl Walking Backwards, by Bett Williams (1998)
Skye lives in Southern California with a psuedo-New Age enthusiast for a mother and a giant crush on Jessica, "a troubled gothic punk girl who cuts herself regularly with sharp objects," who Skye catches fucking her boyfriend in the bathroom at a rave. Following that unwelcome encounter, Skye switches up her life, acquiring a new pagan best friend and an athletic love interest. This book has been described as "a post-Catcher in the Rye roman à clef."