5 LGBTQ+ Romance Books To Have On Your Radar In 2024

2024 is already shaping up to be a big year when it comes to LGBTQ+ stories — particularly romance. From books about teenage first love affairs and second chance relationships, to stories that transform sworn enemies into lovers, there is something for every kind of reader. On top of that, we're expecting new releases from some beloved LGBTQ+ writers. New York Times best-selling author Casey McQuiston (best known for giving us "Red, White, and Royal Blue") has a gripping new romance hitting shelves, while Jonny Garza Villa (who wrote bestseller "Fifteen Hundred Miles Under The Sun") is expected to release a love letter to their heritage and sexuality.

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While we would always recommend spending pride month reading books to make you laugh, cry, and learn, we know well that sometimes nothing beats a good love story. As such, we've curated a list of the must-read LGBTQ+ romance books of 2024. Each novel we handpicked has already hit the shelves in 2024, or is available for pre-order ahead of its release later this year.

Joy by Samantha Leigh

If you're a fan of stories that revolve around the concept of one true love, or a second chance romance, Samantha Leigh's February 2024 novel "Joy" is for you. The story follows protagonists Joy and Erica, two Brits who were lovers as teenagers and drifted apart as life took them different directions. Now adults, Joy has a husband and resides in London, while Erica resides in Liverpool with her girlfriend. Both find themselves growing increasingly dissatisfied with their lives. Joy is unhappy with how materialistic her life has become, while Erica has grown disillusioned as her partner seems more focused on her appearance than their romance. But when the pair run into one another while both back in their hometown of Brighton, they realize that spark they had in their teens is very much still there. Will it be possible to rekindle their long lost love? And how will it impact the lives they've built for themselves since?

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With 41 ratings on Goodreads at the time of writing, "Joy" is riding high with a 4.59 star rating out of five, and fans were full of praise. "A poignant exploration of the paths we choose and the people we leave behind. It's an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you questioning your own life choices," on Goodreads review says.

The Pairing by Casey McQuiston

Set for release in August 2024, Casey McQuiston's "The Pairing" is one of the most anticipated LGBTQ+ romance novels of the year. This contemporary romance focuses on Theo and Kit, bisexual former best friends and lovers, whose relationship eventually became non-existent. Years after their split, the two independently happen upon a gift certificate for a food and wine tour around Europe that they never cashed in during their relationship, and decide it's the right time to finally go on the trip. Of course, neither expects the other to book the trip at the same time. Yikes. Convinced there's no love lost between them, the two decide to place bets on who can sleep with the most people during their trip ... only to find that seeing each other with someone else isn't what they wanted.

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Some lucky readers got their hands on the book ahead of its official release and have already given it rave reviews. "A book about love in concrete terms, love in generous terms, love in the most indulgent terms," one Goodreads user shared. Get your hands on this one if you enjoy reads where you're willing the stubborn protagonists to get together, as it's a must have for your LGBTQ+ TBR list.

This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill

Edward Underhill's young adult romance "This Day Changes Everything" is made for those who love a forced proximity and opposites-attract romance combined with a fish-out-of-water story. It centers around characters Abby and Leo, two queer characters from small towns who are in New York City for a high school band trip. Abby is determined to use the trip to finally confess her love for her best friend, Kat. Leo, meanwhile, is anxious that being in the city will result in him accidentally being outed as trans to his family. One wrong train later, and the two decide to adventure through the Big Apple together to gather sentimental souvenirs Abby can use to profess her love to Kat. However, what starts as a lighthearted escapade eventually transforms into something more meaningful for both. 

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The book has already received widespread praise for its honest depiction of trans characters and queer relationship dynamics. "This is the book that I hope absolutely every queer and trans teen finds and reads and deeply absorbs to know they're not the only one, they can do the hard things, and they are deserving of love," one Goodreads review reads.

Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa

Rafael Alvarez is the protagonist in Jonny Garza Villa's young adult novel "Canto Contiga." He's the lead of his high school's mariachi band and is on the cusp of taking the group to a major victory. Only, there's one thing standing in his way: He must face a rival school's super talented musician Rey Chavez — who he made out with a few months earlier. Determined to get the win for his late grandfather, Rafael knows he needs to put his feelings for Rey aside and do whatever it takes to win. But with Rafael falling for Rey, that may be easier said than done.

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But make no mistake; this isn't just another rivals-to-lovers book. Readers have praised the book's thoughtful depiction of Mexican culture and what it's like to come to terms with one's identity through the things we love. As one review shared via Goodreads put it, "It's a story of the need to make your family proud and to live up to the expectations you place upon yourself. It's a story of queerness, first love, community and family. It's a story of both grief and joy in their rawest forms. It's a story about two boys falling in love to the soundtrack of Mariachi and it's simply gorgeous." When asked to described the novel in five words by The Nerd Daily, Garza Villa chose, "Mariachi, First Love, Grief, Pendejismo."

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Late Bloomer by Mazy Eddings

Another book for those who enjoy a classic enemies-to-lovers plot, Mazy Eddings' "Late Bloomer" is the ultimate story of that thin line between love and hate. The book centers on Opal, who just won the lottery, only to find people from her past crawling out of the woodwork looking for a payout. Because of Opal's incredible generosity, she finds herself giving money to anyone who asks. Determined not to lose her fortune to opportunists, she gets away from the vultures by investing her money in a North Caroline flower farm. The isolated life appears to be working for Opal, too ... until a woman named Pepper throws a spanner in the works by claiming she's actually the rightful owner of the farm and won't be leaving. Refusing to give up what she believes is her birthright, she and Opal are forced to live together and channel the odd couple, unable to agree on even the simplest thing. But while they fail to see eye to eye at first, it seems like that disdain for one another becomes fuel for something beautiful.

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"Pepper and Opal were so chaotic and whimsical together; the cottagecore vibes were absolutely darling and fit so well with both of their characters and history," one Goodreads reviewer shared of the April 2024 book, making this novel ideal for those who love their cozy LGBTQ+ romances.

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