Heartstopper has been one of Netflix’s most popular shows since its 2022 premiere. Rapidly, it’s been building a diehard and dedicated fanbase. Many IMDB users even rate it as one of the Best Netflix TV Shows of 2022. Heartstopper is a great LGBTQ+ Netflix teen Romance TV show, but many may be surprised to learn that it started as a book. Like the upcoming Red, White, and Royal Blue movie, its origins come from the literary world.
Red, White, and Royal Blue, and Heartstopper are two of the many great LGBTQ+ books currently available to read. These books are also some of the many being adapted for the screen in 2022 and beyond. There are now plenty of diverse and inclusive books showcasing queer love stories, but here are some of my favorites.
The Heartstopper Series By Alice Oseman
Heartstopper is a series of graphic novels about Nick and Charlie. Their love story brings Nick to a revelation about his sexual identity, and it allows Charlie to learn to love himself.
Heartstopper currently has four published volumes, with a fifth volume being released in 2023. Fans of Heartstopper can read the book series as they wait for Seasons 2 and 3. These graphic novels offer a window into what may happen between Nick and Charlie in future seasons. It’s also a way to reunite with your favorite characters.
Red, White And Royal Blue By Casey McQuiston
Alex is the son of the current female president of the United States. Henry is a British prince. They hate each other. After an incident that could cause both families really bad PR, they must pretend to be best friends. This fake friendship allows Alex to see that maybe his hatred for Henry was misplaced.
Like Heartstopper, this is the love story between a bisexual male character and a gay male character. Unlike Heartstopper, this book is more of an enemies-to-lovers story. Henry and Alex are not as sweet and innocent as Charlie and Nick. They're raw and a little bit naughty -- which you would expect from 20-something men. Amazon is already working on a film adaptation of Red, White and Royal Blue, which will bring Alex and Henry’s warm, funny, and endearing love story to the screen.
Felix Ever After By Kacen Callender
Felix Ever After is the story of a transgender teen boy. He becomes the victim of a cyber bully, while also trying to figure out his identity. He knows he’s transgender but isn’t sure if man or boy is the right title for him.
Romance plays a major part in the novel, but it’s not the center of it. Felix’s most profound love story is with himself. Like Felix, Charlie also must gain some confidence in the Heartstopper TV show. Felix Ever After doesn’t just represent the trans community, but highlights various LGBTQ+ characters of color. Heartstopper also showcases many different LGBTQ+ characters, including a transgender supporting character.
The Girl From The Sea By Molly Knox Ostertag
The Girl from the Sea is a graphic novel about a girl who falls for a mermaid creature. One night, Keltie saves Morgan from drowning. From that moment, the teen girls become inseparable. They also fall in love.
Keltie and Morgan, like Nick and Charlie, don’t have the easiest road to happiness. Morgan knows she likes girls, but is afraid of how those around her, especially her family, will react to her being a lesbian. Nick faces a similar fear about coming out as bisexual.
Pumpkin By Julie Murphy
Pumpkin is the third (and possibly final) book in the Dumplin’-universe. It’s about Waylon, a plus-size gay teen. Despite being out as gay, he tries to blend into the background in his small-town and high school as much as possible. However, a viral video of him doing drag pushes him into the spotlight.
He also finds himself running for prom queen because of it. Pumpkin and Heartstopper both have a similar heartwarming tone. They both tackle serious issues such as self-love, bullying, coming to terms with one’s sexuality, and being true to yourself, with lots of humor and joy. Waylon also has a very swoon-worthy teen romance with someone who on paper seems the total opposite of him.
Loveless By Alice Oseman
Loveless is Alice Oseman’s novel about Georgia, a girl who is about to graduate high school without ever having a real relationship or even a kiss. Her friends try to help her kiss her crush at a party, but it turns into a major disaster. It also starts Georgia on a journey of exploring why she’s never really had romantic or sexual feelings.
Loveless is from the same author who wrote the Heartstopper book series. Both Heartstopper and Loveless share in their tender approach to teens figuring out their sexual identity. The book also explores what true love looks like to someone who identifies as asexual. It also manages to have an LGBTQ+ romance as a main part of the story, without distracting from Georgia’s story as an asexual character.
Perfect On Paper By Sophie Gonzalez
Darcy is a bisexual love guru, at least that’s her claim. She is secretly the person behind locker 89, a locker where students submit their most pressing love questions hoping for advice. Darcy’s locker 89 business is booming, but it’s all threatened when another student, Brougham, finds out her identity.
He wants her to help him get back his ex-girlfriend. Feeling like if she doesn’t help him, her secret will be exposed, especially to her best friend and the girl she loves, Brooke, who may not be ecstatic about this reveal. Heartstopper makes it very clear that Nick is a bisexual character, but hasn’t completely dug into some of the issues he may face because of it, including biphobia. Perfect on Paper addresses biphobia and also Darcy’s fear of seeming less queer if she falls for a guy instead of a girl. Perfect on Paper feels very much like an LGBTQ+ rom-com in the best way.
Cheer Up: Love And Pompoms By Crystal Frasier
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms is a graphic novel about two former friends who end up on the same cheer squad. One of the main characters of this novel is a trans girl. The love story of Annie and Bebe is similar to Charlie and Nick because they’re friends first before their relationship blossoms into love.
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms is a short and sweet story but it also explores things such as parents being afraid for their trans daughter, and how that can lead to tension between child and parent. Overall, the story takes a playful and fun approach but addresses some serious issues facing queer characters.
One Last Stop By Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston makes the list again because they are really good at writing LGBTQ+ fiction. One Last Stop has some sci-fi elements as it tells the story of August and Jane, two characters who fall hard for each other, but they have one major problem: Jane is stuck on the subway train and has been since the '70s.
Heartstopper fans may enjoy One Last Stop because it has a compelling LGBTQ+ love story and adds a touch of sci-fi. It also has an assortment of kooky characters, most of them members of the LGBTQ+ community.
You Should See Me In A Crown By Leah Johnson
In You Should See Me In A Crown, Liz joins the prom court to win a scholarship to pay for her dream school. She also wins the attention of fellow prom count rival Mack. Similar to Charlie in Heartstopper, Liz doesn’t want to be the center of attention.
Both Liz and Charlie must learn that it’s okay to take up space, to be themselves, to be seen, and loved for who they are. You Should See Me In A Crown also explores being a queer, Black girl in a school where she’s the minority in more ways than one.
If you haven’t seen Heartstopper, you should check it out, and we can give you many reasons why, but if you have, then these books should fill that Heartstopper void. Make sure to check our upcoming movies schedule for updates on the Red, White and Royal Blue premiere date.
Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.
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