Lesbian Book Recs

Welcome to a page dedicated to all things LESBIAN. Below are some books that have lesbian main character that we at Rainbow Stacks have LOVED along with some that are still on our TBR. We’ve also included some amazing recs by some lesbian authors we have interviewed. As always, feel free to add your own recs in the comments below (:

If you want to learn more about what being a lesbian means, head on over to our definitions page!

*NOTE: all books provided on this page includes a list of Trigger Warnings either provided by the author or provided with thorough research. It will be noted if the trigger warnings are directly from the author. Much of our research came from reader reviews on Goodreads or on BookTriggerWarnings.com. Even though time and care was put into researching these triggers, these lists may still not be exhaustive and may not include your specific triggers. If any of these books seem like they could be triggering, research your own triggers before reading. Take care of yourself xx.

BOOKS WE’VE READ AND LOVED

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Representation: Mc is Chinese and identifies as a lesbian, although that word is not explicitly stated. Love Interest is also a lesbian. Author is also Asian American and identifies as a lesbian.

Trigger Warnings (TW): racism, homophobia, xenophobia, miscarriage

This story 100% deserves all the praise and numerous awards it has been getting this year (including the National Book Award and the Stonewall Book Award to name but a few) and will be making it onto our favorite books we’ve read in 2022 list! In this story you follow a Chinese-American girl named Lily, who visits an illustrious lesbian bar and starts to realize her feelings towards a beautiful girl in her life are anything but what a good daughter of Chinese immigrants should be feeling in the turbulent year of 1954. Filled with love, passion, and questions of what it means to be loyal to your family, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is sure to steal your heart.

We at Rainbow Stacks absolutely adored this lesbian story. It shone a spotlight on how Chinese-Americans were treated in a time where the world equated Communism with anyone with Chinese origins. Following Lily’s journey to discovering her sexuality was so sweet and we were rooting for her the entire time. This cast of characters was so queer and wonderful. We highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Representation: MCs both identify as lesbians. 1 MC is Indian American.

Trigger Warnings (TW): alcohol use, bullying, micro-agressions, homophobia, toxic relationships

This adorable YA sports romance follows a basketball players named Scottie, who is just trying to get over a nasty break-up with her ex-girlfriend. When an unfortunate circumstance arises, she is forced to drive around her biggest nemesis and popular cheerleader, Irene. Even though these two despise each other, they slowly start to connect as they work through their past traumas together. This hate to love rom-com is sure to make your heart flutter!

Even months after reading it, we still smile when we think about this book. What grows out of Scottie and Irene’s negative first impressions of each other is something beautiful to witness. This romance focuses a lot on healing from the loss of your first love and toxic relationships. Overall, this one is just precious!

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop.

Their bumpy start only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb her school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along. Hijinks, heartbreak, and gay fake-dating scheme for the ages. From author Kelly Quindlen comes a new laugh-out-loud romp through the ups and downs of teen romance.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

Representation: One MC identifies a lesbian and the other identifies as Polysexual. There is also a gay male secondary character.

Trigger Warnings (TW) as provided by the author: misogyny, homophobia, car accident death, miscarriage.

Here we have another adorable sapphic sports romance between a cheerleader named Amber and her school’s newest quarterback for their football team! After a tragic car accident that leaves the school without a quarterback, Jack, short for Jaclyn, steps in. Being a female football player isn’t easy and Jack reluctantly turns to Amber to help her connect to the team and manifest some school spirit.

This sweet rom-com has hilarious banter that had us laughing out loud multiple times. We were rooting for these two the entire time and thought their romance was adorable. Even if you are not super into sports, we think this one is definitely worth picking up if you want a quick, cute romance that also tackles deeper topics like homophobia, religion, and misogyny.

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Representation: One MC identifies as a Lesbian and the other MC as Bisexual.

Trigger Warnings (TW): death, murder

We were so pleasantly surprised by this queer fantasy where a princess betrothed sine childhood to a neighboring nation’s prince falls for his sister!! We loved watching Denna and Mare secretly fall for one another while trying to keep their kingdoms from going to war. Filled with interesting magic and politics, this one should for sure be on your radar if you are looking for a fantasy that has a tender f/f romance at its heart!!

This one can also be read as a standalone fantasy! It does have a sequel but you can read this one and get the complete story (:

Here is the official synopsis provided by Goodreads:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

She Gets the Girl by by Rachael Lippincot and Alyson Derrick

Representation: MCs and multiple side characters identify as lesbians. One MC is also Korean-American.

Trigger Warnings (TW): alcohol abuse (of parent), homophobia, internalized racism, mentions of cheating (not between the main couple).

This enemies to lovers, opposites attract romance is one of our all time favorites! This one follows Alex, a girl with a troubled home life who just wants to prove to her girlfriend that she can stick around. You also follow Molly, a Korean-American and socially awkward girl who wants to charm the girl on the soccer team. When these two team up to help each other get their girl, they start to fall for each other instead.

If you love slow burn, angst, and cute dates, this one is definitely one to pick up!

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other. 

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Representation: MC is bisexual with a lesbian love interest (not directly stated but implied). There are gay and nonbinary secondary characters. There are also other gay, nonbinary, and bisexual side characters

Trigger Warnings (TW): homophobia, religious trauma, cheating, ableist language, misogyny, outing of a character (in the past, briefly mentioned)

This precious and impactful sapphic spin on Paper Towns charmed us from the very first page. McQuiston has a way of making her characters so hilarious and relatable you can’t help but fall in love with them. From main characters to side characters, everyone in this book positively shined. Despite taking place at a rigorously religious high school in Alabama, McQuiston shines a light on all types of queerness which exists in places notorious for being unaccepting of queer identities, like the Southern United States.

The plot of this one is so fun, as it follows the perfectionist and valedictorian hopeful Chloe Green as she becomes obsessed with uncovering the mystery behind Prom Queen Shara Wheeler’s sudden disappearance. As Chloe finds clues that might lead her to Shara, she starts to feel strong emotions that mostly boil down to anger at Shara’s game. But…what if there’s something else there as well? Have we mentioned that Chloe and Shara are also longtime academic rivals and are constantly competing with one another? Who will be the first to uncover the mystery of their feelings and heart?

We at Rainbow Stacks just absolutely adored this one and highly recommend giving it a shot!

Here is the official synopsis provided by Goodreads:

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Representation: Centers a m/m romance where one MC is gay and the other is Bisexual. Also includes 2 lesbian characters in a f/f relationship and a trans woman.

Trigger Warnings (TW) as provided by the author (includes all 4 volumes): emotionally abusive relationships, homophobia (with slurs), bullying, sexual assault (one non-consensual kiss). VOL 3+4 ONLY: eating disorders, anxiety, reference to self harm, anorexia, OCD, discussion of trauma, therapy, psychiatric ward.

If you’ve been browsing Rainbow Stacks for a little bit, you’ll probably find that this graphic novel series is including on many recommendations lists. Alice Oseman includes so many sexualities and gender identities within all of her books, but especially Heartstopper. Although this series blew up in early 2022 because of the brilliant Netflix adaptation (watch it now if you haven’t!!), if you are still on the fence about whether to pick up this graphic novel series, this is your sign to do so!

Although the graphic novel series centers a m/m relationship, there are also two lesbians in the graphic novel that are pillars to the story, especially in volumes 2-4. Tara and Darcy embrace their sexualities and we get so happy seeing them on the page. We could gush about this series for a while, but just know it is well worth the read and is just so sweet!

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee

Representation: MC is hinted at being a lesbian, although it is never confirmed her exact sexuality. There is a f/f relationship.

Trigger Warnings (TW): death of a loved one, physical violence, alcohol consumption,

If you are looked for a historical fantasy that features sapphic Asian pirates? Look no further! This delightful Treasure Island Remix is full of adventure and a whole lot of heart. Follow Xiang as she tries to prove herself to her mother as she comes of age all while hunting down a notorious buried treasure with a cute, ruthless pirate at her side to help her along the way.

Here is the official synopsis provided by Goodreads:

1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Head of the Dragon, is now only a story, like the ones Xiang has grown up with all her life. She desperately wants to prove her worth, especially to her mother, a shrewd businesswoman who never seems to have enough time for Xiang. Her father is also only a story, dead at sea before Xiang was born. Her single memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.

But the pendant’s true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. The revelation that Xiang’s father sailed with the Dragon Fleet and tucked away this secret changes everything. Rumor has it that the legendary Head of the Dragon had one last treasure—the plunder of a thousand ports—that for decades has only been a myth, a fool’s journey.

Xiang is convinced this map could lead to the fabled treasure. Captivated with the thrill of adventure, she joins Anh and her motley crew off in pursuit of the island. But the girls soon find that the sea—and especially those who sail it—are far more dangerous than the legends led them to believe


Books Still On Our TBR

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Representation: Series features a sapphic (f/f) relationship between the main characters.Author and characters are also East Asian. *Note: We have not read this one yet and could not find evidence as to whether the characters identify as lesbians or are just in a f/f relationship.

Trigger Warnings (TW): abduction, physical + emotional abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault, death, forced contraception, rape, forced prostitution, genocide, harassment, misogyny, rape, torture, violence, slavery, murder, animal cruelty, homophobia.

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

Representation: MCs both identify as lesbians and are in a f/f relationship.

Trigger Warnings (TW): dementia, parental abuse (as caused by dementia), disabled sibling.

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

Representation: MC identifies as a lesbian who is also Mexican American. Love Interest is also a lesbian and Chinese. Side character (MCs brother) is Bisexual and Mexican-American.

Trigger Warnings (TW): racism, homophobia (with slurs), lesbophobia, religious trauma, stereotypes, forced outing, mentions of suicidal thoughts, hospitalization, disownment, implied homophobic violence.

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

Representation: MC is a lesbian and there is a bisexual side character. F/F relationship is hinted but not at the forefront.

Trigger Warnings (TW): cancer, death of parent (in past), death of grandparent (on page), drowning, suicide.

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Representation: MC identifies as a lesbians and is also Black. There is also a gay side characters and other characters who do not have a confirmed sexuality (although they are hinted at being queer).

Trigger Warnings (TW): animal death, death, domestic abuse, mention of corpses, homophobia, kidnapping, misogyny, murder, physical assault, sexual assault (nonconsensual kissing).

Here is the official synopsis as provided by Goodreads:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

Love and Other Natural Disasters

Representation: MC is a Japanese American lesbian. There is also a Japanese-American lesbian love interest and a Taiwanese American lesbian love interest. There are also numerous gay side characters

Trigger Warnings (TW): parental separation, anti-queer rhetoric, homophobia, mention of parental death

Here is the official synopsis provided by Goodreads:

When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Representation: One MC identifies as a lesbian and another MC identifies as bisexual. There is a f/f relationship and other queer side characters.

Trigger Warnings (TW) provided by the author: discussion of war, offscreen parental death + family death (not detailed), offscreen minor character death, self harm (blood drawn as part of a ritual but description could be triggering), slavery

Here is the official synopsis provided by Goodreads:

Impossible love between two girls —one human, one Made.
A love that could birth a revolution.

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will.

Now, Ayla, a human servant rising the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging the death of her family… by killing the Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier, who was Made to be beautiful, to be flawless. And to take over the work of her father.

Crier had been preparing to do just that—to inherit her father’s rule over the land. But that was before she was betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who seems to have a thousand secrets. That was before she discovered her father isn’t as benevolent as she thought. That was before she met Ayla.

Set in a richly-imagined fantasy world, Nina Varela’s debut novel is a sweepingly romantic tale of love, loss and revenge, that challenges what it really means to be human.