2016 Rainbow Book List

The Rainbow Book List is created by the Rainbow Project Committee, a joint-committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender and Social Responsibilities Round Tables of the American Library Association (ALA).  The committee creates an annual book list of recommended GLBTQ fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers from birth through age 18.

under the lights

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
As Vanessa confronts her emerging feelings for her handler, Bri, her co-star Josh confronts his realization that the Hollywood scene might not really be his cup of tea.

simon vs the homo sapiens agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old, not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is blackmailed into playing wingman for his classmate or else his sexual identity--and that of his pen pal--will be revealed.


Breakthrough by Jack Andraka with Matthew Lysiak
Teen scientist Jack Andraka chronicles his development of an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer, and recounts his own personal story of overcoming depression and homophobic bullying. Includes hands-on science experiments.

wonders of the invisible world

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak
Seventeen-year-old Aiden has been living like a ghost since his mother tried to stop a family curse by causing him to forget his psychic experiences but when Jarrod, a childhood friend, returns, so do the memories and Aiden is compelled to seek the truth and release them all from the story that has trapped them.

the darkest part of the forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
In the town of Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side, a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives awakes after generations of sleep in a glass coffin in the woods, causing Hazel to be swept up in new love, shift her loyalties, feel the fresh sting of betrayal, and to make a secret sacrifice to the faerie king.

lair of dreams

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner and has become a media darling. In the meantime, a mysterious sleeping sickness has hit New York City, and the Diviners must band together to find the cause and the cure.


Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
Generations after an unknown Change eliminated electricity and gave people unusual powers, the Southern Californian town of Las Anclas must deal with the consequences when a teenage prospector comes to stay.

alex as well

Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
Raised as a boy, fourteen-year-old Alex, who has male and female sexual body parts, rejects the hormonal medications prescribed by his mother and decides to live as a girl.

the bane chronicles

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson
A collection of eleven short stories, previously published online, that illuminate the life of the enigmatic, flashy, and flamboyant High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane, a character in The Mortal Instruments series.


The History of Us by Nyrae Dawn

willful machines

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen
In a near-future America, a sentient computer program named Charlotte has turned terrorist, but Lee Fisher, the closeted son of an ultraconservative President, is more concerned with keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his developing romance with Nico, the new guy at school, but when the spider-like robots that roam the school halls begin acting even stranger than usual, Lee realizes he is Charlotte's next target.


George by Alex Gino
Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self.

no one needs to know

No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace
Told from separate viewpoints, two seniors at an elite girls school grow close as they work together on a project and Zoey, a scholarship student, begins dating wealthy, troubled Olivia's twin brother Liam, but romance blossoms between the girls, threatening both of their relationships with Liam.

none of the above

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Kristen discovers that she is intersex and possesses male chromosomes, a diagnosis that is leaked to the whole school, throwing Kristin's entire identity into question.


Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
Red's factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.


Adrian and the Tree of Secrets by Hubert

five stages of andrew brawley

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
Convinced he should have died in the accident that killed his parents and sister, sixteen-year-old Drew lives in a hospital, hiding from employees and his past, until Rusty, set on fire for being gay, turns his life around. Includes excerpts from the superhero comic Drew creates.


Poz by Christopher Koehler

the porcupine of truth

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
Seventeen-year-old Carson Speier is bored of Billings, Montana, and resentful that he has to help his mother take care of his father, a dying alcoholic whom he has not seen in fourteen years--but then he meets Aisha, a beautiful African American girl who has run away from her own difficult family, and together they embark on a journey of discovery that may help them both come to terms with their lives.

hold me closer

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan
Larger-than-life Tiny Cooper finally gets to tell his story, from his fabulous birth and childhood to his quest for true love and his infamous parade of ex-boyfriends, in the form of a musical he wrote.

about a girl

About a Girl: A Novel by Sarah McCarry
A contemporary retelling of the Atalanta myth in which a sudden discovery upends eighteen-year-old Tally's fiercely ordered world, setting her on a quest to seek the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past, but instead she finds the enigmatic and beautiful Maddy, who may open the door to her future.

cut both ways

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
Senior Will Caynes must face unsettling feelings for his best friend Angus after they share a drunken kiss, while also embarking on his first real relationship with sophomore Brandy--all as the burden of home-life troubles weigh heavily.

not otherwise specified

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Auditioning for a New York City performing arts high school could help Etta escape from her Nebraska all-girl school, where she's not gay enough for her former friends, not sick enough for her eating disorders group, and not thin enough for ballet--but it may also mean real friendships.

heather has two mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman & Laura Cornell
Heather's favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn't have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn't matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another".

we are all made of molecules

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susan Nielsen
Thirteen-year-old brilliant but socially-challenged Stewart and mean-girl Ashley must find common ground when, two years after Stewart's mother died, his father moves in with his new girlfriend--Ashley's mother, whose gay ex-husband lives in their guest house.

gay & lesbian history for kids

Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen
Offers a look at the history of LGBT rights through personal stories and firsthand accounts, and chronicles the events, organizations, and influential leaders of the movement.

gracefully grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Grayson, a transgender twelve-year-old, learns to accept her true identity and share it with the world.

when everything feels like the movies

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid
Teenage best friends Jude and Angela navigate high school while framing their experiences with movie terms.


Families by Shelly Rotner & Sheila M. Kelly
Big or small, similar or different-looking, there are all kinds of families. Some have one parent, some have two, and many include extended family. This inclusive look at many varieties of families will help young readers see beyond their own immediate experiences.

carry on

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
During his last year at Watford School of Magicks, Simon Snow, the Chosen One, faces a magic-eating monster wearing his face, a break-up, and a missing nemesis.

fans of the impossible life

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
At Saint Francis Prep school in Mountain View, New Jersey, Mira, Jeremy, and Sebby come together as they struggle with romance, bullying, foster home and family problems, and mental health issues.

stella brings the family

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer & Holly Clifton-Brown
Stella brings her two fathers to school to celebrate Mother's Day.

lizard radio

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali, who was deposited on Earth as an infant by mysterious saurians, must discover her true identity in a futuristic society run by an all-powerful government.

the marvels

The Marvels by Brian Selznick
In 1766, a boy, Billy Marvel, is shipwrecked, rescued, and goes on to found a brilliant family of actors that flourishes in London until 1900--and nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis, runs away from home, seeking refuge with his uncle in London, and is captivated by the Marvel house, with its portraits and ghostly presences.

more happy than not

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
After enduring his father's suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.

sex is a funny word

Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings and YOU by Cory Silverberg & Fiona Smyth
A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.

forgive me if I've told you this before

Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters
At high school beginning in 1989, shy, intelligent Triinu comes to realize that she's a lesbian--and in love--just as her home state of Oregon is debating Measure 9, which would allow discrimination against gay people.

what we left behind

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college--Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU--they're sure they'll be fine. The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected.

supermutant magic academy

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep-school for mutants and witches but their paranormal abilities take a back seat to everyday teen concerns. Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy.

honor girl

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
When Maggie falls in love with another girl at Camp Bellflower, an all-girl summer camp in Appalachia, her savant-like expertise at the camp's rifle range is what keeps her going through a summer of heartbreak and self-discovery.


Zak’s Safari by Christy Tyner & Ciaee

anything could happen

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, Tretch struggles with his feelings for his straight best friend, Matt, and the advances of a girl who has no clue how off-base her crush on him is.

playing a part

Playing a Part by Daria Wilke
Grishka has grown up in the closed world of a puppet theater in Russia, but now that world seems to be falling apart--his best friend needs an operation, financial difficulties are forcing people out, his homosexual friend Sam, the jester, is leaving for Holland and Grishka no longer knows what role he himself is playing.