With every book I read, I connect with each character in a unique way. I take something different from each one of them. By reading about these characters, I’ve figured out important things about who I am and who I want to be. Here are the Top 10 LGBT Teen Fiction Characters that have had the biggest impact on me.

1. Dade Hamilton from The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

Out of all of the gay characters that I’ve read about, I’ve connected the most with Dade from The Vast Fields of Ordinary. I don’t know if it’s because Dade and I are so alike—that his actions in the novel are believable—or if it’s because Nick Burd’s writing is dreamy. It’s probably a mix of the two. (Dial)

2. Alex Donaldson from What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson

Alex is the first gay character I’ve read who I’m completely different from. For one, he likes to run—like, track, for fun. Uhm, never in my life will I sweat and enjoy it. Alex kind of made me realize that being gay doesn’t define your identity. Before reading What They Always Tell Us, I thought all gay boys dressed well and did good hair, just like me. Alex doesn’t dress as well as me (or do good hair!), but I can definitely relate to his story and voice. (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

3. Todd from The Sixth Form by Tom Dolby

I read The Sixth Form about a month before coming out to my friends. That was when I started appreciating my friends more. And I realized that at one point, if I wanted to continue my relationships with these people, I’d have to tell them about my sexuality. And after I did, I got nothing but support and “Uhm, obviously; you’re a cheerleader and you watch Gossip Girl” back. In the novel, Todd has trouble with telling his friends he’s gay. Todd had mislead his friends. He created this image for himself that made him come off as a womanizer. After reading The Sixth Form, I’ve realized how gifted I am with amazing, supportive friends. It’s not something a lot of people have. Todd didn’t. (Kensington)

4. Cass Meyer from A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

When I first heard of A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, I was very, very excited. There aren’t really that many books that explore the relationship between a lesbian and her best friend. When you hear the phrase “gay best friend,” you tend to think of a fashionista straight girl and her sassy gay friend. I never really thought about lesbian teens and their straight best friends, and I love how Emily Horner’s debut novel explored that. Cass’s voice spoke out to me; I feel the same way about my friends as she does hers. (Dial)

5. Walt from The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

The Carrie Diaries takes place in the 80’s. And people are way harsher on Walt then they ever were on me. Walt’s character made me happy to be in 2010. Even though being a teenager (gay or straight, in 2010 or in the 1980’s) sucks in so many ways, you have to appreciate the progress, despite the imperfect things, like marriage equality. I’m living in the best time to be gay in America. Walt made me realize that. (Balzer + Bray)

6. Damien Maslin from Marked: A House of Night Novel by P.C. and Kristin Cast

I started reading Marked oblivious to the fact there was a gay vampire dude in it. And when Stevie Rae, one of the protagonists of P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, introduced Damien as the token gay of the school, I was thrilled. Damien is gorgeous and smart. He represents the gays well! (St. Martin’s Griffin)

7. Jordy from Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Jordy is a character that stuck with me for a while after reading the last page of Becoming Chloe. His passion for life and dedication to the people he loved inspired me to be a better person (I cuss too much!). In the novel, Jordy is on his own, living homeless in New York City, because of his parents’ reaction to his sexuality. So many bad things happened to Jordy, yet he always remained optimistic. The book is really about his search for beauty in the terrible, otherwise ugly world he lives in. Jordy made me grateful that my experience with coming out was positive. (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

8. Magnus Bane from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magnus is the funnest gay wizard I have ever read. I loved reading him. He’s all about having fun and not caring what anyone thinks. He’s like a child, pre-war. He has that sense of happiness that we feel as children, before we know what homophobia and racism and murder are. His ability to push all of these things out of his head amazes me. (Margaret K. McElderry)

9. Emily from Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

The majority of my friends are straight teen girls, and they’re totally cool with me being gay. But, if you put them around a lesbian, they get tense. I see this a lot: my girlfriends are okay with gays, yet timid with lesbians. And I really hate that. Pretty Little Liars focuses on friendships, and one the main characters, Emily, is a closeted lesbian. Her friends and classmates don’t really look at her the same when they find out. Which is ridiculous. I love how Emily, as a character, shows that your sexual orientation doesn’t define your personality, or who you are. It’s just one of the many traits that you have. I also love how she breaks stereotypes. (Harper Teen)

10. Mason from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Ahh, Mason! A gay werewolf! Whenever I see a paranormal gay character, I can’t help but grin. It’s a good break from the usual depressed gay kid who has problems finding boyfriends and acceptance and all that stuff that I read in contemporary fiction. In Nightshade, it’s not really a big deal that Mason is gay. Like, oh, there’s a blonde werewolf, a werewolf with blue eyes, and werewolf who’s gay. So, Andrea Cremer definitely hits the fact that sexuality is just like race and gender and eye color. Which I love. (Philomel)

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16 Responses to “Top 10 Most Memorable LGBT Teen Fiction Characters According to Brent”

  1. Janet 25 August 2010 at 4:55 PM #

    Terrific list! Some great great titles on this list. But it looks like I have some catching up to do. So fun to see a post from a young person’s POV!

  2. Scott 25 August 2010 at 5:31 PM #

    May I suggest you read a trilogy by Mercedes Lackey? “Magic’s Pawn”, “Magic’s Promise”, “Magic’s Price”. I was very moved by Vanyel’s story. It’s in the fantasy genre but Vanyel’s relationships are depicted in a very real way.

  3. PG 26 August 2010 at 11:46 AM #

    No Tiny Cooper from “Will Grayson, Will Grayson”???????


    • Mardou 30 August 2010 at 3:32 PM #

      That surprised me too…I mean, Tiny Cooper is one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever read, period, YA or not.

  4. Jameson Fitzpatrick 26 August 2010 at 4:13 PM #

    I’m still partial to Infinite Darlene myself.

  5. Brent 26 August 2010 at 4:38 PM #

    I wanted to go beyond the whole “Levithan is Jesus” thing. :)

    • Janet 31 August 2010 at 1:33 PM #

      Sorry. Just spit out my tea. I, for one, love some of Levithan’s characters. Ely and Bruce are adorable! Paul and Noah too.

  6. Matthew Brooks 27 August 2010 at 5:42 AM #

    Read “The Cat in the Cradle” by Jay Bell if you want memorable gay teen fiction. Kio the cat would probably have made this list. Sounds cheesy, but the talking cat made me laugh.

  7. Frank Anthony Polito 27 August 2010 at 10:15 AM #

    Great list, Brent! Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to check out my second novel, DRAMA QUEERS! (Lambda Lit Award-winner for “Best Gay Romance” of 2009) featuring gay teen protag, Brad Dayton? Like THE CARRIE DIARIES, the story is also set in the 1980s — a time when being gay was even more difficult than today. But Brad does a pretty good job at remaining true to who he is, if I do say so myself!

  8. Lisa Gibson 27 August 2010 at 11:59 AM #

    Great list Brent! I’ve added several to my TBR (to be read) list. You’ve always got your finger on the pulse of young adult lit.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  9. Gaby 27 August 2010 at 5:07 PM #

    Such a great list Brent! Some of these books I still haven’t read, but I’ll definitely do it ;)

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  12. Rachel Summers 15 March 2011 at 5:05 PM #

    You said: So, Andrea Cremer definitely hits the fact that sexuality is just like race and gender and eye color. Which I love.

    I say: WTF? How is this a good thing? Earlier you said that it was a good thing that sexuality wasn’t treated like it was a defining trait of a persons personality, and now people who are gay are a whole different race?

    It doesn’t sit well with me at all. Good grief, for once can’t being gay just be something that’s normal, and not some kind of disorder? Sure, you’re not like everybody else, but you definably aren’t another race.

    • Kenneth 2 February 2013 at 4:43 AM #

      I totally agree with you Rachel. When I wrote my book, Awakened, I knew I wanted the main character to be gay, but to have that be such a normal part of him that it isn’t something that has to be constantly discussed. His sexuality comes up throughout the book, but he isn’t struggling with it, or coming out to anyone. He’s just gay and normal. The fact that he isn’t human has nothing to do with the gay thing! ;-)

      But to be fair, I think he was saying sexuality is like race, in that it is something you are born with, and not something that people should try to change. Not that being gay makes you a different race.

  13. […] Lambda Literary – This one’s a top ten list specifically for best characters in LGBT books. This is perhaps the most important niche of YA books right now, so check this out. […]

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