Booklist for Trans Teens

Here is a list of young adult literature featuring trans* (including transgender, gender variant, two-spirit, genderqueer, aggressive and other gender non-conforming) characters or trans* themes. This list is measly, not because I have not been digging, but rather because so few titles exist, so please add books if you know of them (only YA books with trans*/gender variant/etc themes, as there are tons of booklists out there for LGBTQ youth already). While I researched the original list and continue to add to it, I have also used the crowdsourcing available thorugh Goodreads to build the list--this means that I cannot personally vouch for every item on the list, but it also has allowed the list to grow to at least 3 or 4 times its original size. On that note, I encourage you to add to this list, and if you have titles you are unable to personally add, message me or email me at jackson.radish@gmail.com

I also encourage trans* authors to write books for teens--if you do, let me know (and if you are trying to get it published, let me know too!)
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4.23 avg rating — 26 ratings
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254 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Jackson 586 books
250 friends
Laura 3522 books
95 friends
Lori 1670 books
30 friends
Sally 4527 books
1706 friends
Angie 3283 books
111 friends
Kelly 2533 books
143 friends
Non 1823 books
186 friends
Stephanie 4747 books
730 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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message 1: by Ifrah (new)

Ifrah Yay, thanks for making this list. I've been trying to find more variety of books for the GSA at my highschool.


message 2: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Ifrah wrote: "Yay, thanks for making this list. I've been trying to find more variety of books for the GSA at my highschool."
really glad you found it helpful and will be able to use it with your GSA! Back when I was in a GSA (er, like a decade ago!) the only lgbtq teen books I knew of were Annie On My Mind, all the Rainbow Boys books, and a couple books by Julie Anne Peters. I would troll the gay and lesbian section at the book store by my house for books to read and ended up reading Edmund White and some other stuff like that. Definitely no trans books (though I didn't know I was trans at the time and didn't know that trans men existed, I knew vaguely that trans issues were about me, if that makes sense, and wanted to read fiction about them) and basically no books with people of colour or people from working class families. It was dumb. I would reccommend "I Am J" to your GSA if you're just gonna look at one because there are strong CAFAB and CAMAB trans characters, most characters are people of colour and almost all characters are working class. It's also just a great story with good characters in general.


message 3: by Amelia (new)

Amelia May I hate Luna. It's full of misgendering and the narrator is awful.


message 4: by Zane (new)

Zane Carey Amelia wrote: "I hate Luna. It's full of misgendering and the narrator is awful."

I agree it had major issues. It was more of a book with a transcharacter than a book about the transcharacter.


message 5: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Amelia wrote: "I hate Luna. It's full of misgendering and the narrator is awful."

yeah, I hated it too! It is also completely all about how much of a burden having a trans sister is for Luna's sister Regan. Snooze. But the truth is, I hate most of the books on this list, there are a few good ones, but mostly every single teen book with trans characters has a ton of problems.


message 6: by Mike (new)

Mike Luna did certainly have its issues. I will say that I like Peters' writing, but Regan was an underdeveloped moron, and the narrative wasn't very interesting. I barely gave it 3.5 stars.

Anyway, thanks for making this list. There are so few trans books, it's nice to have what few there are compiled into a convenient list.


message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Eliason I would love to see my novel, Run, Clarissa, Run get a few more reviews and maybe a little higher on the list. If anyone wants a review copy, feel free to send me a private message. I am always glad to give copies in exchange for honest reviews.


message 8: by Sue (new)

Sue McAvoy I would like to recommend adding books by Karin Bishop; they're at the Kindle store and maybe BN. Several of them are YA, although some have adult protagonists (haven't read them all), but they all seem to have at least one transgendered character, usually a teen and often the narrator.

I've read a few so far and the characters are very real and treated with sensitivity--I mean all the characters throughout. And no porn, thank goodness! I like her writing style and she's gotten great reviews from readers (at Amazon, I mean.)

Her book "Ignorance is Bliss" was very good and led me to read "Luna" and "Almost Perfect" from this list. I think some "Luna" criticism is harsh as far as Luna herself is portrayed, but I felt it was about the growth and acceptance by Regan. In the same way, "Almost Perfect" dealt with the growth (and agonizing backsliding!) of Logan.

LGBT or straight or whatever--being a teen is tough!


message 9: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Eliason I haven't read Ignorance is Bliss but I read Roommates by her. It was a little slow (not enough dramatic tension) but it was a good presentation of transition for a trans/intersex person. I'll check if it's on goodreads and add it if it is.


message 10: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Sue wrote: "I would like to recommend adding books by Karin Bishop; they're at the Kindle store and maybe BN. Several of them are YA, although some have adult protagonists (haven't read them all), but they all..."
Thanks for the suggestions--just FYI, this list is crowdsourced, meaning that anyone on Goodreads can add books to the list by "voting" on them so if you (or anyone) finds a book that is not on here, you can add it and are encouraged to do-so because people adding books to the list is how it got to be 51 books long and how it continues to grow and stay current!


message 11: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Sue wrote: "I would like to recommend adding books by Karin Bishop; they're at the Kindle store and maybe BN. Several of them are YA, although some have adult protagonists (haven't read them all), but they all..."

I did also see, though, that there was no record for Ignorance is Bliss on Goodreads so I created one since I am a librarian on here, just FYI. I am not sure if people who do not have librarian status on Goodreads can create new book records but I assume there's some way to suggest them if you can't find the book you are looking for (? does anyone know?)


message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Eliason There is a way to add books if you are not a librarian, but as far as I can tell it's basically sends the link to someone who is a librarian. I "added" Roommates but it may take awhile to actually show up.


message 13: by Anna (new)

Anna Kļaviņa Jackson wrote: "Sue wrote: "I would like to recommend adding books by Karin Bishop; they're at the Kindle store and maybe BN. Several of them are YA, although some have adult protagonists (haven't read them all), ..."

People who are not librarians can add new book http://www.goodreads.com/book/new?boo...


message 14: by Carolyn (new)


message 15: by Shayna (new)

Shayna Just a note, but "Debbie Harry Sings in French" isn't actually about a transgender teen. The main character dresses as a woman sometimes, but throughout the story it's made very clear that he identifies as male.


message 16: by Hayden Sage (new)

Hayden Sage I read Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and I don't remember any trans relationof in it...but maybe i'm wrong.


message 17: by Hayden Sage (new)

Hayden Sage I read Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and I don't remember any trans relationof in it...but maybe i'm wrong.


message 18: by Rainbowheart (last edited Jan 08, 2014 05:02PM) (new)

Rainbowheart ToraBob.... wrote: "I read Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and I don't remember any trans relationof in it...but maybe i'm wrong."

The character Valentina is MTF transgender.


message 19: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Shayna wrote: "Just a note, but "Debbie Harry Sings in French" isn't actually about a transgender teen. The main character dresses as a woman sometimes, but throughout the story it's made very clear that he ident..."

Unfortunately, since anyone can add books to this list, there is no way to keep titles that don't actually deal with trans stuff off of this list. Most of them do, but there are a few that don't, which is true of any listopia list on goodreads. A lot more good has come from the crowd-sourcing of this list than bad, though, since when I started the list there were something like 15 titles on it.


message 20: by Hayden Sage (new)

Hayden Sage Rainbowheart wrote: "ToraBob.... wrote: "I read Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and I don't remember any trans relationof in it...but maybe i'm wrong."

The character Valentina is MTF transgender

Oh yeah... now I feel stupid Lol. Thanks Rainbowheart for correcting me :)



message 21: by Sue (new)

Sue McAvoy I haven't visited here since last year, and I'm glad this list has grown. I'm the one that mentioned Karin Bishop's books and would very much like to see some of her titles listed here. I've read a few more of her books since I posted, and they all carry a sensitive and positive view for transgender teens.

Some of her books have adult protagonists who may or may not be transgender, but these are the ones I've read (so far) that have trans youth, and I recommend them: Breath of Life, Dress Code, Fashion Class, Role of a Lifetime, The Network, and The XY Axis.

Every character, primary and secondary, feels real and I have a greater appreciation for the struggles of trans youth through reading these books.


message 22: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart I noticed someone changed the name of this list from Trans Youth to Trans Teens. Does that mean picture books should be removed? If the list creator wants, I can take them off.


message 23: by Hannah (last edited Jul 08, 2014 07:28AM) (new)

Hannah I noticed that Almost Perfect is on here. I've read that book and I have to say it's not a book for any trans person until they feel safe. I made the mistake of reading it early in my transition and it scared me. It displays trans-women's lives as dim, painful, and with little hope. The main character was a bad person in my mind, and frankly was one of the trans-character's main problems. I know others feel differently, but I felt the book is not quite suitable for trans teens. Sure, I know first hand that everyday as a trans woman(or any gender non conforming person) is not all rainbows and sunshine given the way society acts, but the author made it seem like there was no hope. It should not be marketed for anyone who wants to read it while transitioning.


message 24: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Hannah wrote: "I noticed that Almost Perfect is on here. I've read that book and I have to say it's not a book for any trans person until they feel safe. I made the mistake of reading it early in my transition an..."
Thanks for your comment, I think you very eloquently expressed how a lot of people (myself included) feel about this book. At the time that this list was created, there were less than 20 books out there that even fit into this category, so as stated above, these are books that exist, not books that are recommended.

I think it is important for us to voice our opinions about this book on the list rather than exclude it, partially because it is a crowd sourced list and we really can't exclude ANY book from the list and partially because it won the Stonewall Book Award from the ALA and is one of the first titles that comes up when searching for books on this subject, so many people assume that means it is a good book for trans youth. Including it on the list gives us an opportunity to share our reviews on the book with people who are looking for books on the subject, so obviously we should keep posting reviews like this right alongside the positive ones!


message 26: by Brooke (new)

Brooke Banks Would The Fox's Mask count? It's YA but fantasy.

Basically, the protag's clan can switch genders but are born as one. They were born a girl but prefers to live as a boy and is living on their own as one since their clan gives them shit over it, especially when it comes to "breeding". *shivers*


message 27: by Drew (new)

Drew Golden Boy doesn't have any trans characters (to my knowledge, I haven't read it yet) though the main character is intersex. So it probabky has similar themes to a book with trans characters, but I don't think it actually has any.


message 28: by Desiree (new)

Desiree I'd like to recommend A Girl Without a Name. It simply blew me away. A friend recommended it to me and it caught me by surprise.


message 29: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper The hobbit?? What did I miss there?


message 30: by Sally (new)

Sally Adam????? No?????


message 31: by Elias (new)

Elias Why is this list tagged as aggressive?


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