If you’re casting about for a new book to read, you might have something quite specific in mind – such as a novel set in a high school, with some MLM romance going on. You might wonder if this is hard to find, but the good news is – not especially! There are quite a few options out there for you to choose from.
MLM LGBTQ+ books set in a high school include things like Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender; The Backstagers, by James Tynion IV and Rian Sigh; Enemies With Benefits, by Lavender Fields; The Summer With You, by Nagisa Furuya; Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman; and Running With Lions, by Julian Winters.
Not every single one of these books is set in a traditional high school, but they all feature academia in some way, and they’re fabulous reads with compelling, emotional characters, skillful writing, and phenomenal imaginations behind them!
Book 1) Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender
This is an incredible book that covers all kinds of themes and ideas, and features a black, queer, transgender individual as the main character – ticking a whole lot of boxes for readers who are looking for more diversity-inclusive books. Felix Love (how’s that for a romantic name) is the main character, and wow, does he have a story and a half!
When a student at his school posts information about Felix’s transition and publicizes his deadname, Felix is left furious and sets out for revenge, using catfishing to snare himself a little bit of power over his target – but that all backfires when he finds himself in the middle of a complicated love triangle that he has no control over.
And… you guessed it, yes, Felix Love is about to find love. For anybody who enjoys a good enemies to lovers plot, this is the perfect book, and it is graceful in its handling of many topics that are tricky to approach, including body dysmorphia and transphobia.
The characters are realistic, deep, and very engaging, and you want nothing more than for everything to turn out alright in the end. Read it, and see if it does!
Book 2) The Backstagers, by James Tynion IV and Rian Sigh
Graphic novels have been steadily growing in popularity in recent years, and there are definitely good reasons for that – with books like The Backstagers being among those reasons. If you’re after a read that is light, easy, and pretty quick, this is the perfect choice.
This book features a boy called Jory, who has started attending a boys-only private high school. At first, he finds the place a disaster. He’s the new kid, the outsider, the one who hasn’t yet made friends… and yet, he’s about to find his people among the stage crew of the school – known as the backstagers.
This group of students is so accepting, Jory soon finds his place among them. More excitingly for readers, he also steps into a phenomenal world of magic and intrigue, all hidden behind the curtain of the stage. The entire book is very wholesome and although the pacing is a bit fast for some (who would prefer a slower-burn overall), it’s generally very enjoyable.
If you like the found family trope, it satisfies on that count too – as well as finding love among the backstagers, Jory finds plenty of acceptance and people who care about him, and you just know they’re going to be friends for life.
Book 3) Enemies With Benefits, by Lavender Fields
This book takes the enemies to lovers trope with both hands and launches into it full throttle, with as much energy and enthusiasm as any other we’ve seen! The book follows Colby in his compelling, confusing, and decidedly intriguing interactions with Ezra Dickinson, who is his archnemesis… or is he?
Colby thinks he has had an amazing time with a girl at a party – until it turns out no, he was with Ezra, the boy he hates. So, naturally, he needs to seek him out and set the record straight… and that quickly goes wrong, at least according to Colby’s plan. The two find they have some pretty irresistible attraction to each other.
But Colby doesn’t want that; he wants revenge. Readers are taken on an extraordinary, exciting ride as the two plunge headlong into a challenging relationship. It’s a gripping read, with Colby as an adorable and sometimes rather slow main character, and Ezra as a fascinating love interest.
It’s also quite short – you can get through the book within a few hours if you’re dedicated, and it’s got just the right amount of humor and emotion to keep you turning the pages as fast as you can. Colby will have you chuckling away… but also rushing to keep reading and find out what he’s going to do next. That’s a solid “yes” from us!Book 4) The Summer With You, by Nagisa Furuya
Another fabulous graphic novel, this is Volume 2 of the My Summer Of You series, and it’s a really solid read. It follows Wataru Toda and Chiharu Saeki, who are just two high school students who love movies passionately. They quickly become fast friends, and Chiharu begins to feel something more…
You might expect drama when he tells Wataru of his feelings, but in a heart-warming moment, Wataru is very accepting, though he doesn’t seem to immediately return the romantic interest. Instead, he simply says it doesn’t bother him, and he and Chiharu continue as friends… until Wataru realizes that he also wants something more.
Journey with the two as they explore various film spots and enjoy their favorite movies together, and gradually fall deeper and deeper in love. It’s a touching, enormously enjoyable story, and because it’s a graphic novel, it’s also very easygoing.
The illustrations are very pleasing; they are simple, yet effective, and help to really engage you with the characters, allowing you to see their world vividly. It’s very “fluffy,” and definitely a great option for any keen MLM high school reader!
One of the nice things about this story is that the characters care about each other from the start, which makes a refreshing change from the enemies-to-lovers approach we so often see in LGBTQ+ literature.
Book 5) Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman
We’re on another graphic novel here – it seems to be the theme for this particular subgenre of LGBTQ+ books! Fortunately, we and many readers are very much down for this kind of approach; it’s engaging and it makes reading easy, even if you’ve got a busy lifestyle.
Heartstopper is probably one of the most famous LGBTQ+ young adult books at the moment, and has even ended up as a Netflix TV series because it’s so popular. It features a great friends to lovers story arc, and it’s set in a high school – what more could you want?
Readers everywhere have fallen in love with Nick Nelson, who is a gentle, loving rugby player – and with Charlie Spring, openly gay and confident, and quick to make friends with Nick when the opportunity arises.
What’s really amazing about this book is that Alice Oseman both wrote and illustrated it, meaning that the whole thing has a beautiful sense of harmony; it has been created exactly according to the author’s vision. There’s something really nice about flicking through the pages with this in mind.
Book 6) Running With Lions, by Julian Winters
This one is set at a summer camp rather than directly in a high school, but it still makes the cut because it’s just so good. It is a sporty romance that takes place on a football team – not a place where everyone would expect to find acceptance as a bisexual.
Sebastian Hughes does, though! He is part of the team and already open about his sexuality, which many readers have found refreshing and enjoyable. Furthermore, his team is made up of multi-ethnic characters with many different sexual orientations, meaning representation within this book is pretty good – and it’s got some wonderfully supportive, accepting moments.
Sebastian’s problems arise when he runs into an ex-best-friend, Emir, who is at the camp with him… and thus ensues the enemies to lovers trope that we all love so much. Will he and Emir manage to work out their differences and act on their feelings, or are they going to find it too hard?
It’s not quite at a high school, but it’s almost as good as – so settle back and enjoy the romance as these two characters figure each other out. The characters are detailed and interesting, the writing is satisfying and effective, and this is all around a fabulous book to get into! Readers everywhere have raved about it.
As you can see, there are plenty of LGBTQ+ MLM books set in high schools to fall in love with – and plenty of slight variations on this idea too. You can watch young characters figure out who they are and what their place in the world is – and goodness, some of the writing in this genre is stunning!