Queer Immigrant Teen Stories for Pride Month

Being queer and part of an immigrant family can be fundamental to a young person’s sense of self while growing up—these identities can also make a teen feel incredibly isolated from their communities. For Pride Month at CPL, we are highlighting novels about teens who experience their queerness and their immigration status as crucial to who they are. All of these novels show the beauty as well as the pain that comes with being a young person in a world that makes you question where you belong and who your people are.

I can’t recommend Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo enough! Lily Hu is a Chinese American high schooler growing up during the height of 1950s McCarthyism in San Francisco. Her family is already facing post-WWII anti-Asian xenophobia from the government when Lily finds herself visiting the lesbian bar in the heart of the city. There Lily finds romance, connection and self-discovery in this well researched and delightfully written historical novel.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is soulful, funny, and is as much about familial love as it is about young romance. Set under the big skies of El Paso, Aristotle Mendoza meets Dante Quintana, and the two strike up an intense bond while they navigate what it means to be living on a border as two Mexican American kids, and whether their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. 

Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa is a delightful rivals-to-lovers story about two high schoolers who both want to prove themselves as San Antonio's most talented Mariachi singer. It just so happens that Rafael and Rey also have had a steamy run-in previously. Try as Rafael might to hate Rey as his Mariachi rival, he can't seem to shake his feelings for him. 

Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian is a multi-generational three-way portrait of Moud, his father and grandfather. This story has big heart and shows how we are shaped by those who came before us in ways we may not even realize. The novel spans many decades and stretches across from Tehran to Los Angeles and back. 

Crash Landing by Li Charmaine Anne is a fun and adventurous story about Jay Wong, a novice skateboarder in Vancouver. When she meets Ash Chan, she gets thrown into the world of hardcore boarding and a Vancouver she's never known before, all while trying to figure out the secret that Ash seems to be holding.