I am firmly in the camp of wishing that Red, White & Royal Blue the movie had been three hours long (or longer!). If you, too, find yourself wanting more, I’m here for you. There’s just so much to love in that story, so I’ve broken out a few of my favorite elements and given LGBTQ+ book recommendations for each. Whether you were there for the comedy, the chemistry, or the drama of it all, I have the perfect read(s) for you while we wait for the director’s cut that sadly may never come.
by L.C. Rosen
If you enjoyed the referential wit of Red, White & Royal Blue, you’ll love this Austen retelling!
Emmett knows he’s blessed. And because of that, he tries to give back: from charity work to letting the often irritating Georgia sit at his table at lunch, he knows it’s important to be nice. And recently, he’s found a new way of giving back: matchmaking. He set up his best friend Taylor with her new boyfriend and it’s gone perfectly. So when his occasional friend-with-benefits Harrison starts saying he wants a boyfriend (something Emmett definitely does NOT want to be), he decides to try and find Harrison the perfect man at Highbury Academy, the candy-colored private school they attend just outside Los Angeles.
Emmett’s childhood friend, Miles, thinks finding a boyfriend for a guy you sleep with is a bad idea. But Miles is straight, and Emmett says this is gay life – your friends, your lovers, your boyfriends – they all come from the same very small pool. That’s why Emmett doesn’t date – to keep things clean. He knows the human brain isn’t done developing until twenty-five, so any relationship he enters into before then would inevitably end in a breakup, in loss. And he’s seen what loss can do. His mother died four years ago and his Dad hasn’t been the same since.
But the lines Emmett tries to draw are more porous than he thinks, and as he tries to find Harrison the perfect match, he learns that gifted as he may be, maybe he has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to love.
6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)
by Tess Sharpe
If the enemies to lovers angle drew you in, check out this frenemies romance!
After years of bickering, Penny and Tate have called a truce: they’ll play nice. They have to. Their mothers (life-long best friends) need them to be perfect, drama-free daughters when Penny’s mother becomes a living liver donor to Tate’s mom. Forced to live together as the Moms recover, the girls’ truce is essential in keeping everything—their jobs, the house, the finances, the Moms’ healing—running smoothly. They’ve got to let this thing between them go.
There’s one little hitch: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other.
And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.
The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich
by Deya Muniz
If you were swooning at the banter and pure adorable-ness factor, this cheesy graphic novel was made for you!
Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. But the law of the land is that women cannot inherit. So when her father passes away, she does the only thing she can: She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert.
But it’s hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention. Camembert can’t resist getting to know the princess, but as the two grow closer, will she able to keep her secret?
The King is Dead
If you couldn’t get enough of the high stakes royal drama and politics, you have to get your hands on this romantic thriller!
Heavy is the crown James has been born to wear, especially as the first Black heir to the British throne. But with his father’s recent passing, and with a new boyfriend to hide, James is woefully unprepared for the sudden shine of public scrutiny.
When his secrets come spilling forth across tabloid pages and the man he thought he loved has suddenly disappeared, James finds himself on the precipice of ruin. As every detail of his life becomes public knowledge, his sense of safety is shattered and the people he trusts the most become the likeliest suspects.
What dangers lurk behind the palace walls—and will the new king find out before it’s too late?
by L. C. Rosen
If you’re looking for more stories that highlight queer joy, don’t miss this summer camp story!
Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim—who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, however, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’—buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself: How much is he willing to change for love? And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
by Kara Bietz
If you are a sucker for irresistible chemistry in the face of forbidden love, you might enjoy this football romance with an emotional edge!
Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridien, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he’s only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin.
Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach’s office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he’s back, sitting at Julian’s grandmother’s kitchen table. But time and distance haven’t erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he’s not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.
If your favorite part was the comedy and hijinks the group got up to, this found family story is the one for you!
Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion who dreams of getting the proper training he could never afford. After earning a place on the elite Kings Row fencing team, Nicholas must prove himself to his rival, Seiji Katayma, and navigate the clashes, friendships, and relationships between his teammates on the road to state championships — where Nicholas might finally have the chance to spar with his golden-boy half-brother.
Coach Williams decides to take advantage of the boys’ morale after a recent victory and assigns them a course of team building exercises to further deepen their bonds. It takes a shoplifting scandal, a couple of moonlit forest strolls, several hilariously bad dates, and a whole lot of introspection for the team to realize they are stronger together than they could ever be apart.