Queer Romance Novels You Need to Read ASAP

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When I came out last year, I was doing anything I could to immerse myself in queer culture. I’d spent so much of my life identifying as a straight person and was sick of seeing heteronormative ideals of love in every single form of media I consumed. And as a steamy novel enthusiast, the first order of business was finding queer romance novels. Although there are definitely more mainstream straight romance stories out there, there is LGBTQ+ representation all throughout the romance genre if you know where to look for it.

These queer romance books give you a look into LGBTQ+ love, mostly through the eyes of queer-identifying authors themselves. Whether you’re hoping to read more stories about couples you identify with or just want a different perspective in your romance novels, these stories contain lesbian, gay, transgender, asexual, bisexual, and queer representation through and through.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Two loners, Aristotle and Dante, establish an unlikely friendship after meeting at a swimming pool, but their friendship might turn into something more as they learn more about each other and themselves.

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Alyssa Cole

How to Find a Princess

In this queer Anastasia retelling, Makeda Hicks loses her job and her girlfriend all at once, feeling a little annoyed when she’s forced to revisit her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince. When Beznaria Chetchevaliere is tasked with investigating the prince’s whereabouts, Makeda is smitten, and the two embark on a royal adventure. The book includes some of the best romance tropes like one-bed scenarios and fake dating.

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Leah Johnson

Rise to the Sun

After getting dumped and being totally over relationships, Olivia attends the Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her BFF. There, she meets Toni, who’s about to move to college while dealing with the death of her father. By the end of the festival, Olivia and Toni realize they need each other, regardless of the reasons they decided to attend the festival in the first place.

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Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop

When August moves to New York, she has no interest in falling in love (or really anything other than getting her college degree) until she meets Jane on the Q. She discovers Jane is actually from the ’70s and is stuck in 2020. The two embark on a journey to figure out what happened, establishing a friendship that turns into something more along the way.

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Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy


Jamie and Ryan were best friends until a bet turned into a one-night fling four years ago. When their college hockey teams play each other in a tournament, it only takes one look to make them wonder what could have happened. They sign up to coach the camp they went to all those years ago, and of course, shenanigans ensue.

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Tanya Boteju

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

Nima Kumara-Clark is bored of her community, but a local festival immerses her in the drag scene across town. Throughout the story, Nima learns more about her true self, how to express and accept love, and what it will take to achieve it.

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Alice Oseman


Georgia’s never fallen in love, never been kissed, and never even had a crush—but she’s sure there’s a romance out there for her. When she goes to college, she begins to question why love is so easy for everyone except her and starts learning more about asexuality and aromance. Is she meant to be loveless or is there more to her story?

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Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue

Alex and Henry hate each other, but what else would you expect from the son of the President of the United States and the Prince of England? When they’re forced to spend a little time together for PR, they realize they might actually have more in common than they thought. Expect lots of steam and some of the funniest one-liners in this book.

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Karelia Stetz-Waters

Satisfaction Guaranteed

When Cade inherits a sex shop, she has no interest in pleasure—until she’s surrounded by every means possible to have a great orgasm, including her new coworker Selena.

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Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After

After being cyberbullied by a classmate, Felix—Black, queer, and transgender—embarks on a scheme to catfish the assailant, ultimately landing in a love triangle. This story gives an honest, incredible look at what it means to find yourself and fall in love as a queer teen.

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Camille Perri

When Katie Met Cassidy

Katie’s life feels perfect—until her fiancé dumps her, leaving her alone and confused. She decides to have a drink with her fun, promiscuous coworker, which ultimately completely changes her ideas of what sex and love can look like.

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Jennifer Dugan

Some Girls Do

Morgan, an openly gay track star, is forced to move schools because being gay is against her Catholic school’s code of conduct. When she joins her new school, she meets Ruby, a closeted bisexual pageant girl with a love for restoring old cars.

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Morgan Rogers

Honey Girl

When two girls from opposite sides of the country get married after a drunk night out in Vegas, they spend the summer together to see if maybe all it does take is one night to meet the love of your life.

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Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Volume One

When Charlie, fresh off a year of being outed and bullied, meets Nick, a rugby player, the two spark a friendship. Charlie soon falls for Nick, even though he thinks he has no chance, but there might be more in store for the pair.

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Dani Alexander

Shattered Glass

Austin has everything: a good job, a trust fund, and a loving fiancé. But he’s still not happy, and Peter can see right through it, making him realize more about himself than he ever knew.

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Claire Kann

Let’s Talk About Love

After her girlfriend leaves her when she finds out Alice is asexual, Alice plans a summer of marathoning her favorite Netflix shows and working at her local library—with absolutely no love life. But then she meets Takumi, and her summer might just include a little romance after all.

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Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys

After his traditional Latinx family has trouble accepting Yadriel’s gender identity, he’ll do anything to prove he’s a real man, including summoning the ghost of his murdered cousin and setting him free. The ritual goes wrong, and he actually summons the ghost of the high school bad boy—and he can’t get rid of him.

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Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half

Although this isn’t technically a romance, it involves one of the most beautiful queer romances we’ve ever read that actually feels realistic. The Vignes twins embark on totally different journeys: One lives with her Black daughter in the same town they once tried to escape, and the other is white-passing and lives with her white family. No matter how many miles separate them, their lives are inexplicably intertwined.

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Yoon Ha Lee

Phoenix Extravagant

In this fantasy following an unemployed non-binary painter, Gyen Jebi, they are tasked with painting mystical sigils for the Ministry of Armor. When they learn of the organization’s corruption, they vow to find Arazi, a mighty dragon automaton, and fight.

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Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo

When a mixed-race gay teen begins a drag performance called the Black Flamingo, he discovers his marginalizations make him better. It’s an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story that shows how important it is to immerse yourself in queer communities.

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19 Steamy Romance Novels You Need to Read


Here’s How to FINALLY Manage Maskne

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Ike louie Natividad | Pexels

Wearing a mask has officially become our normal, and that little tray of masks you keep at your entryway probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I can’t even predict a time when hearing “face mask” won’t make me think of a piece of cloth with a few strings instead of my beloved skincare stash. Now that we’ve accepted our fate, it’s time to tackle the one thing we’ve put off: getting a handle on our maskne, the acne and irritation you get from wearing a cloth face mask for long periods of time. 

Many people are still dealing with maskne, especially after wearing masks for long workdays, while working out, and on airplanes. We asked a slew of experts for an explanation on why our skin breaks out from masks, how to treat current breakouts, and how to prevent them in the future. 


In this article

What Is Maskne and Why Are We Getting It?

How to Treat It

What Ingredients to Look For

How to Prevent It

What Products to Try


What Is Maskne and Why Are We Getting It?

Whether you’ve dealt with acne your entire life or just get the occasional zit during your menstrual cycle, getting acne from your mask can confuse you. “When you’re wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time and breathing into that mask, humidity and sweat combined with the friction of the mask rubbing on your face can lead to clogged pores and breakouts,” said Dr. Alan J. Parks, board-certified dermatologist and founder of DermWarehouse. 


Meet the expert
Dr. Alan J. Parks
Dr. Alan J. Parks is a practicing dermatologist in Columbus, Ohio who focuses on cosmetic and surgical dermatology.


Even if you don’t get breakouts, wearing a face mask over and over can cause lots of inflammation and irritation, according to Dr. Tina Alster, MD, FAAD, creator and co-founder of The A Method. “The long-term use of the mask holds in bacteria, sweat, and moisture, causing the bacterial organisms to overgrow, resulting in inflammation and breakouts.”

Along with the physical face mask, the mental health impacts of the last 18 months are enough to cause anyone to break out. “[Maskne] is also a result of the stress and anxiety we are experiencing right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our bodies can internalize these things, and we can break out from it all,” said Leah Chavie, esthetician and owner at Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique in Chicago and Anna Maria Island, adding that diet and sleep patterns can have an effect on your skin too.


Source: Hero Cosmetics


How to Treat It

When you’re experiencing a breakout, Dr. Parks recommended being gentle with your skin. “Use a gentle cleanser and don’t go overboard with your products,” Dr. Parks added. Avoid the urge to use every product in your cabinets and keep your routine simple. “Try using an acne treatment under your mask or spraying the mask with an acne mist with salicylic acid.” 


Meet the expert
Dr. Tina Alster, MD, FAAD
Dr. Tina Alster is a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center and the creator and founder of skincare line The A Method.


If you can, Chavie suggested skipping makeup. Not only will this help prevent breakouts from happening in the future, but it will also reduce the irritation and inflammation you might get from wearing it over existing breakouts. When sweat and makeup build up under the mask, the friction might cause your breakout to get even more irritated. 


Source: @taraleydon


What Ingredients to Look For

Dr. Parks recommended looking for products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur to treat and prevent breakouts. Chavie also recommended using products with aloe to reduce the inflammation and redness you might experience with maskne. 


Meet the expert
Leah Chavie
Leah Chavie is an esthetician and owner of Leah Chavie Skincare Boutiques in Chicago and Anna Maria Island.


How to Prevent It

Once you have your maskne under control, you can put some systems in place to keep it at bay in the future. First and foremost, washing and replacing your mask regularly is a must. Keep a few masks on hand so that you can swap them out while others are in the wash. Dr. Parks also suggested cleansing your skin before and after wearing a mask for a prolonged amount of time. Chavie recommended opting for a cotton or silk mask that’s gentle and soft on skin and using a fragrance-free detergent to wash. 


Source: Cottonbro | Pexels


Dr. James Beckman, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon, biochemist, and adjunct associate clinical professor-dermatology department at UAMS (Arkansas Medical School), explained the importance of keeping your natural moisture barrier intact as much as possible, as over-washing your face can strip your skin. Keeping your skin hydrated will help reduce the extra friction and keep maskne at bay. Make sure that these products are non-comedogenic and aren’t so heavy that they’re clogging pores.

According to Dr. Beckman, you should also let your skin breathe for about five minutes every hour you’re wearing your mask. This gives your skin “rest and prevents bacterial invasion and skin maceration or irritation.” 


Meet the expert
Dr. James Beckman, MD
Dr. Beckman is a board-certified plastic surgeon and an adjunct associate clinical professor of dermatology at University of Arkansas Medical School.


What Products to Try

iS Clincal

Cleansing Complex

Dr. Parks recommended this cleanser if you’re struggling with maskne over time (or if you just have acne-prone skin in general). It’s one of the top dermatologist-recommended cleansers for acne because it contains a little salicylic acid and doesn’t strip or dry out your skin.

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Acne Treatment Gel

Incorporate an acne-fighter like Differin in your routine if you’re noticing consistent breakouts. Made of adapalene, a lighter form of retinol, this gel clears current breakouts, prevents new ones from forming, and improves skin tone and texture.

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PCA Skin

Acne Gel

Dr. Parks suggested this gel as both an all-over treatment for oily, acneic skin or as a spot treatment for dry skin. Made with 2 percent salicylic acid and mandelic acid, this gel unclogs pores and reduces the size and redness of existing pimples. You can apply this under your mask to protect existing acne from becoming more inflamed.

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Like Butter Mask

If you’re finding your skin is irritated, red, itchy, or inflamed after wearing a mask, slather on a liberal layer of Like Butter to your skin before putting your mask on. You can also wear this as an overnight mask a few nights a week to help relieve any irritation.

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Elta MD

UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

This lightweight sunscreen was made with acne-prone skin in mind, as it’s completely clear with no white cast and is suitable for sensitive skin types that break out from sunscreens. If you’re feeling like your SPF feels greasy or heavy under your mask, opt for this.

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Renée Rouleau

Rapid Response Maskne Spray

Spray this toner on your skin before putting on a mask to both relieve stubborn maskne you’re struggling with and prevent more from popping up in the future.

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Hero Cosmetics

Supercharged Reset Mist

Made with tea tree oil, this cleansing mist is ideal for keeping in your bag (especially for the gym). Mist it on your skin or even straight into your mask whenever you’re feeling a little sweaty.

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The A Method

Blemish Control System

Dr. Alster recommended this kit as the “perfect comprehensive solution to managing blemishes and areas of breakouts associated with mask-induced acne,” thanks to a glycolic gel cleanser, blemish pads, and a probiotic moisturizer that kills the bad bacteria and leaves the good for healthy, glowing skin.

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