top of page

10 Queer Rivals-To-Lovers Books Everyone Should Read

This month we're taking a look at everyone's OTHER favourite romance trope: rivals-to-lovers. Think queer longing, ex-lovers, a competitive spirit and a severe lack of communication. Here are 10 LGBTQ+ rivals-to-lovers books that everyone should read:

She Drives Me Crazy

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 12+

High school nemeses fall in love in this queer YA sports rom-com perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuiston.

After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop.

Their bumpy start only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb her school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along. Hijinks, heartbreak, and gay fake-dating scheme for the ages.

Cafe Con Lychee

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Men

Reading Age: 14+

Café Con Lychee is a queer contemporary romance for young adult readers. A heartfelt and engaging read with a diverse cast of characters about two rival cafés, family, friends and finding yourself.

Theo Mori wants to escape. Leaving Vermont for college means getting away from working at his parents’ Asian American café and dealing with their archrivals’ hopeless son Gabi who’s lost the soccer team more games than Theo can count.

Gabi Moreno is miserably stuck in the closet. Forced to play soccer to hide his love for dance and iced out by Theo, the only openly gay guy at school, Gabi’s only reprieve is his parents’ Puerto Rican bakery and his plans to take over after graduation.

But the town’s new fusion café changes everything.

My Own Worst Enemy

Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 18+

Who said opposites attract? For actor Emmy Clooney, sparks only fly when she meets women who look just like her: butch and athletic, with short messy hair.

It shouldn't be a problem. Her friends say it's normal to see yourself in the people you date. But Emmy isn't so sure. Her lookalikes never seem to like her back.

Then Emmy meets Mae, a fellow actor who could be her twin, and she senses danger. Despite Emmy's inevitable attraction to Mae, their personalities could not be further apart. They clash on everything. Even worse, they are the same casting type – and Mae keeps swiping all the best parts.

The Henna Wars

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 14+

Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom-com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Breakup, Makeup

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Non-Binary, Queer Men

Reading Age: 14+

Glow Up meets Comic Con in this bold, queer second chance romance where a special effects makeup artist must compete against their ex-boyfriend in a unique makeup and cosplay competition to win the scholarship of their dreams... and maybe their ex's heart.

Eli Peterson is a self-taught, up-and-coming makeup artist in the cosplay scene who is just barely making ends meet. While they might be slaying it with their breath-taking, innovative looks, they're also trying to save up enough money for top surgery and convince their parents that taking a gap year to focus on their dream of being a makeup artist is worthwhile. During a convention, Eli hears about Makeup Wars, a cosplay makeup competition that could change everything. The problem is that they be going head-to-head with some of the most talented up-and-coming makeup artists - including rival influencer Zachary Miller, who also happens to be their ex-boyfriend.

This Is How You Lose The Time War

This Is How You Lose The Time War

Science fiction

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 18+

This Is How You Lose The Time War is a dystopian WLW time travel romance told through a series of letters between two queer women on different sides of the time war.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There's still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

The Dos and Donuts Of Falling In Love

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 14+

A pun-filled YA contemporary romance, The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar finds a teenage girl competing in a televised baking competition, with contestants including her ex-girlfriend and a potential new crush Shireen Malik is still reeling from the breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris, when she receives news that she’s been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. This is Shireen’s dream come true! Because winning will not only mean prize money, but it will also bring some much-needed attention to You Drive Me Glazy, her parents’ beloved donut shop. Things get complicated, though, because Chris is also a contestant on the show. Then there’s the very outgoing Niamh, a fellow contestant who is becoming fast friends with Shireen. Things are heating up between them, and not just in the kitchen.

Catch These Hands

Contemporary Romance - Manga

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 14+

Catch These Hands is a cheeky and funny sapphic rivals to lovers four-part Yuri Manga. One day, Takebe, a former delinquent trying to leave that part of her past behind for good, runs into her high-school rival, Soramori.

The two fight for the first time in years, and thanks to being desperately out of practice, Takebe loses-leaving her no choice but to accept Soramori’s request to start dating her…?! You can collect volumes 1-4 right now!


YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 14+

Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they're fighting for a common purpose--and falling for each other--in Zoe Hana Mikuta's high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown's Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu's Legend series.

The shadow of Godolia's tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

Love & Other Natural Disasters

YA Contemporary Romance

Queer Rep: Queer Women

Reading Age: 14+

When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.

Grand Slam Romance

Magical Sports Romance - Graphic Novel

Queer Rep: Non-Binary, Queer Women

Reading age: 18+

Looking for a magical girl/sports romance graphic novel with some spicy sapphic kissing and a friends-to-lovers-to-rivals-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-rivals-but-also-they're-lovers-now trope???

In this queer graphic novel that’s equal parts romance, softball, and magical girl drama, Mickey Monsoon and Astra Maxima are best friends, and maybe more... That is, until Astra dumps Mickey to become a softball wunderkind at a private girl’s school in Switzerland.

Years later, Mickey is the hotshot pitcher for the Belle City Broads, and their team is poised to sweep the league this season. But Micky is thrown off their game when Astra shows up to catch for the Gaiety Gals, the Broads’ fiercest rival.

Have we missed your favourite queer rivals-to-lovers book? Send us a message on twitter @ProudGeekStore or email us at

464 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page