Get ready to curl up and snuggle with one of the best gay romance novels from our list, and discover the best male/male (MM) love stories with exciting plots.
On our list, you will find some classics from Forster, Baldwin, and Miller mixed with some recently-published new books that are sizzling-hot page-turners by Frank, Bowen and Blakely, and others.
Interestingly, quite a few female authors made the list of the best gay male love stories. All the writers of any gender seem to know how all the male body parts work, especially the heart.
- Here Are The 18 Best Gay Romance Novels
- 1. Maurice by E.M. Forster
- 2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- 3. Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
- 4. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- 5. Follow the River by CE Ricci
- 6. Call Me By Your Name by André
- 7. An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles
- 8. Faking It by Riley Hart
- 9. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
- 10. A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White
- 11. The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian
- 12. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
- 13. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- 14. Try by Ella Frank
- 15. The Best Men by Sarina Bowen and Laren Blakely
- 16. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
- 17. Hot Head by Damon Suede
- 18. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
- FAQs About Gay Romance Novels
Here Are The 18 Best Gay Romance Novels
1. Maurice by E.M. Forster
British author E. M. Forster wrote Maurice in 1913. This book stayed in a desk drawer for 57 years, waiting to be published posthumously in 1971. Homosexuality was illegal in the UK until 1967, three years before Forster’s death. This story is set in England during the 20th century. It follows the main character Maurice Hall from his youth to being a student at university and then becoming an adult.
Maurice falls in love with another male college student, Clive, only to face rebuke when Clive suddenly decides he is heterosexual. Heartbroken, Maurice notices a handsome laborer, Scudder, working on the estate. They fall in love, and their romantic interludes in the boathouse are exciting. The book has a happy ending, breaking the cultural norm for gay stories.
“If you can live a life without the intoxication of passion, you don’t know who you are.”E. M. Forster, Maurice
2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller wrote The Song of Achilles. In 2012, this book won the Orange Women’s Prize for Fiction (now renamed the Women’s Prize for Fiction), which is the UK’s most prestigious award for a female author. The story is a retelling of the classic tale of Homer’s Iliad. Prince Achilles is a fierce Greek warrior, almost invincible. He has two soft spots, his Achilles’ heel, the only place he could get an injury in battle, and his love for the youth Patroclus.
This novel is the tale of glory in war, friendship, sacrifice, redemption, and the love between Achilles and Patroclus. It is a love story that follows the Greek tradition and ends in tragedy.
“My eye catches on a light head among dozens of dark, tousled crowns. I lean forward to see. Hair lit like honey in the sun, and within it, glints of gold – the circlet of a prince.”Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
3. Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
Trailer Trash is the newest novel, published in 2022, by author Marie Sexton. This book is about life in the small town of Warren, Wyoming, during the 1980s. There is nothing for a young high school boy, Nate, to do except get into trouble. Trouble comes in the form of outcast Cody, who befriends him. This coming-of-age, self-discovery story has hope mixed with sorrow and love tainted with loneliness in a heartbreaking romance.
“There must be somewhere else? Cody studies him, weighing his odds. Maybe… I’ll take you somewhere.”Marie Sexton, Trailer Trash
4. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Alexis Hall wrote Boyfriend Material, published in 2020, and Oprah Magazine named it the Best Book of the Year. It is a hilarious, must-read British romantic comedy about the tribulations of Luc O’Donnell. Luc is the son of 1980s rock stars. At age 28, he constantly gets into trouble and finds his scandalous photos in the tabloids.
Luc decides the way to fix his life’s mess is to find a clean-cut boyfriend to help. He chooses to hook up with Oliver Blackwood, a handsome young man who is a lawyer and a vegetarian with a perfect reputation. Just the kind of guy one wants to bring home to their mother. You might be interested in exploring more romance books, check out our round-up of best books by Sylvia Day.
“He gave me the type of look you give someone when you’re mentally shifting them from the box that says ‘attractive” to the box that says ‘weird’.”Alexis Hall, Boyfriend Material
5. Follow the River by CE Ricci
CE Ricci wrote Follow the River as the first part of the River of Rain duet. It is a sports romance story about River Lennox, a college quarterback who dares to be himself. Upon realizing he is bisexual, he is proud of it for real and makes sure no one dares to use this fact against him. He faces down the team captain, Ciaráin Grady, who is cruel and hostile, a natural enemy.
If you are triggered easily, this book is not for you. However, if you can stand the graphic rawness, sexual violence, and intense emotions and get through to the other side, the result is rewarding to see the change from enemies to lovers.
“I don’t need the news to tell me the world we live in has gone to shit.”CE Ricci, Follow the River
6. Call Me By Your Name by André
André Aciman wrote Call Me By Your Name, a New York Times bestselling novel published in 2017. It became a film starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. The story is set in Italy in 1987. It is a memory told of the summer when an Italian young man named Elio had a romance with Oliver, a graduate student who came to Italy to work with Elio’s father.
Oliver is carefree. Elio is a moody introvert, but the mismatch does not prevent an attraction from blooming. It is a tender, passionate affair that lasts only as long as the summer yet is unforgettable.
“It may have started during those endless hours after lunch when everybody lounged about in bathing suits inside and outside the house, bodies sprawled everywhere.”André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name
7. An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles
K.J. Charles wrote An Unseen Attraction, published in 2017 as the first must-read book in the Victorian series. Everything is tight and proper in the lodging house run by Clem Talleyfer. Nothing is out of sorts. Clem likes life to be that way, with a home as a quiet abode. Clem takes in lodgers to help with expenses, and Rowley Green is one of them.
Rowley is a loner type, but he cannot resist the beautiful looks, delightful conversation, and charming eyes of Clem, and romance starts to bloom. The idyllic time is suddenly interrupted when another lodger is found dead on the doorstep, turning this gay romance novel into a murder mystery.
“They said the eyes were the windows to the soul, and Clem didn’t feel comfortable peering into people’s windows.”K.J. Charles, An Unseen Attraction
8. Faking It by Riley Hart
Riley Hart teamed up with author Devon McCormack to write Faking It. Dev is a good ole country boy with a big city imagination, maybe using writing prompts romance to get the creative juices flowing. The story is about the men who live in an upscale condominium building called Metropolis, known for having the hottest men in town who are always on the prowl for new sexual encounters.
A mix-up causes the main characters, Gary and Travis, to be mistaken for lovers. It works to their advantage to play the roles of dedicated boyfriends in public. After trying on the role-play of faking it as a monogamous couple, the men end up falling for each other.
“There was sooo much hot man-beef out tonight.”Riley Hart and Devon McCormack, Faking It
9. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
C.S. Pacat published Captive Prince in 2015. The main character is Damen. He is a prince and a warrior hero who loses his rightful throne through the betrayal of his half-brother. He is captured and sent to serve as a pleasure enslaved person for his people’s enemy, Price Laurent. Damen hides his true identity to survive. He needs Laurent to help restore him to the throne with a second chance to find his fortune. The one man Damen needs to help him regain his legacy has more reason to hate him than to help him.
“Laurent was a nest of scorpions in the body of one person.”C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince
10. A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White
Author, Edmund White, published A Boy’s Own Story in 1982. It is a semi-autobiographical story of a teen boy’s sexual explorations during high school age in the 1950s. The narrator, at age 15, has a sexual encounter with his younger friend Kevin O’Brien who is 12. Kevin holds power in the relationship, even though he is the younger of the two boys. Kevin enjoys the physical pleasure but makes no more out of it than a simple release. The encounters become less frequent as the narrator comes to terms with his homosexuality and what it means to experience first love as a young adult and to fall in love with another boy at a time when such things are shameful.
“A man crosses his legs by resting an ankle on his knee; a sissy drapes one leg over the other.”Edmund White, A Boy’s Own Story
11. The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian
Cat Sebastian writes gay romance books in historical settings with a new spin on the rake and wallflower trope. The Soldier’s Scandal was published in 2016, featuring Jack Tuner who is the scoundrel who will do anything to protect his siblings growing up with him in London’s slums. He is the lowest on the rung of the ladder of English society. However, sometimes that is precisely who aristocrats need to get their dirty business done.
Jack climbs out of the gutter by working as a valet and finds his calling as a private investigator. He meets a proper gentleman in the soldier Oliver Rivington who is everything Jack could never be. Jack casts a spell over the soldier with Jack’s brash criminality and by tempting Oliver with delights that break down the false facade of upper society. If you liked this round-up of romance novels, you might also like our guide on the best erotic novels.
“As I said, I help people with problems. If a lady is wondering whether her servants are robbing her or whether her husband is playing her false, I find out. And I fix it.”Cat Sebastian, The Soldier’s Scoundrel
12. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s standalone book Giovanni’s Room was banned many times after publication for its unabashed approach to homosexuality and bisexuality. Baldwin writes about his experiences as an American man living in Paris. He meets an Italian bartender at a gay bar in Paris and becomes infatuated with him. Throughout the novel, he explores his relationships with other men and his feelings about Giovanni, including his frustrations and the desire to be taken to the bartender’s room.
“I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me.”James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
13. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston published Red, White & Royal Blue in 2019. The main character in this book is Alex Claremont-Diaz, whose mother becomes President of the USA. He is the equivalent of American royalty, and the press loves him because he is handsome, smart, and charismatic. It is marketing gold for the White House until Alex gets into a spat with a British royal, Prince Henry. They have an altercation at a royal wedding, with the photos splashed on the tabloids’ front pages.
“Beside him, he hears Henry mutter slowly, ‘Oh my fucking Christ.’ He registers dimly that it’s the first time he’s ever heard the prince swear, before the flash from someone’s camera goes off.”Casey McQuiston, Red, White & Royal Blue
14. Try by Ella Frank
Ella Frank published her book Try in 2013 as the first book in the Temptation series. Everyone, both men and women, falls in love with Logan Mitchell. Logan only falls in love with sex, and at a young age, he realized he had powerful sex appeal. He uses it to get everything and everyone he wants. Is this book romantic? Yes, if you accept the premise that a person can be in love with themselves.
“Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case…someone.”Ella Frank, Try
15. The Best Men by Sarina Bowen and Laren Blakely
Two popular romance authors best sellers, Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely, joined up to write The Best Men, published in 2022. Previously, Sarina Bowen co-authored Top Secret with Elle Kennedy. Were all these female authors a gay man in another life? How do they know the intimate details of male romance? You can see male sex on the Internet, but how about love? The story pits two very different men against one another as enemies. However, hatred and love get mixed up when there is so much passion. The men make a super sexy romantic connection of opposites attracting, and the sparks fly.
“Or maybe he’s checking out my ass. Or my abs. That can’t be it. But wouldn’t it be fun if it were true?”Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely, The Best Men
16. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli collaborated to write What If It was Us, published in 2020. It is the story of a boy meets boy romance about two young men who meet in New York City during summer. The novel is funny, heartfelt, and natural in depicting what it is like to have a crush on someone and not know how to handle the attraction. The circumstances are both getting them together and then forcing them apart. It turns out life is probably not like a Broadway play.
“And then he catches my eye. And then he smiles. And holy shit. I mean it. Holy mother of shit. Cutest boy ever.”Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, What If It’s Us
17. Hot Head by Damon Suede
Damon Suede published the book Hot Head in 2018. The title is such a wonderful play on words with multiple meanings. The story is about Griff Muir, a Brooklyn firefighter just after 9/11 (2001), secretly in love with his firefighting partner Dante Anastagio. Being a gay firefighter was not as open then as it can be now. And Dante is a straight guy who prefers women.
Griff would do anything for his brother, firefighter Dante, but is shocked when Dante tells him he is nearly bankrupt and suggests they earn some easy money by filming gay porn in uniform for HotHead.com. Can Griff live out his fantasies filming gay porn with Dante and then somehow shove the feelings back down to retain a cool head? Read the book to find out!
“Griff snuck a glance, and sure enough, a clump of frisky bedbunnies was drifting towards his best friend – hippety-hoppity, pussy on its way.”Damon Suede, Hot Head
18. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
T.J. Klune wrote this lovely fantasy novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea, and published it in 2020. The lead character is Linus Baker, and his life is simple; he has a mischievous cat that keeps him company in his quaint little house. He is sent to care for six dangerous children in Marsyas Island Orphanage.
One is a sprite, one is a wyvern, and one is a gnome. Another is a blob. One is a-were Pomeranian. The sixth one of them is named the Antichrist. He meets the children’s caretaker, Arthur Parnassus, and they become close. Linus finds a best friend and a family he never knew he needed as he faces tough choices about the end of the world in a colorful, fairy tales fashion.
“They should be given a chance, as all children should. What hope would they have to be adopted if they’re treated as something to be feared.”T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea
FAQs About Gay Romance Novels
What is an MM romance book?
“MM” stands for male/male. An MM romance book is about a gay romance where two or more men are the central characters in the story. The novel may have lustful sexual encounters, yet, the focus is more on romance than pornographic descriptions of sex acts.
Who are the best MM romance authors of all time?
E. M Forster, Alexis Hall, Casey McQuiston, Damon Suede, Elle Kennedy, Madeline Miller, Marie Sexton, T. J. Klune, Ella Frank, Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely, Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli, Riley Hart and Devon McCormack, K. J. Charles, and Cat Sebastian.
What are some of the best MM romance novels?
Maurice, The Song of Achilles, Trailer Trash, Boyfriend Material, Follow the River, Call Me By Your Name, An Unseen Attraction, Faking It, The Captive Prince, A Boy’s Own Story, The Soldier’s Scoundrel, Giovanni’s Room, and Red, White & Royal Blue.
Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best James Crumley books!
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