5 LGBTQ+ BookTok hits that would make for perfect TV adaptations

Following the adaptation of one of TikTok’s favourite novels, Daisy Jones and the Six, we’re highlighting five viral LGBTQ+ BookTok hits that would make iconic adaptations.

From pushing under-the-radar authors into the spotlight, influencing the bestseller lists and even helping get manuscripts into the hands of agents, BookTok – aka the community of users on TikTok who are passionate about books and literature – has a huge impact on the literary landscape.

With more than 133 billion views and counting under the BookTok hashtag, book lovers can find a wealth of recommendations in the popular TikTok book club, where one shoutout from an influencer can spark an explosion of interest online and see titles with niche followings transform into global phenomenons.

BookTok is about more than boosting book sales, though.

By platforming books written by and for marginalised groups, including LGBTQ+ folks, the BookTok community raises important issues of representation and diversity, helping every book lover feel seen and heard.

Take Casey McQuiston’s gay romance Red, White & Royal Blue, Adam Silvera’s tragic queer young adult romance They Both Die at the En, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s sapphic novel Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or Douglas Stuart’s hit Young Mungo – they are all BookTok hits, and each novel now has a confirmed adaptation in the works, much to the excitement of their huge fan bases.

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Meanwhile, the rights to arguably one of BookTok’s most beloved gay novels, Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles which reimagines The Illiad‘s love story between Achilles and Patroclus during the Trojan War, have also been snapped up for a TV miniseries.

With major film studios and streaming platforms all keenly scouting the platform to find books with screen potential, we’re highlighting five viral LGBTQ+ BookTok hits that would be perfect material for an adaptation.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas.
Cemetery Boys made history.

First published in September 2020, Aiden Thomas’ young adult fantasy made history as the first book on the New York Times Bestseller List by an openly transgender author to focus on a transgender character.

A staple BookTok recommendation, the story follows Latinx trans boy Yadriel, who, in his pursuit to be accepted by his family, accidentally sets free the ghost of his school’s bad boy, Julian Diaz.

As Yadriel agrees to help Diaz investigate his death, sparks fly in an endearingly tender love story. We reckon it’s only a matter of time before it gets snapped up for the small screen.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club is set in 1950s San Francisco. (Dutton Books)

Angsty lesbians, gay club culture and a vibrant portrayal of race relations; Last Night at the Telegraph Club truly has it all.

Set in 1950s San Francisco, the story follows Lily Hu, a daughter of Chinese immigrants who begins to explore her sexuality. When she meets Kathleen Miller at a lesbian club, an epic love story unfolds, coloured by the challenges facing the Chinese and LGBTQ+ community during the McCarthy witch-hunts.

The two women risk everything to be together, and Lo’s novel is a worthy addition to the historical fiction genre.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Racy thriller Ace of Spades. (Osbourne Publishing)

This New York Times bestseller has a fanbase for a reason, and it would surely rake in the Emmys should an adaptation of Ace of Spades make it to the small screen.

When the only two Black students at a private school, popular girl Chiamaka and music geek Devon Richards are targeted by an anonymous Gossip Girl-esque bully, what unfolds is a racy thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

When Devon is outed as gay to the whole school, and Chimaka is pushed to the bottom of the social chain after being exposed for hooking up with taken football star Jamie, the two team up to unmask the elusive bully.

A brave exploration of racism, homophobia and the everyday problems teens face in the digital age, there’s certainly no shortage of rising stars who could take on the lead roles in the TV version.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.
Honey Girl features lesbians in Las Vegas. (Park Row Books)

Honey Girl follows Black lesbian astronomer Grace Porter who gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t even know.

Deciding to commit to the impulsive decision, she flees to New York to spend the summer with her wife and comes face-to-face with family expectation and the terrifying ordeal of adulthood.

Who doesn’t want to watch lesbians marrying in Vegas?

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield.
Our Wives Under the Sea is a gothic horror story. (Pam MacMillan)

Gothic horror novel Our Wives Under the Sea would make a truly chilling small screen adaptation.

When Leah returns from a deep sea mission gone wrong, her wife Miri can tell something has shifted. Haunted by her time beneath the waves, there is something almost otherworldly and deeply disturbing about the way Leah is navigating her time back on land.

As Miri tries to uncover what has happened to her wife, she must try and overcome the ocean-wide divide that has formed between her and the woman she loves.

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