Thursday, Sept. 23, was Bisexual Visibility Day. To keep the celebration going, I wanted to share five books featuring bisexual characters. It should go without saying that this is a very slim list of my favorites out of a wide range of bisexual books; and if these don’t sound interesting to you, there are plenty more to choose from!
“I’ll Be the One” by Lyla Lee
I recommend this joyful, empowering young adult book to anyone and everyone. “I’ll Be the One” follows the formidable Skye Shin as she takes the K-pop world by storm. After nailing the audition for a new K-pop reality competition show, Skye is thrust into the spotlight. But while her singing and dancing dreams are coming true, she is forced to confront the fat-phobic standards of the industry. While this novel tackles important issues like fatphobia and queerphobia, it is ultimately a celebration of being proud of who you are. Skye identifies as bi on-page, as do other characters.
Trigger warnings: fatphobia, queerphobia, mentions of diet culture, mentions of racism
“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
“One Last Stop” follows a twenty-three year old bisexual woman named August. August is awkward, messy and has no idea what she’s doing with her life. She’s struggling to finish school and break away from her consuming relationship with her mom — all while waiting on tables at the 24-hour diner to make rent. When August discovers that her subway crush, Jane, is actually stuck in time on the Q train, she resolves to get her unstuck. But as the two become closer, they must confront a heartbreaking conclusion: sending Jane back to her own time means never seeing each other again. “One Last Stop” perfectly captures the messiness of being in your twenties while functioning as a love letter to queer communities, both past and present.
Trigger warnings: drinking, marijuana use, depression and anxiety, memory loss and cognitive issues, semi-public sex, familiar estrangement, familial death, grief, missing persons, implied PTSD; as well as mentions of arson, hate crimes, the AIDS crisis, queerphobia, police violence and childhood neglect
“In Other Lands” by Sarah Rees Brennan
“In Other Lands” is a portal fantasy that is refreshingly self-aware. It’s an absolutely hilarious romp featuring three very loveable characters, including Elliot, a chaotic, snarky bisexual who is our real-world link to the magic. The plot follows Elliot and his friends, Luke and Serene, over many years as they grow up and progress through their schooling. One of the many perks of “In Other Lands” is seeing them explore their sexual orientations on page. It is also the only book on this list with a male/male endgame.
Trigger warnings: biphobia, homophobia, bullying, child abuse and neglect, death, racism, sexism, violence, war
“Take a Hint, Dani Brown” by Talia Hibbert
Although it is the second installment in a trilogy, “Take a Hint, Dani Brown” can be read as a standalone. Danika is a Black, bisexual, pink-haired witch attempting to finish her PhD. She’s been burned before and doesn’t have time for love … until hot security guard Zaf saves her from an elevator and the whole campus thinks they’re dating. Zaf wants to keep up this charade to get good publicity for his charity, and Dani can’t say no. This book is steamy, it’s cute and it doesn’t erase Dani’s bisexuality even though she ends up with a man. And, ultimately, I loved seeing Dani achieve professional and personal success.
Trigger warnings: grief, anxiety, death of close family member, car crash, panic attack
“Perfect on Paper” by Sophie Gonzales
If you’re looking for a book that discusses in detail both bisexuality and biphobia within the queer community, then this is the book for you. Darcy Phillips has been running an anonymous romance advice column out of locker 89 for years, but when Alexander Broughan discovers her identity, she has to help him win his girlfriend back so he won’t reveal her secret. This young adult book discusses what it means to be a young bisexual person with the aid of a great plot and charming characters. Gonzales’s “If This Gets Out,” co-authored with Cale Dietrich, features a male/male relationship and comes out in December 2021.
Trigger warnings: underage drinking and drug use, external and internal biphobia, cheating, vomiting, toxic parents, divorce, emotional abuse.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If while reading this article you’ve thought, “Wow, all of these are great, but I don’t have that much time to read that much, only one book is feasible for me,” then I would say this is the book you should pick — which is saying something, because this list contains some of my absolute favorites. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” follows the formidable Evelyn Hugo, a fictional golden-age movie star who offers up her life’s story exclusively to unknown writer Monique Grant. Her story is sensational; it includes seven husbands, but only one true love of her life: fellow movie star Celia St. James. Evelyn is an amazing heroine, and her life interwoven with Monique’s results in a compelling and emotional story.
Trigger warnings: mentions of abortion, abusive relationship, alcohol, biphobia, mentions of cancer, car accident, cheating, death, divorce, domestic abuse, physical abuse, racism, sexism, smoking, mentions of suicide, statutory rape