Bi The Book: Best bisexual rep in YA for Bi Visibility Week
By LD Lapinski
Believe the hype – The Gentleman’s Guide is a rich, funny, inclusive historical book that is difficult to put down. Monty, the main character, is openly and (very) merrily bisexual, and the book covers his adventures on his Grand Tour through Europe in a laugh-out-loud novel that manages to straddle the lines between humour and drama to terrific effect. Monty’s relationship with his friend Percy is something he has to confront as they deal with pirates, Parisians, and more flirtation than you can shake a stick at. A really wondrous read.
Oseman is no stranger to repping non-straight sexuality in her work. Her comic Heartstopper details the romance of bisexual Nick and his boyfriend Charlie (characters from her first novel Solitaire and novella Nick & Charlie), and Radio Silence is not only on the mark for its inclusion of diverse characters, it also manages to avoid a seemingly inevitable romance between the main characters – there’s even a fourth wall break telling us it’s not going to happen. Frances Janvier is a great character, who is not only incredibly relatable, but also uses the word bisexual in the text. Gasp! The book also offers some great demisexual rep, and lots of characters of colour.
Is the title a spoiler? Well, that would be telling. It’s not a spoiler to say that Rufus, one of the two main characters, states from the get-go that he is bisexual, with some ‘figuring out’ going on from Mateo, too. From the title, the book should read like the most tragic of romances, but aside from Silvera’s skilful tugging at the heartstrings, this book feels vast and hopeful. The worldbuilding of this future is both subtle and rich, and doesn’t distract from the fact this is a character-driven and wonderful novel.
Officially a sequel to James’ first novel The Next Together, this book can easily be read as a stand-alone. The characters of Ella and Clove are utterly adorable, and really engaging. The science-fiction is solid and well backed up (you can tell the author is a scientist!), and the mystery engaging enough to make the pages fly. Clove and Ella’s star-crossed meets -sci-fi romance is sweet and heartfelt, and the depth of the writing backs up what many are saying – that James is an author to watch.
Taking an axe to the convention of ‘I think I’m straight oh no wait I’m bi’ by introducing Ramona, Murphy gives us a girl who is certain she is gay until she falls for her friend Freddie. A great change from the view of heterosexuality being some sort of ‘start point’ for characters from discover themselves from, Ramona Blue is a wonderful look at the fluidity of sexuality and friendship, against a background of Ramona’s displaced (and slightly dysfunctional) family and a newfound love of swimming.
Mermaids, Loki, and shield-maidens… what’s not to love in Ember’s Viking-style fantasy novel? Featuring a plus-size, bisexual mermaid, this Little Mermaid retelling is set in a world of ice and glaciers, with family expectation and a trickster god who (of course) puts their own twist on any deal made with them. A sequel is in the works, where hopefully we will see more romance between Ersel and Ragna... and more beluga whales, of course.
Not a recent release, but an undeniable classic read. Ari and Dante have more in common than their unusual and out-of-time names, and their friendship to lovers route is so beautifully written that it is nigh-on impossible not to fall in love with the characters, the book, the entire concept. A coming-of-age story that doesn’t necessarily dwell on romance – this is a book about finding someone just for you.
Set at a Comic-Con style event, this geeky and super-sweet novel follows Charlie and Taylor as they confront crushes old and new, and work out what it is they want from both life and one another. Queens of Geek also features an autistic character in Taylor (written by an #ownvoices author), and many characters of colour, making it a diverse and reflective read that confronts biphobia, toxic relationship and heartache against a wonderfully geeky backdrop.