[Book Recs] Bi+ Protagonists

And I say hey (hey!), happy bisexuality+ visibility day! πŸ’—πŸ’œπŸ’™

To celebrate, here’s a follow-up to my previous post featuring Bi/Pan Protagonists.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Starting off strong with Wild Beauty, which features not one, not two … but five bi+ Latina heroines, tight-knit cousins who are blessed and cursed. A full year after my first read, I still periodically think about the Nomeolvides girls, the witchy sisterhood/ generational legacy, doomed-to-tragedy romances, the lush garden estate known as La Pradera. There’s magic(al realism) and mystery and just so much to love about this book.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

What if The Great Gatsby didn’t revolve around white allocishet men? Specifically: What if the narrator, Jordan Baker, was a bi+ Vietnamese-American adoptee? What if Gatsby and Nick were bi+ and multiracial? And what if demon magic propped up all that Jazz Age glamour?

You’ll have to read The Chosen and the Beautiful to find out for yourself.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

You might, like me, have picked up on the hype but missed the details of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, whose title both is and is not deceptive. Yet where you might expect a Hollywood icon whose star rose between 1950 and 1980 to be a straight white woman, Evelyn Hugo is a bisexual Cuban-American woman with unapologetic ambition, fierce loyalty, and one heck of a life story to tell.

The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

While sexuality is generally a pretty fluid thing when it comes to the Greco-Roman pantheon, those familiar with the mythology know that Apollo is pretty iconically bisexual+. (By the way, spellcheck wanted me to change that to “biconically”; after my excitement in discovering the word’s existence, I was disappointed to find that its definition is related to geometry rather than sexuality.)

And yes, this series does feature our faves from the Percy Jackson + Heroes of Olympus series. I may never escape from the Wizarding World Camp Half-Blood chronicles, but I also may never want to.

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

book cover of In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

I recently reread In Other Lands in an attempt to rediscover the joy of reading or whatever β€” reading slumps are the worst, amirite? Anyway, long story short, it worked.

So without further ado, meet our hero (?) Elliot: bisexual, slightly neurodivergent-coded, snarky, antisocial, skeptical of familiar fantasy tropes but obsessed with mermaids. Over four years at magic camp in the Borderlands, he grapples with personal identity, relationships, and leaving your mark on the world. 

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

If you like YA Contemporary + Magical Realism + Romance, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is for you. Rosa Santos is caught in between: her Cuban heritage and Port Coral, FL hometown; her upstanding abuela and prodigal artist mother; her attraction to mysterious Alex Aquino and the curse that spells bad news for her romantic prospects. 

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Gothic horror isn’t really my thing, but sapphic dark academia is β€” and if you like either, you might enjoyΒ Plain Bad Heroines. Badly behaved boarding-school girls, a movie adaptation of a book about the mysteries surrounding their fate, lots of drama in the past and present timelines. Also black-and-white

illustrations!

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Looking for a queer fairytale retelling that questions the dichotomy between maiden and monster? Give Girl, Serpent, Thorn a try. Based on Persian folklore and centered on a bi+ protagonist whose touch is literally poison, this standalone novel is something special even among its subgenre. 

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Sometimes I think Quiet YA/NA is a misnomer, because when done well, these books can be emotionally devastating. This is the case with Girl Made of Stars, which tackles difficult topics (sexual assault, victim blaming, queerphobia, dysphoria, anxiety, and more) in a sensitive but unflinching way. I literally cried, which is one of the higher compliments I can bestow upon a book.

  • Who are your favorite bi+ protagonists?
  • Do you prefer stories that center on exploring the protagonist’s identity, or ones where it’s incidental but impactful?
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