30 Days of Pride: Bisexual books

Hi everyone,

If you haven’t thought about what you can do today to support Black Lives Matter, here’s a link to a Twitter thread of petitions which still haven’t reached their goal! There’s so many there, and even spending just 10 minutes of your time would get a TON of these signed. (And if you spent just 10 minutes a day signing, I bet you’d get all of these petitions signed before the weekend is over).

Today we’re going to look at books with bi rep! We have contemporaries, fantasy, horror, adult and YA so hopefully you can find something that suits all your bisexual desires in this post.

I wanted to do a pan rep post as well (especially since I tend to prefer the term pansexual over bi for myself, though I do go by both depending on the situation) but I’ve only read one book with pan rep. This seriously needs to be remedied, so if you have any recs, please do let me know! And in case you’re wondering what that one book is, it’s The Library of the Unwritten which featured in yesterday’s science fiction and fantasy post and it’s one of my favourite books so you should definitely pick it up!

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Deposing Nathan is one of my alltime favourite books. It’s a very important book, very close to my heart, AND this year was nominated for a LAMBDA for Bisexual Fiction! Deposing Nathan is part courtroom drama, part YA coming of age. We open in a courtroom, where Nate is giving evidence against his former best friend, Cam, who stabbed him. We cut between this courtroom and the past, where we see Nate and Cam’s relationship develop as they go from BFFs to Stab City. This book also very personally and honestly deals with religion and sexuality, as well as the validity of bisexuality and it’s pretty much one of the most important books to me because of this. Smedley also manages to have some of the most realistic, dramatic writing I’ve seen, I felt so connected to Nate and his very moving story. This isn’t a happy story. But it’s a very important one. You can read my full review here.

Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

I won a copy of Missing, Presumed Dead in a Twitter giveaway (pretty much one of the only things I’ve ever won in a giveaway or raffle situation). And it also had the honour of being my first ever SIGNED book, so it has a rather special place in my heart. And that’s on top of it being an incredible f/f ghost romance murder thriller. Whenever Lexi touches someone, she sees their death in vivid detail. When she forsees Jane’s death, she does nothing to try stop it. So, when Jane comes back to haunt her, Lexi agrees to help her hunt down the killer. This is a very dark and gritty book, but with a very realistic take on what it would actually be like to have this magic power. Lexi is deeply depressed and lonely, and I love that this book really talked about the shitty sides of having magic. Check out my full review here.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure has one of the funniest scenes in YA, an epic heroine, nerds for musical theatre, and a sweet, lovely romance. Simone has lived with HIV since she was a baby. Having moved schools after she was bullied for her HIV status at her previous school, Simone plans to stay away from boys and avoid another reaction like at her past school. But as director of the school musical, she begins to fall for Miles, a sweet, adorable guy who she vows to teach all about her favourite musicals. But then she starts getting threats warning her that if she doesn’t break up with Miles, her secret will be revealed. Simone is such a brilliant character, so funny and strong and I loved all her musical references. I also really appreciated the different discussions of sexuality that showcased the spectrum of bisexuality and queerness, including those questioning and unsure of their sexuality. There is some internalised (and external) biphobia but it’s questioned and addressed within the narrative. Check out my full review here for more details.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Necromancy is one of my favourite magic systems to explore so I was so excited to read this bisexual necromancer book! Our main character, Sparrow, is a necromancer. Whenever a noble dies, she walks into the Deadlands to retrieve their soul and brings them back to their body. But once raised, the Dead must stay shrouded in life. If they are ever seen by the living, they became Shades, deadly monsters. When a necromancer is murdered, Sparrow realises someone is purposely making Shades to bring down the empire and must hunt down the murderer. Reign of the Fallen had such a cool magic system. Everyone is born with eye colour which determines their magic, blue eyes for necromancers, green for beast masters, brown eyes for inventors, and lots of other interesting magics. There is a big fight between Living and Dead in the empire, with the Dead ruling nobles outlawing inventors as they want to stay in the past and not progress. It was a really interesting world, with normalised queerness and lots of creepy dead people.

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Shatter the Sky is the first in a duology which concludes later this year, about a bisexual (obviously) who goes to rescue her girlfriend by stealing a dragon. The magic system around the dragons is so interesting and unique – aromatherapy magic anyone?! There are different scented oils which can work the dragons up into different states (such as put them to sleep, make them angry etc). There’s a very dark undertone to this fantasy, with the enslavement of these dragons who can think and have minds as clever as humans but are reduced to nothing by use of these drugs. Plus, we have a bisexual m/f/f love triangle which I love to see. Check out my full review here.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Onto one of my favourite ever books, Into the Drowning Deep is the novel which all horror will always be held up to in comparison. This book is chilling and terrifying and so, so, so damn good. In this book, mermaids are real. But they aren’t the lovely ladies of the sea everyone thinks them to be, instead they’re ferocious face eating monsters from the deep who will hunt you down if you enter their realm. So of course, the only thing to do is send a research ship to them to investigate. What follows is a gore covered mess of chaos and terror as the ship fights against the monsters. And it’s so. fucking. good. Check out my full review here!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is iconic in sapphic Twitter and I read it so long ago I am never going to be able to sell it better that pretty much all other people I follow on Twitter. But I shall try! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the story of a retired film star, Evelyn Hugo, who has hired someone to write her biography. The story is told as Evelyn recites her life story to this writer, of her seven husbands, and of the great love affair of her life. It is beautiful, tear-enducing, historical fiction at its best. Anyway Evelyn Hugo is a bicon (that’s a word right?) and hence has to be included in this list.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga is on my TBR for this month but I couldn’t resist adding to this list because we needed some adult fantasy bisexuals on this list. Steel Crow Saga is a chonky, standalone fantasy novel with MAGICAL ANIMAL COMPANIONS that fight alongside you in battle. I feel like I need to highlight that part. A soldier, a thief, a detective and a prince unite together to defeat an enemy with unstoppable power; five different nations, all coded after different Asian countries (this sounds amazing?!?!); and POVs from the colonised and the colonisers to create a political fantasy of epic proportions. And lots of magical companions uniting together too?? Hopefully? I just love magical animal companions, I used to have a cat that followed me around in Elder Scrolls and it was truly magical.

Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee

If you’re into superheros, then this is the book for you! A Vietnamese-Chinese American bi teen, Jess, lives in a town where superheros are common. She’s looking to beef up her college application and lands a great internship. There’s just one problem: it’s with the heinous supervillain in town and her superhero parents are going to kill her. But a bonus? She gets to work with her longtime crush. What could go wrong?

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry

It’s very rare to get any sort of questioning rep in YA, so it is really great to get this bisexual questioning religious girl, who also suffers from extreme anxiety. Though, it’s probably definitely not the book to read whilst the world is as Fucked Up as it is right now. It’s about two girls who meet in their therapists waiting room, one who is terrified the world is going to end, and one who knows when it will end, because she had a premonition.

Do you have any other bisexual favourites to add to this list?

Book review: Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Title: Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Publisher: Page Street Publishing Co

Publication date: 7 May 2019

Genre: Contemporary | Young adult

Page count: 400 pages

Synopsis: Nate never imagined that he would be attacked by his best friend, Cam.

Now, Nate is being called to deliver a sworn statement that will get Cam convicted. The problem is, the real story isn’t that easy or convenient—just like Nate and Cam’s friendship. Cam challenged Nate on every level from the day the boys met. He pushed him to break the rules, to dream, and to accept himself. But Nate—armed with a fierce moral code and conflicted by his own beliefs—started to push back. With each push, Nate and Cam moved closer to each other—but also spiraled closer to their breaking points.

*The following review may contain non-specific spoilers. And swears.*

Content warnings: brief mentions of suicide, biphobia, homophobia, abuse

Sometimes you read a book which slowly tears you apart, that feels like it was written for you, that feels like as if someone opened you up, took all your thoughts and feelings and put it on a page. That’s Deposing Nathan. It’s an emotionally raw and unforgiving experience, as the characters question religion, sexuality and themselves. In other words: it’s absolutely fucking amazing.

Deposing Nathan opens in a deposition, with Nathan giving a statement about the events which lead to his best friend, Cam, stabbing him. The story jumps between short flashes of the deposition, where we get glimpses of the wrecked relationship between Cam and Nathan, and the events of the past year or so. The past events are narrated by Nate, as if being stated to the lawyer at the deposition. We see how he met Cam, how the two grew close, and ultimately fell in love.

However, there’s a catch. Well several catches. The first, Aunt Lori. I think Lori was fantastically written – Zack manages to capture the perfect balance of someone who at times seems like loving caregiver, and at other times is a darker, more terrifying character, so you’re never really sure where you stand. She is at once both absolutely hateful and yet because the story is told from Nate’s POV, his thoughts and opinions often cloud the view of her, making her actions seem almost normalised. Her behaviour is just so destructive, yet she hides under the cover of ‘protective parent’. That insidious type of character building is absolutely incredible, and the slow descent to realisation is so soul-twisting, for both Nate and the reader.

Cam and Nate are now some of my favourite characters in YA. I really think Zack perfectly captured the despair and angst of teenage years, of the impulsive decisions and heartbreaking questioning of one’s identity. Cam pushes Nate to break rules and try new things, and Nate struggles with trying to please Cam as his Aunt’s claws begins to tighten around his neck.

“It’s a legitamate sexual orientation.”

“Since when?”

“The answer to your question is ‘always’, you asshole.”

What made this book so perfect and yet extremely difficult for me were the discussions around bisexuality. As Cam and Nate both grapple with this, there are some extremely traumatic scenes regarding the validity of bisexuality and its existence as a queer identity. This is something I have struggled with, and still to do this day struggle with. Bisexuality is too often seen as nonexistent by both the queer and non-queer communities; you’re too queer for some and not queer enough for others. I am so appreciative of Cam’s strong belief and surity in his sexuality and in its existence. At the risk of sounding a little cliche, it’s such an important statement to read, and yes, I wish I had had this book as a teen.

“Fine, well, even if you’re only one percent into dudes, it can still count. ‘Bisexual’ is a pretty broad term.”

In addition to the discussions around bisexuality, I really need to commend Zack for the very real portrayal of religion, and how that impacts someone questioning their identity. As someone who grew up in a Christian household, and went through their teenage years struggling with their sexuality, I found the portrayal extremely realistic and extremely raw. Zack has a tremendous ability to be able to tear your heart apart with the strength of his writing – Nate’s self hate, contemplation of suicide, his feeling of complete worthlessness in the eyes of God, is just so honest and so heartwrenching. And whilst I no longer consider myself religious, I don’t think I’ve ever seen myself so represented in a book before.

“Dear God: I don’t know what to do.”

I’ve always seen people praise books for portraying themselves but never really understood how important it actually is. Until you see yourself in a book so thoroughly, it’s hard to understand how important it can be. To see that you aren’t alone, that other people have suffered and feel as you do, and that things get better. Because despite the toxic relationship, despite the despair and anxiety and hate and biphobia in the book, it ends on an uplifting note. It is a perfect ending, not because everything ends happily ever after, but because it doesn’t. Because despite life not being perfect, there is still reason to hope. And I think that’s a message everyone needs to hear sometimes.

Deposing Nathan will twist and tear you, it will gut you and hurt like hell. And it is absolutely fucking phenomenal. It’s features the most realistic portrayal of bisexuality and religion I’ve ever read. It is an unforgivingly brutal tale of two boys who learn what it means to love themselves, even if they suffer to do so.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco