the letter q: queer writers' notes to their younger selves

Master Reviews List

Here at Bisexual Books, we receive frequent queries for lists of books with X demographic, genre and/or quality to them. Often we reply with a few suggestions culled from our recent memory which may not be reflective of the full gamut of works we’ve reviewed.

This list isn’t perfect. We will update it within a week or two of every new review we post. This list is not heavily detailed (for heavier details, please click the book’s title and read our full original review!) but should prove a handy resource for anyone who would like to find our thoughts on specific titles, good bi YA (or historical fiction, nonfiction, erotica, etc), character demographics, etc.

We hope you find it useful!

Books We Loved:

Adaptation by Malinda Lo: Dystopian fiction, bisexual female, sci-fi

American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men by David McConnell: True crime, gender and masculinity studies

Anything That Loves edited by Zan Christensen: Comics, non-binary, anthology

Avengers Academy vol. 3 by Christos Gage: Comics, bisexual female, bi-ally

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay: Non-fiction, bisexual feminist poc author

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson: Fantasy, Indonesian bisexual male

Best Bi Short Stories: Bisexual Fiction edited by Sheela Lambert: bisexual authors and characters

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin: Photo book, trans teens, genderqueer, bisexual, pansexual

Bi-Normal by M. G. Higgins: YA, bisexual males

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, and Lists For Those Who Go Both Ways by Nicole Kristal and Mike Syzmanski: Humor, coming out, nonfiction

Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau: Sci-fi, bisexual male, bisexual author, non-con, erotica

Boyfriends With Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez: YA, LGB characters, poc characters

Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz: Romance, trans bisexual male, explicit sex

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: “big queer meta Harry Potteresque fanficion book thingy”

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare: Fantasy, Indonesian bisexual male 

Clearcut by Nina Shengold: Bi male characters, historical fiction, polyamory

Climbing the Date Palm by Shira Glassman: Fantasy, Queer and ethnic diversity, feminist 

Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminism, edited by Elizabeth Reba Weise: Non-fiction anthology, bisexual scholarship/academia

Coda by Emma Trevayne: YA, dystopian, bisexual male, sci-fi

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: YA, horror, vampires, bisexual male, transgender woman

Death’s Door by Sam Saturday: Comic book, horror, romance, pansexual author 

Fairest vol.2 by Lauren Beukes and Bill Willingham: Comics, fantasy, bisexual female

Fake by Sanami Matoh: Yaoi, bisexual male

Far From You by Tess Sharpe: YA, mystery, bisexual female, disability

Fireflies at Absolute Zero by Erynn Rowan Laurie: Poetry, bisexual author

Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson: Sci-fi, bisexual females, polyamory, explicit sex

Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen: Contemporary fiction, romance, bisexual female, disability

Gender Failure by Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote: Personal essays, non-binary transgender authors

Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman: Essays, genderqueer, transgender, bisexual authors

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin: Intersex protagonist, tw rape

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith: Dystopian YA, bug apocalypse, bisexual male

Heart Body Soul, Erotica with Character by various authors: Pretty much every queer configuration of erotica you could ever ask for.

Honeybee: a Collection of Poems About Letting Go by Trista Mateer: Poetry, bisexual author

The Horizontal Poet by Jan Steckel: Poetry, bisexual author

Inheritance by Malinda Lo: Sci-fi, bisexual female, romance

James Baldwin: A Biography by David Leeming: Biography, black history, bisexual male

Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems by James Baldwin: Poetry, black author

Joy Street by Laura Foley: bisexual poetry 

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves: Non-fiction, diverse array of queer authors

Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics by Jennifer Baumgardner: Non-fiction, bisexual feminist politics

Love in the Time of Global Warming: Sci-fi, dystopian, YA, bisexual female

Map of Home by Randa Jarrar: Bisexual Middle Eastern protagonist

Murder On The Mountain by Jaime Fessenden: Mystery, bi male

My Education by Susan Choi: Contemporary fiction, bisexual female, high-brow

No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics edited by Justin Hall: Comics, queer diversity

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming: Memoir, bisexual author, tw domestic violence

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz: YA, bisexual female poc, mental health struggles.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg: YA, gay coming out

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis: Fantasy, diverse characters, bisexual disabled author

Out in Africa: Same-Sex Desire in Sub-Saharan Literatures & Cultures by Chantal Zabus: Scholarship, non-fiction, African queer culture

Pantomime by Laura Lam: Steampunk fantasy, YA, bisexual intersex character

The Pendragon Legacy by Sarah Luddington: Historical fantasy, bisexual and gay males, romance, TW rape 

Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen: Historical romance, bisexual male 

Promises, Promises: A Romp with Plenty of Dykes, a Unicorn, an Ogre, an Oracle, a Quest, a Princess, and True Love with a Happily Ever After by LJ Baker: Fantasy satire, humor, lesbian characters, anti-heteronormativity, lacking bisexual content 

Qu33r: New Comics From 33 Creators edited by Rob Kirby: Comics, queer and ethnic diversity

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler: Memoir, gay coming out

Saga vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples: Comic, Sci-fi, queer and ethnic diversity

Seducer Fey by Cullyn Royson: Sci-fi, fantasy, bisexual and pansexual characters, diverse ethnicities, non-cis characters

Shadowplay by Laura Lam: Steampunk fantasy YA, bisexual intersex character

She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya: bisexual male poc, Hindu mythology

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Gay coming out YA with bisexual characters and zero biphobia

Some of Us Did NOT Die: New and Selected Essays by June Jordan: Non-fiction, bisexual feminist black author

Sparks by S. J. Adams: lesbian coming out YA that doesn’t demonize bisexuality

Starling by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae: bisexual male supporting character, contemporary fiction 

The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj: Sci-fi, erotica, agender characters, polyamory, explicit sex

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: YA, Afro-Brazilian characters, bisexual male, dystopian

That’s So Gay: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community edited by Kevin L. Nadal: Essays, diverse queer subjects and authors

Tides by Betsy Cornwell: Fantasy, adult queer romance

Tommy’s Tale by Alan Cumming: Contemporary fiction, bisexual author and characters, explicit sex

The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt: Historical fiction, bisexual male

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play, and the Erotic Edge edited by Tristan Taormino: BDSM non-fiction anthology, queer and ethnic diversity TW: Nudity and explicit depictions of sex and BDSM 

Wallflower by Heidi Belleau: Erotica, genderqueer, Asian and Inuit leads, explicit,

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison: Supernatural Mystery, female bisexual, vampires, fantasy 

A Wind of Knives by Ed Kurtz: Historical fiction, bisexual males, western lit

A Woman Like Me by Bettye LaVette: Memoir, black bisexual author

Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen: Comics, bisexual black male, diverse ethnic and queer cast 

Books With Problematic or Mediocre Elements That We Still Recommend:

American Savage by Dan Savage: Non-fiction, essays, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Dan Savage will always be a tool.

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo: Non-fiction, academia, scholarship 

Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker: Memoir, parenthood, bisexual in passing

Bad Company by K. A. Mitchell: Erotica, bisexual male, explicit sex

Bad Dyke: Salacious Stories From a Queer Life by Allison Moon: Memoir, bisexuality, BDSM, polyamory, internalized biphobia 

Best Bisexual Women’s Erotica edited by Cara Bruce: Erotica, hit and miss

Between You & Me by Marisa Calin: Screenplay, queer protagonists

Bi Lives: Bisexual Women edited by Kata Orndorff: Non-fiction, essays, internalized biphobia

Bisexuality: A Reader and Sourcebook edited by Thomas Geller: Essays, dated

The Book of Joel by AR Fiano: Mystery, widespread in queer and ethnic diversity, see review for long list of trigger warnings 

Bound By Honor by S.E. Jakes: Erotica, Bisexual males, BDSM

Coming Around: Parenting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Kids by Anne Dohrenwend: Non-fiction, No good bi content

Corona by Bushra Rehman: Semi-autobiography, queer Pakistani representation 

Daddy by Madison Young: Memoir, bisexual female, BDSM, explicit sex

Different Slopes by Bill Lee: Historical fiction, bisexual male, light reading with an erotic edge

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour: Lesbian YA

Diverse Energies edited by Joe Monti and Tobias S. Buckell: Sci-fi anthology, queer people of color

The Dom with a Safeword by Sorcha Black, Leia Shaw, and Cari Silverwood: Erotica, female biseual, BDSM, explicit sex, disjointed narrative

Ebenezer by JoSelle Vanderhooft: Fantasy, holiday, bisexual female,

The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell: YA, historical fiction, bisexual females, doesn’t stand well on its own

The Faith, Love, and Devotion series by Tere Michaels: Romance, bisexual males, cliche 

Flagrant Conduct: the Story of Lawrence v. Texas by Dale Carpenter: Historical non-fiction, bi erasing

For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home edited by Keith Boykin: Non-fiction anthology, cissexist gay

Franky Gets Real by Mel Bossa: Contemporary fiction, bisexual male, lighthearted romance

Gabriel’s City by Layla Hunter: Fantasy, erotica, bisexual male, explicit sex

Giving an Inch: The Professor’s Rule by Heidi Belleau: Erotica, bisexual male, explicit sex, short story, no plot

Graveyard Sparrow by Kayla Bashe: Fantasy, bisexual female, romance, plodding clunky writing

Hild by Nicola Griffith: Historical fiction, bisexual female, slow-paced

How I Paid For College by Marc Acito: Contemporary fiction, horrible characters

The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block: Fantasy, YA, bisexual female, transgender male, sexual assault TW, transphobia 

The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy edited by Tom Cardamone: Comics anthology, gay men

Let it Ride by L.C. Chase: bisexual cowboy romance, TW explicit sex 

Lips Like Ice by Peggy Barnett: Sci-Fi, bisexual female, transgender male 

Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe by Harrie Farrow: bisexual male coming of age, polyamory, explicit sex 

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva: YA, bisexual male, monosexism

Pink by Lili Wilkinson: YA, bisexual female

Polished by Alyssa Turner: Erotica, explicit, bisexual male, BDSM, polyamory

The Price of Salt by Claire Morgan (pseudonym for Patricia Highsmith): Historical fiction, bisexual female, misogyny

Red Sonja vol. 2 by Gail Simone and Walter Geovani: Fantasy, bisexual female, comics

Revival by Stephen King: Horror, surprise bisexual female

She Loves You, She Loves You Not by Julie Anne Peters: lesbian YA, bisexual villainy

Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff: Supernatural fantasy, bisexual female 

Skim by Mariko Tamaki: Lesbian coming of age, Comics

Sleeping Moon by Kano Miyamoto: Yaoi, supernatural mystery, bisexual male characters, erasure, bi tropes

Spit and Passion by Cristy C. Road: Autobiographical graphic novel, queer Cuban author, explicit sex

Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau: Erotica, bisexual male, explicit sex, BDSM, unsympathetic characters

Stumptown vol. 2 by Greg Rucka: Comics, bisexual female, queer coding, violence

The Swede by Robert Karjel: Good but somewhat disjointed crime novel. No real bisexual content.

That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies For Resisting Assimilation edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: Diverse queer authors and themes, Personal essays, politics

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci: Sci-fi, bisexual female, bisexual cliches

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice: Supernatural contemporary fiction, queer characters, lacking in ethnic and gender diversity

When We Become Weavers: Queer Female Poets on the Midwestern Experience edited by Kate Lynn Hibbard: Poetry anthology, queer authors and subjects 

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson: Memoir, often aimless 

Books That Are Awful:

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar: Fantasy, vague bisexuality, extremely boring

The Bisexual Spouse edited by Ivan Hill: Non-fiction, bisexual erasure

Bisexual Vegetarian Zombies by Ron Albury: Zombie fiction, bisexual characters, misogyny

Bottled Up Secret by Brian McNamara: Coming out fiction, m/m, chock full of biphobia 

Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity edited by Chloe Brushwood Rose and Anna Camilleri: Wildly inconsistent anthology

Collide by J. R. Lenk: bisexual coming out, terribly written

Confessions of a Bisexual Husband by Mark Bentley Cohen: Memoir, bisexual male, non-consent, infidelity, bisexual stereotypes

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian: Just nope.

A Desired Past by Leila J. Rupp: bisexual erasing, transgender erasing, historically inaccurate 

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George: YA, beautifully written biphobic villain garbage

Directing Herbert White by James Franco: phobic, slut shaming, boring

Double Crush by Sally Bosco: Too cliche

The Elephant of Surprise by Brent Hartinger: Terrible addition to otherwise good series of novels

King of Angels by Perry Brass: Contemporary fiction, coming of age, bisexual and gay males, underage explicit sex, murder

Matched by Ally Condie: Dystopian romance, heteronormative, boring 

The Meadowlark Sings by Helen Ruth Schwartz: Dystopian, Bisexual erasure

No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace: Best part of this book is its cover

Otherwise by Linda Oatman High: forced agender, nonsensical

Plan B by SJD Peterson: Erotica, transphobic

Reclaiming Queer, edited by Erin J Rand: Non-fiction, biphobic, bisexual erasure

Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton: romance, bisexual/gay males, poorly written

Songmaster by Orson Scott Card: queer phobic garbage, Sci-fi

Starstruck by L. A. Witt: bisexual male, romance, explicit sex, bi erasure

Stonewall by Ann Bausum: Historically inaccurate, bisexual erasing, transgender erasing 

Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen: YA, dystopian, terrible

This Is a Book For Parents of Gay Kids by Danielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo: Extreme biphobia, all the nope

The Tolerance Trap by Suzanna Danuta Walters: Non-fiction, boring, bisexual erasure

When Your Lover is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal by Susan Forward: Non-fiction, biphobic garbage

Winterspell by Clare Legrand: bad bisexual tropes, YA fantasy, TW sexual coercion 

Wonderland by David-Matthew Barnes: Rushed, cliched, confusing 

You Can Tell Just By Looking by Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini, and Michael Amico: Cissexist garbage

Working at Chapters is such a treat, especially when I get the opportunity to do something like this. This is our big Teen feature bay, and the first three shelves are all queer books!

TOP SHELF:

  • Young Avengers (volume 3), Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin
  • Love in the Time of Global Warming, Francesca Lia Block
  • Gender Failure, Ivan Coyote & Rae Spoon
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves
  • The Will of the Empress, Tamora Pierce

SECOND SHELF:

  • The Bermudez Triangle, Maureen Johnson
  • Hero, Perry Moore
  • Ash, Malinda Lo
  • Will Grayson Will Grayson, John Green & David Levithan
  • If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan
  • Parrotfish, Ellen Wittlinger
  • More Than This, Patrick Ness

THIRD SHELF:

  • Tiger Lily, Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • Pink, Lili Wilkinson
  • Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan
  • Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg
  • Shine, Lauren Myracle
  • Luna, Julie Anne Peters
  • Empress of the World, Sara Ryan

This is by no means all of our queer teen books, but it’s a great sampling, and I’m so happy that Chapters in board in making sure teenagers of all sorts can easily find books they can identify with. It’s such a safe place to work and to shop, and in this wall is a pretty good representation of all sorts of queer teens, not just the gay and lesbian lit that often takes the spotlight.

I will be putting up reviews for the books on here I’ve personally read shortly, and links will be added as I do so.

If you have any questions about any of these books, or any representation or characters you’re struggling to find books about, don’t be afraid to ask!

Review - The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon

This is a book made by queer book lovers for queer book lovers.  

The pitch is that prominent queer authors write inspirational letters to their youthful selves, but really it just makes the reader all wibbly with emotion.   Since the authors are all professional and respected writers, it’s one of the better anthologies I’ve read.   Many of them are able to evoke their own youthful fear, longing, and confusion with grace and beauty, essentially providing messages of hope that are tailored for the youth of today who may be experiencing the same struggles.  

It also includes a LOT of notable queer authors, and reading about the young inner lives of some of my favorite queer writers was fascinating.  This was the book that made me realize that Bruce Coville, author of several of my favorite books as a kid, was bisexual.   His essay was the best to me, an absolute stand-out encouraging and informing his younger self in a way that was touching and humorous.  For example:

“I mean, seriously, you already know you don’t quite fit in.  You’re just not aware, yet, how fully that is true.  So, let’s get it on the table: You’re bisexual.  Not straight.  Not gay.  Bisexual.   (Come on, just think about how much you like looking at the underwear ads in the Sears catalog… no matter which page you’re on!)

My other favorites came from Amy Bloom and Jewelle Gomez.  Both were able to evoke beautiful images of love and family that went beyond the surface-level ‘it gets better’ message.  

There were also several authors who imply that they are queer in a non-monosexual fashion without using the actual word bisexual.  This includes Carol DeSanti’s heartbreaking account of sexual assault.   The collection also includes several comics on the same theme, including one from Erica Moen.   

My biggest disappointment is that I’d hoped for more out bisexuals in an anthology containing 66 authors.  As it is, the word bisexual only appears in two essays – Coville’s brilliant bi coming out, and as a brief shitty biphobic jab in Stacy D'Erasmo’s piece.  Basically D'Erasmo reassures frightened gay and lesbian queers by saying "no one quite gets the bisexuals”.   It was a completely unnecessary jab and I’m disappointed in Moon for including it.  It could have been removed completely without compromising anything in D'Erasmo’s essay and made this whole collection safer for bi teens who don’t need to be the butt of her quips.   

But despite it’s flaws, I think it is overall a beautiful anthology, especially for bisexual fans of Bruce Coville who are joyfully discovering that he is one of us.  

- Sarah 

Trigger warnings for: sexual assault, descriptions of racism

So I just found out Bruce Coville is bisexual!!!

So I was reading The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves and I came across an essay by Bruce Coville where he says: 

“I mean, seriously, you already know you don’t quite fit in.  You’re just not aware, yet, how fully that is true.  So, let’s get it on the table: You’re bisexual.  Not straight.  Not gay.  Bisexual.  

The essay goes on to talk about biphobia, passing as straight, the pressure to ‘pick a side’, and "when it comes to love you will never discriminate on the basis of gender!”

This is so exciting to me because I LOVED Bruce Coville books as a kid.  I don’t know if anyone else in the early 90’s got My Teacher Is An Alien from the scholastic booksale at school but I probably read that book 20 times.  I loved that the aliens were not really the bad guys in the end; they wanted to help humanity and save it from the real bad guys.  It was a twist that as a 9 year old I didn’t see coming and I delighted reading it over and over again.   He made the aliens, well, less alien and even as an adult, his books made me love middle grade novels that encourage empathy and understanding in their readers.  

- Sarah