We are in a golden age of queer books. Glance over the shelves and you can find characters who openly and explicitly identify as any kind of sexuality you can imagine. Oscar Wilde could never have dreamed… In my humble opinion, though, bisexual book characters could use just a smidge more of the spotlight. So, here’s a list of ten books with bisexual characters.

10 Books With Bisexual Characters - Book List - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red White And Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Red, White & Royal Blue is “an effervescent queer romance” (according to Bi.Org), featuring a bisexual character front and center. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the son of a U.S. President, forced into a PR friendship with a British Prince after a disastrous diplomatic incident. Of course, sparks fly between the (former) enemies, and Alex’s burgeoning bisexuality emerges. Casey McQuiston writes brilliant books about bisexuality (having come out as bisexual themselves, they know the ropes), and this is by far their most popular. Read my full review of Red, White & Royal Blue here.

Bonus: I’ve read more of Casey McQuiston’s books, and loved each of the bisexual characters more than the last! Check out my full review of I Kissed Shara Wheeler here, and my full review of One Last Stop here.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf - book laid on wooden table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Of course, plenty of bisexual books were published before this hey-day was heralded or whatever. Mrs Dalloway might not be as openly bisexual as some of the other characters on this list, but no one who reads this book could be in any doubt as to her inclinations. Clarissa spends a lot of time in this novel thinking about the man she married, the man she could have married, and the woman with whom she shared a kiss – the “most exquisite moment of her whole life”. That’s very bi, wouldn’t you say? For more confirmation, see Virginia Woolf’s diaries where she wrote extensively of both her love for her husband Leonard and her passionate affair with Vita Sackville-West. Read my full review of Mrs Dalloway here.

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die At The End - Adam Silvera - Keeping Up With The Penguins

They Both Die At The End seems, on its face, to be a bit of a bummer; it’s the story of two young men who receive a notification that they are going to die, and an app matches them to spend their final day together. And yet, it’s an oddly touching book, one that features bisexual characters at the forefront. One of the young men, Rufus, is openly bisexual from the start, and a queer romance blooms as the plot unfolds (sorry if that’s kind of a spoiler, but c’mon, it’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?). And so, this novel with the depressing conceit becomes a beautiful expression of bisexual joy all the same – isn’t that nice?

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations With Friends - Sally Rooney - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Sally Rooney has written the ultimate Messy Young White Bisexual novel in Conversations With Friends. Frances and Bobbi are exes, and performance poets, and friends. They meet a couple of grown-ups, Melissa and Nick, who are almost-happily married (it would seem). The situation quickly evolves into a love quadrangle, with Frances and Nick carrying on behind everyone’s backs while Bobbi pines after Melissa from afar. There’s men loving women, women loving women, men loving themselves, all over the shop. You might need a diagram to follow everything that’s going on in this one, but it’s worth it. Read my full review of Conversations With Friends here.

The Fiancee Farce by Alexandria Bellefleur

The Fiancee Farce - Alexandria Bellefleur - Keeping Up With The Penguins

It’s rare that you get a fun romance book with bisexual characters and absolutely zero handwringing about queerness. That’s what makes The Fiancee Farce so special (well, that, and the excellent Sapphic spice). It’s a marriage-of-convenience plot, featuring a bookstore owner and a book cover model-slash-publishing heiress. The chemistry and compatibility of the leads leaps off the page; Tansy and Gemma are characters you’ll fall in love with as they fall in love with each other. Most of all, it’s a blessed relief to read a book where queerness (bisexuality, specifically) isn’t othered at all, and the marriage of two women is handled exactly the way any other coupling would be. Read my full review of The Fiancee Farce here.

Acts Of Service by Lillian Fishman

Stories about heterosexual women exploring bi-curious desires are a dime a dozen, and Lillian Fishman flips the narrative on its head in Acts Of Service. Eve has a wonderful and adoring girlfriend, but she can’t help wondering whether she’s wasting her youth in a stable relationship. But being an impulsive mess, she doesn’t just dive headfirst into an affair; she gets caught up in a throuple, one that includes a man. Suddenly, she’s exploring a world of pleasure and hedonism that incorporates the last thing she ever expected – heterosexual sex. And yet, this remains one of the queerest novels of recent years, one that will make you question your instinctive understanding of sexuality.

The Rules Of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

The Rules Of Attraction - Bret Easton Ellis - Keeping Up With The Penguins

When you pick up a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, you expect a lot of sex, drugs, and violence. The Rules Of Attraction doesn’t deliver so much on the latter, but two out of three ain’t bad! The story focuses mainly on three students at an affluent liberal arts university; they end up in a kind of wonky love triangle, but are each unreliable in their narration of it (as far as the reader is concerned). Paul Denton is the only openly bisexual character in this book, but all of the men are sleeping with men, curious about sleeping with men, or so high they don’t care about who they sleep with. This one’s more of a wild ride than an accurate reflection of real life for bisexual people, but that’s kind of Ellis’s schtick.

Green Dot by Madeleine Gray

Green Dot - Madeleine Gray - Keeping Up With The Penguins

The blurb of Green Dot promises an “irresistible and messy love story… about the joys and indignities of coming into adulthood”. Hera is in her mid-20s, still living with her dad in Sydney and preemptively exhausted by the life of drudgery she expects to find in the workforce. Lacking any better options, she takes a job as an online comment moderator for a news publication and an older male colleague catches her eye. Having exhausted her options for bisexual drama for the minute, she plunges into a destructive workplace affair. She’s a character that will have you cringing and relating, all at once. Read my full review of Green Dot here.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Call Me By Your Name - Andre Aciman - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Okay, yes, Call Me By Your Name is problematic for a number of reasons that have been discussed to death in #BookTok circles – but the fact remains that it’s an insightful representation of burgeoning bisexuality in young men of a certain era. Elio is confused by his desires, excited by them, and seeking affirmation anywhere he can find it. His crush on the older house-guest Oliver is all-consuming, overwhelming, obsessive and single-minded in an almost-scary way. Elio projects everything onto him, as many of us do with our first love. So, yes, this one needs to be read critically, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the books with bisexual characters worth reading. Read my full review of Call Me By Your Name here.

P.S.: Even though this article – Call Me by Your Name: Not Pedophilia, Still Problematic – focuses more on the movie than the book, it’s still a really interesting read about the concerning power dynamics at play in this story.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid - Keeping Up With The Penguins

I’ve saved The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo for last, because it’s not exactly marketed as a book with a bisexual character. I don’t love when a character’s sexuality, bi or otherwise, is used as a “big reveal”, but it makes sense in the context of this story. Evelyn is an aging movie star, finally ready to tell the world the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life – including a great forbidden love, which (spoiler, I guess?) was not one of her seven husbands. With enough old-school glitz to make it fun, and enough trauma to make it moving, it’s hardly a surprise that this one went on to become a best-seller dozens of times over.

Further reading: The website Bi.Org was an invaluable resource for me putting together this list, and looking for books with bisexual characters in general. I highly checking out their stuff if you want to read more!