Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.
For Pride Month this year, I decided to put together the biggest and most ambitious book recommendation post ever. Not only would I recommend queer books for Pride Month, I’d consciously recommend queer books written by and about queer and/or disabled people of colour — the books that people often complain they can’t find, even though they are being talked about, are being hyped, are being loved, were always here.
My book recommendation list, which I started putting together in March, grew and grew and grew until it was 102 books. So rather than have one huge book recommendation posts, I decided to split them into five posts!
The posts you’ll get during June are:
- 21 Books with Gay and M/M Rep To Read and Love During Pride Month!
- 23 Books with Sapphic & F/F Rep To Brighten Your Reading During Pride Month!
- 22 Books with Bisexual & Pansexual Rep That I Loved – and You’ll Love Too!
- The Beauty Beyond the Binary; 20 Books with Trans, Non-Binary, and Genderqueer Rep
- A Love Letter to 18 Books with Questioning, Asexual and Aromantic Rep; You are Valid
Books with bisexual representation, and even more so with pansexual representation, are so difficult to come by. While I hope that we’ll see more books with both these sexualities represented in the future, I can attest that the books listed in today’s list are not only inclusive, but are also marvelous books that I love wholeheartedly.
So, without further ado, here is a list of books with bisexual protagonists first, and books with pansexual protagonists thereafter!
Books with Bisexual Representation
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
I think Full Disclosure may easily be one of my favourite books of 2020. It is absolutely brilliant, an achievement of a debut, and, honestly? So real, so full of heart, and so so good. I loved this book so much and if you haven’t read this yet, then please do!
- Follows Simone, a Black teen who lives with HIV, who finds a note in her locker that threatens to out her secret of living with HIV unless she ends things with her crush, Miles.
- I did not know much about HIV going into this book, and I think Full Disclosure explores living with HIV and how it shapes a person’s experience and life in a sensitive and genuine way. It offers well-researched insight of what it’s like to be a teen, and experiencing teenagehood, who lives with HIV.
- I love how sex-positive this book is! It explores sex in such an open and authentic way, from its discussion about libido, having safe sex, and exploring your body.
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Not Your Sidekick means a lot to me – after all, it was the first book where I saw my experiences represented in a book. Beyond that, Not Your Sidekick is such a fun YA science-fiction that revitalises the tired superhero genre. You’ll love how fun this book is.
- Follows Jess, a bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese teen who, with no powers of her own, decides to take up an internship to beef-up her college applications — only to find out that she is interning in the local villain’s company.
- This book is so sweet, so much fun, and so good! You’ll love this take on superheroes and C.B.’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
- Also? The f/f romance is gorgeous and so lovely, and I adore how charming and sweet it is.
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
If you’re looking for a contemporary that balances sweet and bittersweet, then Don’t Date Rosa Santos is the perfect YA contemporary. I loved this book, loved its light and soft moments but also its hard-hitting and emotional moments.
- Follows Rosa Santos, a bi Cuban-American teen who lives in the small coastal town of Port Coral with her abuela.
- The story is an array of threads that weave together to form a wonderful slice-of-life story in a pivotal moment in Rosa’s life: deciding on a college, in which one may possibly give her the opportunity to visit Cuba and learn more about her heritage.
- This story is about family, family curses, the choices that we make, finding your place in the world, saving your home from gentrification, love, and being part of diaspora. It’s a complex and beautiful story, filled with the ups and downs that life may throw at us.
The Disasters by M.K. England
If you love heists, stories where everyone is queer, and that everything is set in space, then The Disasters is a great choice for a disastrously fun and chaotic book.
- Follows Nax, a bisexual Pakistani-American, who, alongside five others, are framed for murders they did not commit, and have to pull off a series of heists to save the worlds and clear their name.
- This book has the found family trope!! This was so well-done and the relationships were built really organically and meaningfully. I liked that.
- There are some weightier moments (please check the tw’s for this book!) balanced with fun moments, so please do tread carefully before reading!
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
If you love retelling – specifically, a retelling of Alice in Wonderland! – then the Nightmare-Verse series is such a fun series, a great adventure that also has some wonderful friendship and mother-daughter moments. I love it when I can tell that an author had fun writing it, and A Blade So Black and its sequel are such books!
- Follows Alice, a Black teen who is a Dreamwalker – a human who slays wicked beings from Wonderland who feeds on negative emotions.
- I really loved this because it’s not only about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, but it’s also about being a teen and the responsibility of being a hero whilst also being a daughter, a student, a friend, and… just a teen.
- This book will take you for a ride and I loved seeing the reimagined Wonderland – one that is darker and twistier but has the same sort of whimsy.
Seven Tears of High Tide by C.B. Lee
If the idea of a ‘selkie romance’ appeals to you, then Seven Tears at High Tide is as magical as it is sweet. I loved this book – I clutched the book to my heart while reading this more times than I can count.
- Follows Kevin, a Chinese-American bisexual teen whose loneliness spurs him to make a wish to the sea: to have a summer full of love and happiness. When the sea grants him this wish in the form of Morgan, a kelpie boy, their romance blossoms.
- This book contains silkie mythology and the story developments were so lovely.
- Seven Tears at High Tide is also very sex-positive, wholly soft and not a stressful read at all, and has the most wholesome and supportive parents.
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
For as long as I’ve been in the book community, readers have asked for more books about dragons – and now we finally have one! Shatter the Sky is the dragon fantasy that you never knew you needed — and it’s f/f as well!
- Follows Maren, a bisexual teen who sneaks away from the mountain she calls home to find and save her childhood-friend and girlfriend after she is taken away by the emperor’s servants.
- There’s dragons! I liked this book’s take on dragons – how scents and herbalism were important to dragons, and how they tied politically to the book’s world.
- Led by an engaging and imperfect protagonist who would move mountains to save her girlfriend, this book also has a well-written love triangle and I’m interested to see what happens next in the story.
She of the Mountain by Vivek Shraya
Told in concert with one another, this book is part Hindu retelling and part coming-of-age story about a man and his relationship with his body and identity.
- Follows an unnamed effeminate bisexual man, who endures anti-gay bullying from a young age, only to fall in love and lust for a woman later in life.
- And also follows a Hindu retelling of the Parvati, Ganesh and Shiv.
- She of the Mountain explores dysmorphia, self-identity, relationships, and the harm of gatekeeping.
I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Joce recently read this book (and she’ll be sharing her review of it later this month!) and I am so excited to read it myself! I love how fun, sweet, and gorgeous the cover is – and I have no doubt that the story is just as fun, sweet, and gorgeous!
- Follows Skye, a bisexual fat Korean who enters a televised competition looking for the next K-Pop superstar. When she nails her audition, Skye will have to navigate the anti-fat standards of K-Pop and also grapple with her feelings for a fellow competitor.
- This story explores fatness in the context of family and Korean beauty standards, it explores friendship and celebrates bisexuality as well.
- Contains an incredibly soft and uncomplicated romance with a just-as-sweet love interest, Henry Cho.
The Black Veins by Ashia Monet
If you love bigger casts, found family, and love the idea of teens called ‘the Guardians’ who possess awesome destructive power, then I think you might love The Black Veins as much as I did (i.e., a lot)!
- Follows Blythe, a Black bisexual teen who is also one of seven Guardians, the most powerful magicians in the world — except she just wants to be with her family, make coffee at her parents’ cafe, and just… be a teen.
- When her parents are kidnapped, Blythe goes on a roadtrip to save her family. But first, she must find and recruit the other six Guardians to help her save them.
- This story is full of magic, adventures, friendships, no romance arcs, and just teens being teens while also trying to save their families and the world.
Books with Bisexual Representation That’s On My TBR!
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her previous life, family memories, or her childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at a local university seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure reveals Bree’s own, unique magic and unlocks a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that she knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, Bree will do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn by becoming one of their initiates. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur and his knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
When Tracy announced this book, I knew I wanted to read it immediately. A retelling of the King Arthur legend with a Black bisexual lead? Two more months to go! I’m so ready.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
I’ve read the first book of this series, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and it was such a delight. If Dani’s story is just as good as Chloe’s, then I am instantly game. I cannot wait to read this.
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.
August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
I just started this book yesterday and – considering how much I loved The Weight of the Stars! – I have such high hopes.
This is Kind of An Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.
Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.
Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.
After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
I think I’ll read anything Kacen writes, so this is on my TBR – and I hope you will add this to your list too! This sounds like a messy book – and that’s the sort of book that I love, so I cannot wait to read this.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
Persian-inspired fantasy! F/F romance! Morally grey characters! Monster girlfriends! And also the best usage of the YA snake I’ve seen. I want this book so badly and am so excited for its release!
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.
Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.
They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.
Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?
A queer contemporary about comic books, mental health, a fun take on ‘star-crossed lovers’, a bisexual main character and possibly a pansexual love interest? I’m on board! This sounds like a sweet contemporary!
Books with Pansexual Representation
Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
I loved this book and its beautiful and heart-rendering love letter to stories and the power of storytelling. This fantasy is so beautifully imagined and you’ll love this.
- Follows Claire, the librarian of the Unwritten Wing located in Hell – a place where stories unfinished by their authors reside. When a character of an unwritten story escapes, Claire alongside her assistant and former Muse and a demon boy, follow the character to Earth – only to become untangled with something much greater.
- The characters were wonderful and I loved the development that they received. The characters were also queer as well – perhaps not as defined (though, one of the main characters is pan!) but casual and great.
- The story is magnificent. Sure, I feel like the story isn’t that distinct’, but I think the incredible journey and just how much you grow to care for the story made up for it.
Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed
I read this two years ago when I was struggling a lot with anxiety, and Soft on Soft was just a balm for the soul and helped me get through a tough time.
- About two fat and queer women – Selena, a Black model/actress, and June, a Persian make-up artist – and their lovely slow-burn romance.
- This book is a slice-of-life; there isn’t a distinct plot, but is centered on their budding relationship and the small but significant hoops and hurdles they overcome together.
- This is probably one of the most stress-free books I’ve read in a long time. It was just so lush and gentle.
Final Draft by Riley Redgate
This is honestly such an underrated gem and was one of my favourite books in 2019. I love everything about this book and is a perfect example of why ‘quiet YA’ is such a good category.
- Follows Laila, a teen writer who, after her supportive mentor is hospitalised, has to grapple with her new mentor, who is as hard-ass and critical as they come.
- This book is about a lot of things: friendship, it’s about falling in love with your best friend, finding singular moments of peace and joy amidst change. For me, it was about the overwhelming desire to perfect one’s craft, the eagerness to win approval, and losing yourself in the process.
- Laila is biracial (white/Ecuadorian), fat, pansexual, and also has anxiety. I loved how the story delves and explores Laila’s identity as well.
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
This is a retelling of the Arthurian legend except it’s set in space! This is a fast-paced and exciting science-fiction and is so much fun to read.
- Follows Ari, a pansexual fugitive refugee of Arabic descent, who crash lands on Old Earth and pulls out Excalibur – and discovers that she is the 42nd reincarnation of Arthur.
- I loved how queer this book is – there’s a m/m romance, a f/f romance, non-binary side character, and asexual side character!
- This book is a lot of fun, filled with a lot of adventure and ups and downs, and is kind of goofy – in the most endearing and lovable way.
Books with Pansexual Representation That’s On My TBR!
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.
Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.
Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?
A YA contemporary where everyone is queer and explores some confronting topics such as abuse, abusive parents, and alcohol abuse. This sounds like a hard-hitting book and I’m really curious to read it.
Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.
Okay, but how cool does this book sound? I love YA science-fiction with royalty, destiny, and exploration in the mix, so this sounds like such a wickedly cool book. I can’t wait to read this!
Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss
Elena Mendez has always been career-first; with only two semesters of law school to go, her dream of working as a family lawyer for children is finally within reach. She can’t afford distractions. She doesn’t have time for love.
And she has no idea how much her life will change, the day she lends her notes to Cora McLaughlin.
A freelance writer and MBA student, Cora is just as career-driven as Elena. But over weeks in the library together, they discover that as strong as they are apart, they’re stronger together. Through snowstorms and stolen moments, through loneliness and companionship, the two learn they can weather anything as long as they have each other–even a surprise visit from Elena’s family.
From solitude to sweetness, there’s nothing like falling in love. College may be strict…but when it comes to love, Cora and Elena are ahead of the learning curve.
This sounds like such a sweet NA (new adult) book – and it’s short and fluffy too! The love interest is panromantic, which is representation you don’t often see, so I’m excited to dive into this.
Found a book that you want to buy?
Awesome! Thanks to Victoria Lee for this wonderful resource of Black-owned indie bookstores in the US and this list of Black-owned indie bookshops in the UK, you can now purchase these books from this list of Black-owned indie bookshops: