#BiWeek celebrates bisexual people and bisexuality from September 19-26, 2016. #BannedBooksWeek celebrates your freedom to read any book you like — no matter who thinks you shouldn’t be reading it at all — from September 25-October 1, 2016. And given that the teen book review magazine VOYA came under fire this past week for recommending that a particular book be restricted to only 11th and 12th grade readers because of a character’s bisexuality, September 25 is the perfect day to highlight a few of my favorite bi characters!
Let’s start with the brand-new book that’s at the heart of the VOYA blowup, Run by Kody Keplinger.
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter—protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure. Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. So when Bo shows up with police sirens wailing in the distance, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, and confronting some ugly secrets.
If you want to know more about the VOYA thing, BisexualBooks.com has a great series of write-ups on the VOYA shenanigans — start here. Then check out part 2, part 3, and part 4 before heading to the VOYA tag to see what the latest news is.
But what other great books do we have in The Vault featuring bi characters? One of my personal favorites is Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz.
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown. Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, not tiny and white enough for ballet, and not sick enough to look anorexic. Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?
But maybe contemporary teen drama isn’t your thing. How about some sci-fi suspense? Adaptation by Malinda Lo is for you.
Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing thousands of deaths. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights. Millions of travelers are stranded. Reese and her longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them anything about what happened. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy.
Bonus: all three of these authors are themselves queer! When you read these books, you’re not just reading about bi characters, you’re supporting authentic stories of diversity by diverse voices.
Finding books with bisexual characters can be difficult, so don’t hesitate to ask Vault staff if you want to read more than just these three titles. We’d be happy to help connect you with the titles you want to read. And if you know of great bi books that we don’t own, let us know! We will do our best to add them to our collection.
And don’t miss our #BannedBooksWeek activities after school in The Vault all this week to celebrate your freedom to read whatever you want, no matter what grade you’re in!