Greetings to all my fellow Bisexual Disasters! I have been reading more lately and realized this book existed. I have this habit of lurking on #BookTwitter in the wee hours of the night and adding strange books to my Libby account. I don’t remember how I originally stumbled upon this title, when I placed a hold, or when I even found this; I just remember getting a notification the other day telling me that my ebook had arrived.
If that is not the most chaotical bi energy for acquiring books, then I don’t know what is.
I will try to refrain from giving away too many spoilers and unknowns, but my dissection has more to do with the way information is portrayed as opposed to specific plot details. You are welcome. Without further ado, here are my hot takes on Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda.
The first thing I realized about this novel is that it is a Young Adult book focused on the teenage Maggie Gonzalez, who desperately needs a date for her sister’s quinceanera. Despite, or maybe because of, her rocky romantic life, she has three options to choose from, all being her people in her close friend group.
Maggie must evaluate her feelings and her relationships with each person.
There’s Matthew, her (twice) ex-boyfriend who is now dating someone new, yet continues to give Maggie signals that he wants her back and hasn’t accepted his fate as an ex.
Her best friend, Amanda, who was Maggie’s first-ever crush, and is painfully straight (allegedly), has Maggie questioning how sure Amanda really is with her sexuality.
Then there’s Dani. The newest addition to the group, with a mysterious backstory and missing details about her life before moving to Grande Rio Valley.
I truly enjoyed how the author handled the many bi stereotypes laced within the novel.
The use of fun playful cliches, like Maggie’s cliche bi insistence to wear flannel in summer, were hilarious and felt like dozens of tiny bi easter eggs sprinkled throughout the pages of each (digital for me) chapter.
But seriously, aside from the hidden funny stereotypes, the author made it very clear to the reader that Maggie’s love life was not a reflection of her bisexuality. There is a part where she is talking to another character about her conflicted emotions and she begins to question her predicament and potentially blame her sexual orientation, but the friend and she conclude that human emotions are complicated and this has nothing to do with her attraction to more than one sex.
I found it powerful how we could see inside Maggie’s head, and feel that doubt and pressure to conform to whatever society might deem typical, and blame these unchangeable pieces of ourselves to fix the larger issue. Her friend maintained that the sex of the romantic interests had nothing to do with her conflict and that this type of thing is normal and common for all people.
Another thing I really enjoyed was how messy and realistic the characters were. Maggie struggled with her own internalized biophobia and a lot of the dialogue she had with herself I have heard before. I have heard those exact thoughts in my head, from other bi people trying to navigate this world, and allies struggling to understand from a position far from perfection but stitched with nothing but good intentions.
The book was full of messy characters acting like messy teenagers just trying to figure out what to do and how to handle the obstacles of life.
This book had a few other highlights for me that I don’t often get to celebrate when finding bi books.
Maggie NAMED her bisexuality. She didn’t simply allude to liking one sex or another. She immediately let us know that she was specifically bi. Not questioning, not a lesbian, not “curious” or someone who “doesn’t like labels.” This character was bi and we did not have to guess. It was refreshing to see that take in a bi character.
Not only did she directly label herself as bi, but we also got the rare experience of seeing her love interests encompass all aspects of her sexuality, then further dissect her feelings in regards to it.
She then acknowledges the terrible tropes that come with bi people and how we are often seen as “greedy” and squashes that in a conversation explaining how this is completely separate and has nothing to do with her sexual orientation.
The character was Latina and authentically explored and discussed that side of herself throughout without it feeling tokenized or forced. We rarely get realistic representation that is more than just a side note about a character’s additional identities, and the author truly made Maggie fleshed out and in touch with her Chicano roots.
TEXAS. Boyyyyyyyyyy howdy, I did not expect such a visible bi story to take place in TEXAS! I lowkey hope Maggie is real and imagine her roaming around her neighborhood, unapologetically being her cuffed jeans, finger-gunning self. I would place money on it that she would sharpie the bi flag on the end of her Converse while listening to Girl in Red.
Ahem. Anywhoo, the book is more than her bisexuality. The overall story is about a girl trying to find a date to a quince, all while battling the impending doom of her unsure future in regards to college and the full array of complicated life choices we all must begin to muck through once we reach the end of high school and attempt to plan the rest of our lives.
This is a nice story with a wildly relatable character. It’s an easy read. It reminds me of high school, if I had actually enjoyed it. It is what I wish my experience had been. Part of me wishes I could have been as clear and sure of myself as Maggie is throughout the entire novel. She is inspiring in how she perfectly understands her attractions and has no doubt in her feelings, well, her feelings about her bisexuality. Her feelings about everything else are quite disastrous.
Her messiness is what makes us love her, and the realistic actions and mindsets of these teenagers is completely spot on. I genuinely appreciated everything this novel had to give and how it handled the chaos that is life.