This book was chosen for my 2016 Reading Challenge to fill the LGBT slot. Not the first book I’ve read with LGBT content this year, and not the best, but… that’s how it goes sometimes.
Generally speaking, I really like short fiction. Especially by my favourite writers. My trouble with this, like most short fiction anthologies by multiple writers, is that I’ll really enjoy some of the stories/authors, and really dislike some of the others. That’s why this anthology, which contains some great stuff, gets such a middle of the road rating.
Each of these stories has a queer bent; there are some gay characters, some trans characters, some love, some sex, some coming-of-age and bullying, some friendships, all in different configurations. There’s some drama, some comedy, some tragedy, and some remembrances of times past. Some of these stories are amazingly well-crafted fiction. Some read like high school essays that might get a C. There’s such an incredibly wide range here that I feel bad giving this a three-star rating, both because some of the stories deserve five, and some none.
What I liked about this book is that it gives a voice to some up-and-coming authors who, because they write queer fiction, might not get accepted into traditional modes of publishing. These aren’t stories that are going to make it in a main-stream magazine, generally speaking, because they will still (in this day and age, it’s sad I know) be considered too out-there for a teen magazine or most YA fiction outlets. But their voices are important, and should be available to be read.
This would be an excellent read to get into the hands of the young and questioning, transitioning, in or out, out-of-cis-standards people who love to read. They might just find themselves represented here. So if you are a parent or friend, gift this book. Or get it for yourself, and see through the eyes of young people finding their way in a world that doesn’t always accept them. Yanno, learn stuff.