Written in a friendly style, this guide contains plenty of information and encouragement; fledging writers are well-served.

DEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK?

A nonfiction how-to guide for teen writers by popular YA author Carter (Not If I Save You First, 2018, etc.).

Presented in an accessible question-and-answer format, Carter walks young readers comprehensibly and comprehensively through the steps of writing a novel, beginning with planning, worldbuilding, characters, and plot and ending with editing and a wholly realistic look at publishing. Breezy and honest, she encourages her audience to focus on the joy of writing, not the potential monetary rewards, and stresses repeatedly that there are many different ways to approach a story: “You have one job, and that’s to find the process that works for you.” Along the way, she addresses questions to and gathers data from a diverse crew of 30 established YA authors, among them Z Brewer, David Levithan, Soman Chainani, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Murphy, and Jay Coles. Several pages are devoted to the timely and important question of writing characters who are different from oneself, whether in gender, ethnicity or other ways. Unfortunately, the section on story structure presents the classic Western three-act narrative as universal, a disservice to aspiring writers who may wish to explore forms from other cultural traditions. Entertaining and informative charts showing answers from her guest contributors reinforce the myriad ways there are to succeed as a writer.

Written in a friendly style, this guide contains plenty of information and encouragement; fledging writers are well-served.   (table of contents, contributor biographies, glossary) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-21226-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.

CONTINUUM

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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