Middling and undercooked, redeemed by characters and ideas.

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THE DARK INTERCEPT

From the Dark Intercept series , Vol. 1

At the end of the 23rd century, government surveillance uses weaponized emotions to control the population.

Violet Crowley, the daughter of New Earth’s founder, president, and chief executive, works with the police and the Intercept program, surveilling for crime and unleashing the Intercept to halt criminals. The Intercept uses a chip implant to store and categorize memories and emotions, and it incapacitates people by feeding them back, forcing them to relive their worst moments. Violet’s got a huge crush on mysterious cop Danny Mayhew, who frequently sneaks to Old Earth despite the danger and refuses to say why. New Earth, which is an artificial society above Old Earth, promises safety for the richest and brightest. (The book claims the division ignores nationality, race, creed, and so forth and gives no thought toward intersectionality in this post-racial future in which most though not all named characters are described as pale; Violet appears to be white, while Danny is described as dark.) But the Rebels of Light are spreading rumors that they’ve found a way to overcome the Intercept. Balancing contrived worldbuilding (Earth has had resource wars, yet New Earth has strategically placed dilapidated buildings designed to stay vacant—where else would rebel groups meet?) and characters who frequently feel older than 16 are otherwise nuanced characterizations and strong if sometimes heavy-handed themes involving privacy and immigration.

Middling and undercooked, redeemed by characters and ideas. (Dystopian adventure. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8762-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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LGBTQ teens do need to see themselves represented positively; it's a shame more of them won't here.

SPEAKING OUT

A mixed bag of stories about LGBTQ teens with a few serious omissions and misrepresentations.

Ambitiously, the editor believes this book will stop LGBTQ teens from feeling alone, and in the anthology's short introduction, he encourages queer teens to speak out and straight teens to listen. To this end, most of the stories in the collection show LGBTQ teens who are proud of their gender or sexual orientation and stand up for themselves or for something they believe in. In Alex Jeffers' standout “Captain of the World,” a gay, Turkish Muslim goalie fights back against both racial and sexual harassment on the soccer field. In Berman's fantastical “Only Lost Boys Are Found,” an unnamed hero quests his way through a half-cartoon, half-dream sequence to rescue the boy he loves. Other stories, however, fall flatter, including the well-intentioned but poorly executed “All Gender U,” whose trans protagonist (the only one in the collection) reads more as a hodgepodge of outsider assumptions about trans people than as a person in her own right. While some diversity is represented among the stories—hometowns small and large, a variety of faiths—the majority of protagonists are still white and male.

LGBTQ teens do need to see themselves represented positively; it's a shame more of them won't here. (Short stories. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60282-566-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Though somewhat heavyhanded, these poems are sure to instill much-needed empathy and awareness to gay issues in today’s...

OCTOBER MOURNING

A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD

Nearly 14 years after the unspeakable tragedy that put Laramie, Wyo., on the hate crimes map, lesbian literary icon Newman offers a 68-poem tribute to Matthew Shepard.

Readers who were infants on October 6, 1998, may learn here for the first time how the 21-year-old Shepard was lured from a bar by two men who drove him to the outskirts of town, beat him mercilessly, tied him to a fence and left him to die. Ironically, months before Shepard’s murder, Newman had been invited to Laramie to speak at the University of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week and actually delivered her keynote address on the day he died. This cycle of poems, meant to be read sequentially as a whole, incorporates Newman’s reflections on Shepard’s killing and its aftermath, using a number of common poetic forms and literary devices to portray the events of that fateful night and the trial that followed. While the collection as a whole treats a difficult subject with sensitivity and directness, these poems are in no way nuanced or subtle. For example, Newman repeatedly employs personification to make inanimate objects, such as the fence, road, clothesline and truck, unwitting accessories to the crime, and she imitates William Carlos Williams’ “This Is Just to Say” false-apology format no fewer than four times with mixed results.

Though somewhat heavyhanded, these poems are sure to instill much-needed empathy and awareness to gay issues in today’s teens. (Poetry. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5807-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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