AM I BLUE?

COMING OUT FROM THE SILENCE

When gay and lesbian adults write about their youthful struggles to come to terms with their gayness, they frequently lament that there was little in books to help them understand their sexuality and accept themselves. In contrast, these stories by 16 luminaries of YA literature will help such young people realize that they are not alone, unique, or abnormal in their sexual orientation. The viewpoint here is sometimes that of a gay protagonist, sometimes that of someone whose life has been affected by a gay person. Bruce Coville's title tale of a modern fairy godfather is wonderfully campy and humorous; in Francesca Lia Block's ``Winnie and Teddy,'' a young man comes out to his girlfriend; in James Cross Giblin's ``Three Mondays in July,'' a young man's chance encounter with an older one turns his life around; Lois Lowry's ``Holding'' depicts a boy whose life has been a lie because he couldn't acknowledge his father's gayness; and the editor tells a delightful tale (``Dancing Backward'') of two young lesbians reacting to the rigid orthodoxy of a Catholic boarding school. Many of the other stories—which include entries by M.E. Kerr, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, and William Sleator—are equally fine. Each is followed by comments by the author on his or her life and writing; these can be as interesting as the stories themselves. A book that belongs in every YA collection. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-024253-1

Page Count: 274

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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