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 grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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