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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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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