Teens who enjoy slice-of-life vignettes that evoke a specific time and place and adults who thrill to nostalgia will find a...

LOVE & PROFANITY

A COLLECTION OF TRUE, TORTURED, WILD, HILARIOUS, CONCISE, AND INTENSE TALES OF TEENAGE LIFE

Each of these 40-plus very short stories unveils a memory of being a teenager that is important to its respective writer.

Markedly brief offerings from authors both well-known and less familiar make for an unusual and interesting read that is enormously successful in illustrating how different the lives of teens are from one another. For example, though they seem to involve a similar event, Geoff Herbach’s ultimately haunting tale of being mistaken for a girl’s tormentor after he ditches empty beer bottles left in his car in the wrong spot couldn’t be more different from Carrie Mesrobian’s wryly funny recollection of her panic at finding a spent party ball stashed in her family’s board-game cupboard weeks after an illicit party at her house. Such issues as body image, cliques, family strife, economic status and popularity are recurring themes throughout and will resonate with teen readers. Less likely to do so are details such as listening to music on Discmans and watching MTV with VHS tapes at the ready to record a favorite video or playing pinball and drinking vodka-spiked Fresca.

Teens who enjoy slice-of-life vignettes that evoke a specific time and place and adults who thrill to nostalgia will find a lot to like about these pithy, honestly awkward and poignant minimemoirs. (Memoir. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63079-012-7

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Switch/Capstone

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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