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OUT THERE

INTO THE QUEER NEW YONDER

An enchanting collection.

An anthology packed with tales of queer love that will launch readers into alternate realities and distant futures.

What if every straight person in the world suddenly vanished? What if you could transfer your consciousness to a new body on Mars? What if you could commune with souls and give everyone a proper homegoing? Asked to write the story they needed as teens, the 17 contributing authors present narratives centered on love, acceptance, and hope that span a multitude of genres, from epic space adventures to fervent romances, each infused with science-fiction elements. Reflecting the authors themselves, these short stories include characters of diverse races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities and offer much-needed mirrors to queer readers young and old. Readers will encounter familiar names from YA such as K. Ancrum, Alechia Dow, Leah Johnson, Alex London, Abdi Nazemian, Adam Sass, and more. The seamless flow between each entry keeps readers engaged and immersed in worlds known and unknown. The stories are overall very well written, fleshed out with just enough details to keep readers fascinated by reimagined futures summed up in gratifying endings. Most delve into issues such as the microaggressions queer people face, oppressive governments, and humans’ environmental impact on the world. However, none of this deters the protagonists from finding community and wholly embracing themselves.

An enchanting collection. (contributors' biographies) (Science-fiction anthology. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-335-42589-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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