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SPEAKING OUT by Steve Berman


edited by Steve Berman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60282-566-6
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

A mixed bag of stories about LGBTQ teens with a few serious omissions and misrepresentations.

Ambitiously, the editor believes this book will stop LGBTQ teens from feeling alone, and in the anthology's short introduction, he encourages queer teens to speak out and straight teens to listen. To this end, most of the stories in the collection show LGBTQ teens who are proud of their gender or sexual orientation and stand up for themselves or for something they believe in. In Alex Jeffers' standout “Captain of the World,” a gay, Turkish Muslim goalie fights back against both racial and sexual harassment on the soccer field. In Berman's fantastical “Only Lost Boys Are Found,” an unnamed hero quests his way through a half-cartoon, half-dream sequence to rescue the boy he loves. Other stories, however, fall flatter, including the well-intentioned but poorly executed “All Gender U,” whose trans protagonist (the only one in the collection) reads more as a hodgepodge of outsider assumptions about trans people than as a person in her own right. While some diversity is represented among the stories—hometowns small and large, a variety of faiths—the majority of protagonists are still white and male.

LGBTQ teens do need to see themselves represented positively; it's a shame more of them won't here. (Short stories. 12 & up)