From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–Using works submitted anonymously through the Web site the authors created in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Levithan and Merrell have selected 40 essays, mini-autobiographies, poems, and photographs that chronicle the lives of 21st-century young people, ages 13 to 23. The handsomely dense package includes real-life stories about coming out, falling in and out of love, mistaken identities, families and friends, misplaced affection, confronting homophobia, and more. A female-to-male transsexual teen describes a first trip into the men's restroom. A young man recalls his close relationship with a trash-talking, pot-smoking, horror-movie-loving burnout, illustrating the blurry lines that exist between romance and friendship. While nearly half of the installments tell the stories of young gay men, a sizable chunk is devoted to lesbians, and more than half a dozen pieces are about transgendered youth. While many of the stories recall memories of isolation, others delve into a young person's awareness and involvement in a queer community. As a whole, the collection is comprehensive, complex, and the perfect title to put into the hands of teens who approach the information desk asking for real stories about coming out and coming to terms with anything remotely GLBTQ.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
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*Starred Review* Gr. 8-11. The 40 contributions to this invaluable collection about personal identity have two things in common: all are nonfiction and all are by writers under the age of 23. Beyond that, diversity is the order of the day, and the result is a vivid demonstration of how extraordinarily broad the spectrum of sexual identity is among today's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. That said, some of the topics addressed in these essays and poems are familiar (the agony of coming out, the heartbreak of religious opprobrium). What is new and encouraging, however, is that so many young people have felt free enough to share the truth about themselves in print and under their own names; as coeditor Levithan notes in his introduction, "One way to effect change is to share truths. To tell our stories." Insightful, extraordinarily well written, and emotionally mature, the selections offer compelling, dramatic evidence that what is important is not what
we are but who
we are. Michael CartCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved