I’m very excited to be a part of the Kindred: 12 Queer Stories #Loveozya blog tour!
I was incredibly excited to read this amazing line up of authors and collection of stories from the moment I saw it announced, and am very grateful to the AusYABloggers crew, Walker Books Australia and editor Michael Earp.
You can find the guide to the tour here, which has details of everyone involved, including some wonderful interviews and give aways!
What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.
Includes a foreword by anthology editor Michael Earp, resources for queer teens, contributor bios and information about the #LoveOzYA movement.
My favourite thing about this collection is that there will be something for everyone in here. I enjoyed all twelve stories, but here are a few words about some of my very favourites:
Sweet by Claire G. Coleman
In Coleman’s story, ‘gender’ is an outlawed concept. Roxy and their friends are going to meet Sweet, who has been missing for weeks. Sweet is very upset – they out themselves as gendered – they are female – and this means she needs to flee rather than put herself at risk of detention. Sweet is disgusted by herself and can’t picture her friends wanting anything more to do with her. There are rumours of places people can go and live beyond the non-gendered norm and Sweet’s friends won’t let her go alone.
I find Coleman’s writing cuts to the heart of an issue, and this piece is no exception. Both heart warming and heart breaking, this story makes me ache for those who struggle within the gender binary.
Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin (You can find a wonderful interview with the author on Jay’s blog)
The pain of being different and the feeling of having no control over how you are seen or interpreted by others pours out of this story. The main character seems completely overwhelmed by their own sense of monstrousness and darkness, fueled but a society’s inability to see personhood without also seeing and assigning a gender. There is so much pain in this story, I wanted to give the main character a huge hug. There is also hope, and love and understanding.
Waiting by Jen Wilde
This tale of folks finding each other while waiting in a line at a convention made me so happy. Audrey has organised to attend a convention with her ‘friend’ Vanessa. Vanessa is clearly there for her own reasons, and is uncomfortable with many things about Audrey, including her expression of her sexuality. Audrey strikes up a conversation with the people in front of her when Vanessa abandons her for her boyfriend, and Audrey learns that she is a valuable human being whose doesn’t need to put up with being treated like crap.
Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law
Not gonna lie, Benjamin Law’s sharp commentary and observations are one of the reasons I keep going back to Twitter. In this piece, Law looks at the expectations of family – in this instance his own, which lives across a number of countries. ‘Coming out’, Law says, ‘… can be a massive relief, but it usually also marks the start of having to answer questions from straight people for the rest of your life.’ Law relates his own coming out to his grandmother (which is wonderful) and gives some benevolent advice of how to deal with clueless straight relatives.
All in all Kindred is a 5 star read for me.
Ready to grab a copy? Here are some places to do that!