Sycamore, Mattilda Bernstein. Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform. Oakland: AK Press, 2012.
This powerful anthology explores masculinity vis a vis queerness, ethnicity, and gender identity. Sycamore and contributors interrogate the notion of “straight-acting gays” and the pressure to conform to a “sanitized, straight-friendly version of gay identity” (p. 1). For Sycamore fans, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? really dovetails nicely with That’s Revolting! in terms of the exploration of straight conformity. Essays from diverse voices include perspectives from trans people, people of color, indigenous folks, immigrants, sex workers, HIV-positive folks, and a variety of class identities and gender presentations. Continue reading
Hurley, Kameron. The Stars are Legion. New York: Saga Press, 2017.
Zan wakes up with no memory of her history or identity. She is being held by the Katazyrna matriarchy and trained to breach Mokshi, the only remaining world-ship healthy enough to sustain life. Meanwhile, her sometime-lover Jayd is traded to the Bhavaja matriarchy in a diplomatic marriage intended to stop a generations-long war. The two women’s stories intertwine as both desperately struggle to stay alive, negotiate loyalties and betrayals, and gain control of Mokshi. Continue reading
Hill-Meyer, Tobi (Editor). Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic. New York: Instar Books, 2017.
This collection of short stories is a rarity: erotica by trans people, about trans people, for trans people. So often, trans bodies are commodified and fetishized by cisgender people; both in pornography and socio-legally. Nerve Endings proudly presents 30 unique trans narratives that run the gamut of sexualities, genders, romantic/sexual behaviors, and literary genres. Continue reading
Silverberg, Cory (Author) and Fiona Smyth (Illustrator). What Makes a Baby. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012.
With the tagline “A book for every kind of family and every kind of kid,” What Makes a Baby is indeed the most inclusive children’s book about reproduction that I’ve ever read. Intended to be read by grownups to children, this book provides an age-appropriate approach to basic details about reproduction and plenty of opportunities for personal sharing about a child’s own story. Continue reading
Trujillo, Carla. What Night Brings. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2003.
Every night, Marci Cruz prays to God and Baby Jesus to turn her into a boy, and every morning she checks to see if they granted her wish. She doesn’t actually feel like a boy, though:
It’s because I like girls. I don’t know how or when it happened. Maybe I was born this way, but the second I saw chiches, I wanted them. I couldn’t stop thinking of girls, during the day at school, at night in my dreams, and especially when I watched TV. Now I know you can’t be with a girl if you are a girl. So that’s why I have to change into a boy. (9)
Brown, Rachel Manija, and Sherwood Smith. Stranger. New York: Viking, 2014.
Stranger is genre-crossing, told from five separate points of view, and written in collaboration by two writers, but there’s nothing rambling or uneven about it. In fact, the excellent writing and fascinating plot kept me turning pages and holding my breath.
In a post apocalyptic world, a mutation caused curious changes in the ecosystem, giving squirrels telekinetic abilities and creating crystalline trees that kill people with their shards. Some humans changed, too. In the town of Las Anclas, the sheriff has superhuman strength and the doctor can alter time to heal patients faster. Continue reading
Hopkins, Ellen. The You I’ve Never Known. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017.
Ariel and her father have been on the move since her mother left when she was two years old, never staying long in one place. Now, at seventeen, they have finally settled in a town where Ariel can make friends and go to school. She’s flourishing with academics and sports and cautiously exploring first love with her best friend Monica. Continue reading