Young Adult – How Beautiful the Ordinary

This work of short stories purports to celebrate the beautiful in the ordinary lives of the LGBT inviduals that are at the center of each story. The idea that their lives can be ordinary, rather than being held up as freakish or unnatural, is a beautiful things.

Like all short story collections, some of the selections are stronger than others, some push different button than others do. There are stories that do, indeed, celebrate the ordinary moments of growing up and discovering first loves, while others verge on the more common story of strife and rejection when friends and family “find out”. The stories represent many aspects of the LGBT community: lesbians, gay boys, transgendered individuals.

While the first story in the collection is perhaps the most in tune with the book’s themes, I’m not sure that it is the best choice to lead off the collection. It’s tone is a little too serious, and seems to be speaking to adults as much as to teens. This is a tone that I think many of the stories share. Some are clearly written with teens in mind, but others take a more adult perspective, being told by adults in a narrative to the (presumably) young listener/reader. Even with this more mature and adult-like tone, however, most of the stories will be endorsed by the many young adults searching for their own sense of identity. This will be a welcome addition to the growing canon of young adult LGBT literature.

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