In this honest, emotionally captivating short story collection, renowned author and National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters offers a stunning portrayal of young women as they navigate the hurdles of relationships and sexual identity. From the young lesbian taking her first steps toward coming out to the two strangers who lock eyes across a crowded train, from the transgender teen longing for a sense of self to the girl whose abusive father has turned her to stone, Peters is the master of creating characters whose own vulnerability resonates with readers and stays with them long after the last page is turned.
Peters's (Luna) short stories focus mostly on young lesbians but also take in teens struggling with other gender and sexuality issues. Their conflicts range from commonplace (Mariah tries to summon the nerve to attend a Gay/Straight Alliance meeting; Kat wonders if the cellist she likes at music camp returns her feelings) to extreme (Cammie, sexually abused by her father almost nightly, worries that she will never feel pleasure; transgendered Vince, n?e Eva, is assaulted by a group of guys after work). Regardless of the intensity of the characters' struggles, girls of any sexual orientation will feel quickly drawn into the lives glimpsed here, thanks to the authenticity of Peters's voices. However, many of the stories feel like the beginnings of intriguing novels rather than standalone works, and endings can seem arbitrary. On the other hand, teens searching for a fast read, especially in an underserved subject, will be gratified to find this collection, and the author's ability to bring such a diverse cast to life is impressive. Ages 15-up. (Sept.)
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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
August 31, 2007
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