Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book 13 of '11 Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke

Taken from Zest Books' Site:

"Written especially for LGBT teens, Queer takes you on an awesome and enlightening journey through the sometimes scary, sometimes silly, and always fabulous world that is queer life.

Queer includes advice on:
• coming out to friends and family
• navigating your social and dating life
• dealing with queerphobia
• standing up for your rights
• learning about safe sex
• and more!

Queer also includes personal stories from the authors, as well as facts about landmark events in queer history. Sassy, engaging, and honest, Queer is a must-have for all teens who think they might be queer—or know someone who is."

I received a review copy from Zest Books.

QUEER was such a thorough guide to the LGBT world that I found myself really impressed. And I'm a girl who is regularly immersed in LGBTQ culture. The book was organized in fun, concise parts about everything from how to find your queer posse to how to find a gal/guy you want to date. It even covered every remote parental scenario I can think of in the coming out section, which is an unheard of feat. I found the comic segments to be really enjoyable. Kathy and Marke's mini stories surrounding the current sub-topic made the book more fun. I loved how they addressed creating a positive queer community around you and how to break up with someone and handle being dumped smoothly - which is something I don't usually see in ANY book for teens . They did a great job of not isolating the trans community in this book as well.

A lot of times with YA non-fiction written by adults, the tone feels too preachy and lacks the realism to help teens handle real situations. QUEER - while very conscious of its responsibility to give teens healthy advice - is realistic in its approach with sex and coming out. That's something so rare in the YA non-fiction shelves at my library that it's worth mentioning.

My only complaints would be how Belge and Bieschke constantly seemed to be using gay and lesbian stereotypes as points of reference with the LGBT community. I suppose this is helpful for questioning teens with little access or understanding of/to the queer world, but I found it insulting after one too many times of stereotyping. While LGBT cliches might be rooted in one reality, it is not how all gay and trans people act, and I wish more of an emphasis was put on that.

I also wish that the topic of labeling had been discussed more. Belge and Bieschke do a good job on introducing new labels like genderqueer and asexual into the "queer" mix, but I wish there had been a couple of words near the beginning about how the label you put on your sexuality can adapt and evolve and how that is totally okay. Labels seem to be a big issue in the queer community, and I felt like that topic wasn't addressed as much as I would have liked.

Beyond that, QUEER is the best guide to teen sexuality I've read in ages. Zest Books is one of those publishers where every book is exceptionally well made, with not only just great content, but wonderful design and paper quality. It's one of those books I'm proud to own. And if I come across any teens who are in a questioning crisis, it'll be the first book I recommend. With thorough, comprehensive content and a fun to read design, how can you go wrong? 4 and a half flowers.

1 comment:

  1. Queer's on my wishlist. I hope to get it read soon.

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