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Title: Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories
Author: Edited by Michael Earp & stories by 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 & Nevo Zisin
Genre: YA Anthology
Publication Date: June 1st, 2019
Pages: 283 (Paperback)
Publishers: Walker Books Australia and New Zealand
Rating: See below individual stories for ratings
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.
Rats by Marlee Jane Ward
This story wasn’t my favourite out of the book. It took me until about half way through the story to realise that this is set in either the future or an alternate Australia. There was some mention of robots and things, so that’s what gave it away eventually. My favourite part of this story was Maita! She was an interesting and fun character and I enjoyed her part of the story. The world & concept of the Rats was really interesting as well, once I figured out what was going on, and I would have liked to learn more about it but alas, the down fall of short stories, can’t be helped. The least interesting thing for me was the MC, whose name is I think Michelle. She was a bit flat for me and her attraction felt a bit forced.
In Case of Emergency, Break Glass by Erin Gough
I actually enjoyed this one a fair bit! It was kinda odd, a little confusing and super interesting. I won’t give a way anything as I feel like you need to just go in and be confused like the rest of us. But I enjoyed our MC, Amy, there was some conflicting emotions & thoughts going on which I think was done well. Then there was a super odd and fun twist which I enjoyed too. This is one that I 100% would have kept reading if there was more too it! It left on a bit of a cliffhanger, I guess you could call it, with Boz and I am curious!
Bitter Draught by Michael Earp
This one had a fantasy element, which I loved! Ya’ll know, Fantasy is my stomping ground! My negative thing with this one is that is 100% felt like the first chapter of a book rather than a short story. Maybe that was intention, I don’t know but it just felt incomplete to me & wasn’t well rounded at all. The MC, Simeon felt very one dimensional. There wasn’t much too him besides being a tad annoying. I did enjoy Wyll though, I found him interesting & I loved that he choose to live & do what he wants rather than settling because that is what others want. Wren I am super curious about. We got barely any time with them but they interested me from the start. Would like to know more about them & the background of the magically side of the world.
I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown
First off, love all the rep in this one! Two Queer Wheelchair bound disabled females? Hell yeah! I really liked Drew in this story and I definitely preferred her to Jem. She is a very out going, accepting, open & free person which I really enjoyed. Jem was very much the other end of the spectrum, she was anxious, quiet, questioned her every action and was not the most confident when it came to being a disabled or queer person. I did enjoy the rep but Jem did irritate me a little and thats why I didn’t like her as much as Drew. The other character we meet is Jem’s dad who I actually really liked. Even if he didn’t fully understand he tried to help in his own way and it was always super sweet. This was a very character based story, so basically no world building.
Sweet by Claire G Coleman
Wow, just wow. This is my favourite story so far! This is set in a future alternate Australia and the concept of this world was so interesting! We got enough background to understand what was going on and the importance of the big reveal. There wasn’t much plot as this stories’ focus is definitely the characters and this world and I loved that! It was so unique and I would 100% read a full story by this author set in this world! Super vague, I know but you just need to read & experience this one for yourself!
Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin
Okay, straight up, I don’t get this one. I’m guessing that the darkness mentioned in this story is meant to represent depression but besides that I have no idea what happened in the story, I don’t get it and I don’t really see the point behind. If you do understand it then that is awesome, but I have no idea.
Waiting by Jen Wilde
Argh this was soo good! Jen Wilde has become and auto buy author for me after this! I’ve read Queens of Geek and loved it and now reading this, I loved it too! I want this story as a full novel so bad! Josie is freaking awesome and I love her! Audrey is amazing too and so strong for realising the bullshit and removing her self from it in a badass way! Vanessa I hated from the first sentence & Sully is just a dick. Everything about this story is well done, well written and just amazing! And SOO much Pride!! I really need to get my hands on a copy of The Brightsiders (i think it is) by Jen Wilde! LOVE IT!
Laura Nyro at the Weeding by Christos Tsiolkas
I didn’t love or dislike this one. I enjoyed that it is was from the view point of a seasoned queer couple (I guess you could call it), rather than new romance & a developing romance, unlike the other stories & really most of the LGBT+ books I have read. I also liked the other themes the story features but I just felt a little underwhelmed by this one. It was good, just didn’t wow me.
And on an unrelated note, I don’t see why this is in a YA anthology when the characters are much older than typical YA. It said in one part that the MC’s partner was 10 when their family moved 25 years ago, so that makes him 35? So unless the MC is with a much older person, then I don’t really think this is YA. There was a couple short sections set in the past when the MC was a kid & teen, but for the most part, not really YA.
Each City by Ellen Van Neerven
This is another confusing & underwhelming one. I get the general idea of the story but the writing was very bland & also very choppy. It felt like a long story with pieces removed to make it shorter. It was just kinda meh and I didn’t really care for it at all & still don’t really see any point or plot to it really.
An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool by Omar Sakr
I really didn’t care for this writing of this one. Did we really need to know about you washing your hairy armpits or your Aunties Tits shaking?!?! Nope, not at all. Story would of gone just the same without knowing the finer details thanks. I didn’t even finish this one, the writing was just annoying me too much.
Stormlines by Alison Evans
This was a decent story. It wasn’t amazing but it was interesting & enjoyable. The world was very interesting and I enjoyed learning about it. There isn’t really a plot to this one, it’s more about the characters & the world. Which I didn’t hate. We were learning about the characters & world enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the plot. I would probably continue reading this is there was more to it, mainly as I’m curious.
Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law
I really enjoyed this one. It was short and didn’t really have a plot, nor a real focus on characters specifically. It was more just kinda in the head of this one character. It makes you think & question things that you mat see as just ‘normal’ & I really liked that about it.
Overall, there was good & bad in this book! I never go into anthologies expecting to love every story, it’s just not realistic. But overall, there were enough good stories to out way the average & bad ones. So I’m happy!
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