Out Now: Queer We Go Again by various authors
This is a collection of contemporary and fantasy short stories featuring queer teens, written by varied queer authors. It is very hard for me to review an anthology, and this one is especially hard since the stories were so varied in quality.
Queer, short stories, contemporary, fantasy
A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom, aliens run from the government, a president’s daughter comes into her own, a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer, a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops, skateboards and VW vans, Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!
Some of the stories were excellent, others mediocre. “Victory Lap" was especially good as it's mainly about a father and son relationship. The son wants to ask a boy to prom but is nervous about coming out to his father, but his dad turns about to be very supportive even though he struggles to understand the LGBTQ+ community. Easily the best of the stories.
The stories were mostly light and cute, full of sweet romances and coming-of-age. Many of them were underdeveloped and leave you feeling confused and unsatisfied. Part of this is the nature of short stories, but many could have been wrapped up and explained better.
"A Pound of Flesh" was confusing to me and also made strange points about police brutality. The author was going for a "both sides have a point" story but seemed to mainly take the side of the police. It's a Greek mythology story and Athena represents justice and reason, which is somehow the police, and Ares represents random violence and war, which is somehow the protestors. Very tone deaf and divorced from the reality of police.
These stories also have a diversity problem in terms of identities. The vast majority are about LGB people. There is one ace person that I remember, and a few trans people toward the end, but other than that just LGB relationships. This is disappointing, since a queer anthology should feature a diverse array of identities, especially now that people are more open about them.
There were highs and lows of this anthology, but overall I enjoyed it. It's a nice book to read if you're looking for lighter, happier fare that normalizes LGBTQ+ relationships.