After doing so much heavy reading, I sometimes like to read books like OMG Queer. Anthologies of short stories don’t take so much brain power, and they’re good for reading in short bursts. I also enjoy story collections because it can expose me to new many new concepts, styles of writing and authors in one place. It’s easier than reading the entire LoTR trilogy to see if you like Tolkien, you know? (Tangent: The Hobbit was an awesome book but a mediocre movie).
OMG Queer is different for me in several ways. It’s all about LGBTQ folks, but it’s also written by young adults. Because of this, the stories don’t always have the greatest composition or plot lines. There’s definitely some cliche writing and ideas in here, but it’s also awesome to see people, some who might be not so dissimilar from myself, trying their hand at writing. However, that doesn’t mean this book isn’t worth a look, especially for someone who might be experiencing conflicting feelings about homosexuality as a teenager or young adult.
Some stories especially stood out for me. In fact, the book starts out strong with a tale of two trans best friends by “Brenna Harvey.” The “Piano Player” is the second story, about a gay college boy who meets his first boyfriend, and it’s sweet. Julie R. Sanchez writes an interesting piece with some lovely imagery titled “Ignite the Sky.” Sanchez writes:
California smiles like the sun. She throws her head back, her blond hair windblown all around her. Her laugh is loud and clear and brilliant even over the steady hum of the engine..
I see Julie going places with her writing career. Sam Sommer’s story is the one that perhaps revolves around the youngest character, a boy who hasn’t yet entered middle school. Sommers attempts a risky portrayal of experimentation with both gay and Oedipus-like in nature. I think he pulls it off with grace. While many characters in OMG Queer discover themselves, this isn’t the truth for all. There’s heartbreak and betrayal. In one coming out story, a Muslim’s teen’s father reacts poorly to his son’s announcement. This collection of stories does a good job portraying different aspects of youth and LGBTQ issues. However, as with every anthology, some stories won’t hit the mark with some readers. I found a few entirely forgettable, only remembering them as I paged back through the book to write this review.
I was able to review a digital copy, and it may not be the exact copy you’ll find in stores. Each story begins on the same page, and the headings only use bold text that is annoying tOgGlE-cApPeD. I hate that. It makes the effort feel more DIY than it has to.
Sadly, the availability isn’t great. I couldn’t find it on Amazon, but Barnes and Noble does have it as a Nook book. The website hasn’t been updated since the call for submissions, either. I don’t know if this is intended to become a series, but I can see that working.