Lesbian storyteller Ivan E. Coyote’s first book for queer youth includes brand new stories and others culled from previous collections, inspired by the tragic increase in the number of teen suicides resulting from bullying. Funny, inspiring, and full of heart, these stories are about embracing and celebrating difference and feeling comfortable in one's own skin, no matter what the circumstance.
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In a funny and empathetic collection of more than 40 stories, some of which were published in Coyote's earlier books, the author looks back on her childhood in Canada's Yukon territory in the 1970s (when she was often mistaken for a boy), as well as more recent interactions (which can still involve being mistaken for a man). Adults are perhaps more likely to respond to the retrospective nature of these autobiographical essays, but teenagers confronting their sexuality, or who have otherwise felt like outsiders, will feel as though they've gained an ally in Coyote. The collection occasionally doubles back on itself Coyote offers advice to her younger self more than once, certain family stories are repeated yet even this is in keeping with the easygoing storyteller's tone; reading these stories is like sitting in the audience at one of Coyote's spoken-word performances. These tales of compassionate relatives ("Uncle Rob has never let the fact that I was declared female at birth get in the way of our male bonding"), finding love, and even the insecurities that stretch into adulthood should provide reassurance that there is indeed life after high school. Ages 14 up.