My rating: 5 of 5 stars
These fifteen stories were inspired by images from the Young Adult LGBT Books Group. In these pages you’ll find LGBTQ teenagers living their lives – experiencing first encounters and long relationships, coming out, staying closeted, questioning, loving, having adventures, dealing with family, with prejudice, with magic.
Rainbow Briefs was hands-down my favorite anthology read of 2013. The quality and variety of these shorts is amazing considering this book is free. I especially liked that this anthology was LGBTQ, with a nice mixture of lesbian, gay and trans stories to satisfy almost everyone.
Despite being YA, these stories don’t speak down to their audience. I could relate to a lot of what was written from my own teenage years and it’s rare I find that level of authenticity in any story. Kira Harp is certainly a master at speaking to a young adult audience and I would absolutely recommend this to any teenager struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. I also recommend it for adults as well – these stories transcend the label of YA and are something everyone can read and enjoy.
I would have rated almost all of the stories four or five stars, but Designing Sam was easily my favorite. I haven’t been moved to tears at a book for a long time, but this honest depiction of a trans teenager struggling with family and identity in a realistic manner really moved me. In a genre where sometimes we are so eager to get our HEA that we make families overwhelmingly accepting, it was good to see a parent in denial and a situation that wasn’t wrapped up neatly with a bow on top. It’s a stark reminder that we have a lot of work to do as a community to increase acceptance and awareness of LGBTQ issues.
I think you should go and download this book right now. I think you should spend a couple of hours pouring over these stories, reading even the ones that fall outside of your typical reading diet. Then pass it on to a young person you know who needs to understand that they are not alone in the world. These positive yet realistic stories could literally change a life.