Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories (ed by Michael Earp, Walker)
Among the boon of recent #LoveOzYA anthologies (Begin, End, Begin; Meet Me at the Intersection; Underdog), Kindred takes the unique position of being entirely devoted to stories by and about people from the LGBTQ communities. It features queer Australian icons new to the YA scene, such as Benjamin Law and Christos Tsiolkas, alongside queer YA favourites such as Alison Evans and Marlee Jane Ward. Jax Jacki Brown’s bittersweet contemporary piece shares the challenges of unrequited love alongside the joys of finding a community of disability pride. Claire G Coleman delivers a dystopian future with a non-binary society and heart-punching gender feels. Omar Sakr brings both horror and humour to a fantastical exploration of how monstrous you can feel when your desire sits outside heteronormative expectations of family and faith. Kindred particularly excels at straddling the dichotomy of hardship versus hope that so often governs queer narratives. While many of the stories will suit readers aged 13 and up, the collection is best aimed at those over the age of 15, and a content warning may be advised for Tsiolkas’ piece, which, in the context of the #MeToo movement, seems controversial—it explores the issue of statutory rape in an apologetic manner. Overall, the collection is warm and heartfelt, highlighting the strength of friends, found family and community spaces.
Jordi Kerr is a freelance reviewer and youth literature advocate, and a support worker for queer young people
Correction: the version of this review that appears in issue 1 of B+P‘s print magazine incorrectly states that Kindred includes stories by and about people from the ‘LGBTQIA+’ communities. This version has been updated with the correct terminology, as the reviewer intended. Books+Publishing takes full responsibility for this error and apologises for any misunderstanding this has caused.