A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.
A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.
Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.
Following A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, winner of the YA BOOK PRIZE SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2018
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review but this did not affect my opinion at all.
This was such an uplifting and inspirational anthology that is really required in this day and age. When reviewing anthologies, I always find it easier to split the review up and review each short story anthology separately so that’s what I’m going to do here as well.
Dive Bar by Caroline Bird
I will admit now that poetry is not something that I’m into. I always struggle to get into poems. I found this one interesting overall, but it did take me a few reads to fully grasp it but that might be because of me and my inability to understand poetry. – 3 stars.
Penguins by Simon James Green
I loved this story! Simon James Green has such a fun writing style that I’ve loved since I read his books last year and I knew going into this anthology that his story would be one of my favourite anthologies. I also loved Alice Oseman’s art for this story because I love her art style and the romance in this story reminded me so much of her web-comic, Heartstopper so it worked perfectly. – 5 stars.
On the Run by Kay Staples
I also thought this story was super cute. I loved Dean as a character in particular and I loved the focus on certainities and uncertainities and the lottery aspect. – 5 stars.
The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So
I found this one intriguing and cute as well. I appreciated the Phoenix analogy and thought the world was super interesting. I think I’ve found that I do prefer short stories that are contemporary because I struggle to get into new fantasy worlds, or even magical realism, in such a short story. I would want to see this story as a full blown novel, especially since it reminded me so much of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. – 4 stars.
As the Philadelphia Queer Youth Chor Sings Katy Perry’s Firework by David Levithan
I loved the focus on music in this story as I found it incredibly relatable, especially since for once, the music references were for songs that I actually knew. The only thing I wasn’t sure of in this story was the writing style because it wasn’t to my particular taste. – 4 stars
Almost Certain by Tanya Byrne
I absolutely adored this story. So much happened in such a short story which I thought was so refreshing. It dealt with some especially hard topics as well (other than LGBTQIA+) which I wasn’t expecting. I especially loved the anxiety representation in this story. – 5 stars
The Other Team by Michael Lee Richardson
I found this story really interesting, but I’m not a huge sports fan. It was still a fun story but it didn’t impact me in the way that some of the other stories did. – 3 stars.
I Hate Darcy Pemberley by Karen Lawler
It’s time for me to admit that I have not read or seen Pride and Prejudice. I am aware of the story and I have seen Bride and Prejudice (an English adaptation with a Bollywood twist that’s on Netflix and I love it) so I knew the basic premise we were dealing with here. I absolutely loved it so much. I wish this had been a full novel rather than a short story though because I think if I wasn’t already aware of the story, it wouldn’t work as much. – 4 stars.
The Courage of Dragons by Fox Benwell
This one was probably my least favourite in the anthology. I was just confused. Maybe it’s because I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons in my life and I have no idea how it works but this one left me slightly unsatisfied. – 3 stars.
The Instructor by Jess Vallance
I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me so much of my traumatic time learning to drive and I appreciated reading about someone being as awful at driving as I was. I also liked that it showed how close you can become to your driving instructor. On top of that, it had an adorable romance. – 5 stars.
Love Poems to the City by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I loved this story. I really enjoyed the more political focus that this had because not many of the other stories had focused on that. I love reading about politics (in books, not in real life because yikes, what a mess) so I found this story to be incredibly engaging. – 5 stars.
How To Come Out As Gay by Dean Atta
I can see this poem being everyone’s favourite in the anthology and for good reason. This was a short yet so incredibly inspirational poem that will help so many young LGBTQIA+ people out there. – 5 stars.
It may seem like I repeated myself a lot in this review but that’s because all of these stories were so good! I hope everyone picks up this book when it releases on the 7th March because it’s going to change the world.