kermittuesday's review against another edition

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I loved it. Especially since all the stories were set in the past and some of them included magic, two sure fire ways to capture my interest.

margot95's review against another edition

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Most likely my last book for 2018, and if so it's a good way of ending my year of reading. I'll go a little deeper into each of the stories in this collection, because I started reviewing the first ones and then I had to see it through, but I'll start off with a general review.

The aim of this collection is to show that queer people (and specifically teens) have always existed, even if they're mostly absent from our history books and fictional media. For the most part, I loved the stories, I loved the variety in themes and characters and I'm glad this is something that exists now and that it's in the hands of such talented writers. My only criticism for the full anthology is that I would've liked to see more geographical diversity. Nearly all of the stories take place in America or Western Europe, which is a bit of a shame.

I gave stars to each of the stories in the anthology and ended up with an average of four stars. I'm not really in the habit of reading short story collections, but that feels like an indication of a pretty strong anthology.

As for the individual reviews:

Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore ★★★★★
A Mexican Little Red Riding Hood retelling about a girl with magic powers trying to get her trans lover out of prison. This was an amazing start to the anthology. Beautiful writing, an original concept and characters that feel fleshed out in just a few pages. One of the stories which I would’ve happily read a full book about.

The Sweet Trade by Natalie C. Parker ★★☆☆☆
18th century girls running away from their destiny on a boat. Cute, but I missed an emotional connection. Who are these characters? Parker doesn’t get much deeper than surface level.

And They Don’t Kiss At the End by Nilah Magruder ★★★★★
Asexual girl figuring out her feelings towards a boy at a roller-disco. Absolutely adorable. I thought this was one of the realest stories of the bunch, and the narrative voice is charming.

Burnt Umber by Mackenzi Lee ★★★★★
A 17th century painter apprentice has a crush on another guy, who then shows up as a model. Aside from Malinda Lo and Tess Sharpe, Mackenzie Lee is the only author I’d read something of before, and I loved this short story as much as I did her novel. She has a clear, distinctive style and manages to get her characters' personality across in only a short amount of time.

The Dresser & The Chambermaid by Robin Talley ★★★☆☆
Two maids at Kensington Palace meet and bond over serving a spoiled princess. Another one that was sweet and yet missed something. I’m all for normalizing queer relationships, but it required some serious suspension of disbelief to go along with how cool all of the characters are with homosexuality in 1726 England. I prefer my queer historical fiction with a bit more realism.

New Year by Malinda Lo ★★★★☆
Chinese-American girl meets a male impersonator in the 1950s. I loved this one. Likeable protagonist, and the only story lacking a romance which I really appreciated. I also liked the research that went into this one. It felt fresh and original.

Molly’s Lips by Dahlia Adler ★★★★☆
Two close friends mourn Kurt Cobain. I’m gonna nitpick a little here and argue that anything set after 1990 isn't exactly ‘historical’, but this was well-written and sweet so I’m alright with it in this case. The specific setting made for a fun angle.

The Coven by Kate Scelsa ★★☆☆☆
Two girls get involved in a coven… or something like that. Honestly, I’m not sure what was going on here. It felt a little like reading an excerpt from a sequel of a series that I’d never even heard of. Also Gertrude Stein is there?? I don’t even know.

Every Shade of Red by Elliot Wake ★★★★★
Trans Robin Hood dating Will Scarlet. That summary alone is brilliant to be honest. This was another entry for my ‘would have loved the full novel’, because there’s quite an elaborate plot to this one and some of it feels a little rushed, but the concept is amazing and I actually felt invested in the characters and story at the end. Great writing as well.

Willows by Scott Tracey ★★★★☆
18th century boy with magical powers is about to be sacrificed in a small town. More confusing sequel business, except here I think it worked in the story’s favor. Going by the reviews there doesn’t seem to be much love for this one, but I thought the writing was lovely and it’s all very atmospheric and mysterious. Would make a great movie.

The Girl with the Blue Lantern by Tess Sharpe ★★★★☆
Girl meets magical girl in the woods in this lovely fairy tale. It’s straightforward but I liked that. As expected from Tess Sharpe the writing is lovely as well.

The Secret Life of a Teenage Boy by Alex Sanchez ★★☆☆☆
This needed better pacing. Boy feels trapped in small town, boy meets other boy, boy wants to run away with other boy… it’s a good concept, except it all seems to happen in one hour? Sanchez had me rooting for the nagging mom, and that’s not a good sign. Probably my least favorite of the anthology.

Walking After Midnight by Kody Keplinger ★★★☆☆
Failed child star actress meets waitress in 1950s New York. This was good but not great. I mostly believed the connection except some of the characters’ actions felt a little off and I didn’t find the narrative voice very convincing. All of it felt a little dry, especially the MC. That being said, the themes were nice and I loved the ending.

The End of the World As We Know It by Sara Farizan ★★★★☆
Two ex-friends celebrate the turn of the millennium together. Okay, let’s be real here, is 1999 historical? It’s not even 20 years ago! That aside, Farizan really managed to evoke the time period and the characters were vibrant. One minor thing, the tenses were all over the place. Whether sloppy editing or a deliberate choice, it was sort of annoying.

Three Witches by Tessa Gratton ★★★★★
A girl sent to a convent for loving another girl forms a bond with the nun caring for her. The writing for this one was beautiful, and it’s the only story to really experiment with form, so kudos for that. One of the more serious stories due to subject matter, but strong and moving.

The Inferno & the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson ★★★★★
Magician’s apprentices falling in love--think The Prestige but gay. Solid concept, good execution. I would’ve enjoyed this one as a novel as well since the world building and the way the themes were woven into the story showed a lot of promise.

Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia ★★★★★
Magic girl tries to heal the girl she loves in 1930s New Mexico. There’s a lot of magic in this anthology. A wonderful story to round off the collection, with some beautiful writing and an emotional core that made it easy to root for the characters.

rawrsoobin's review against another edition

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i loved reading queer story after queer story like that was one of favorite things about this. i also loved how each story was different some had legit magic (real magic & word magic) my average rating was a 3.6 so i rounded it up to a 4 because this book deseves it. my favorite stories are marked with stars 🌟 and i definitely need to read some books by these authors like nowww

Roja by Anna-marie Mclemore 4/5
The sweet trade by Natalie C. Parker 4/5
They don't kiss at the end by Nilah Magruder 4/5
Burnt Umber by Mackenzie Lee 4/5
The Dressmaker & the Chambermaid by Robin Talley 4/5
New Year by Malinda Lo 4.5/5 🌟
Molly's Lips by Dahlia Adler 5/5 🌟
The Coven by Kate Scelsa 2/5
Every shade of red by Elliot Wake 3/5
Willows by Scott Tracey 2/5
The girl with the blue lantern by Tessa Sharpe 5/5 🌟
The secret life of a teenage boy by Alex Sanchez 2/5
Walking after midnight by Kody Keplinger 3/5
The end of the world as we know it by Sara Farizan 3.5/5
Three Witches by Tessa Gratton 2/5
Inferno & the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson 5/5 🌟
Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia 5/5 🌟

imk's review

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adventurous hopeful lighthearted relaxing fast-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes


carmeline's review against another edition

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An average rating of all the individual stories within this book.

lainy122's review against another edition

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A good collection! A diverse range of queer representation through a diverse range of historical time-frames. Some were a bit strange, some didn't seem to go anywhere, and some I really enjoyed.

Overall a good read.

joannamaybe's review

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adventurous hopeful inspiring fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


krisis86's review against another edition

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I wanted to love this book and to sing its praises from the rooftops forevermore.

That's the problem with short story anthologies. Some of the stories are THAT GOOD and some are just really terrible.

So I highly recommend this book, especially for queer teens. But there are some stories that are not my favorite. I really would have liked if this book had focused on realism, but several stories had supernatural elements that I wasn't expecting. It was a good read, but it's not one I'm going to buy.

Re-read September 2020: My review still stands

noahczerny's review against another edition

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I was put on this earth to be gay and to read this anthology

sydneys_shelf's review against another edition

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I had high hopes for this one that were not met. I went into All Out hoping for a fun collection of short stories representing a wide variety of queer identities and a wide range of history, and on that front, I was sorely disappointed.

The majority of these short stories are enjoyable and I love to see a collection that is focusing specifically on queer teens in history. I particularly enjoyed Walking After Midnight by Kody Keplinger and Every Shade of Red by Elliot Wake (based almost entirely on the fact that it is a Robin Hood retelling). But, as a collection, far too many of the stories take place after 1940 and/or take place in the US - I want more variety! I would have liked to see a story set in ancient history and far more set outside the western world.

There is also a surprising lack of queer diversity? I loved reading all these m/m and f/f stories but there wasn't a single story with an obviously bisexual character? It's great to see two stories with ace rep (and one more with an aroace side character) and two with trans men rep but I would have liked to see even more rep for some other queer identities! I also think it would have been beneficial to have an author's note after every short story explaining the inspiration behind it and the choice of that particular point in history. For the two stories that did have authors' notes, I think it really added to the reading experience to know a little more about the real people and events that inspired them.

Overall, not a bad collection but I really had higher hopes for a book that says 'Stories of queer teens throughout the ages' right on the cover.