Hello Humans! Now, I know I’ve said this before, but it continues to be true – I will not read contemporary unless there is a very good reason for me to do so. I’m a fantasy girl at heart and if there isn’t the potential for magic and dragons then I feel like it’s not fair on the book for me to agree to review it. My strict policy on contemporary has actually meant that I’ve read pretty much exclusively amazing contemporary fiction, my two favourites being The Hate U Give and The Poet X. But when I had the opportunity to read and review Proud I leapt at the chance. This is a gorgeous anthology from a whole host of amazing authors all writing (and illustrating) on the theme of Pride.
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.
Disclaimer that obviously I do not belong to every single group represented in this anthology so, therefore, cannot speak to the representation from any kind of authoritative position. I urge you to seek out as many reviews as possible from a diverse number of reviewers if you’re looking to find out more information (and then follow those bloggers because they’re all amazing I guarantee). But I will also say that these authors are writing from their own perspective so the representation is coming from ownvoices, and everyone has their own story.
I loved this anthology. I read it while on the way to Scotland for a wedding (and a little on the way back too) when, after our flight was delayed for a third time, I realised I needed something a little lighter to read than the intense fantasy novel I had started. I thought a short story collection would be just what I needed and I was certainly right. For everyone out there needing something to bolster them in these current trying times, I think this book is just perfect. Each chapter, each story, each poem, each illustration is like a tiny reminder that there is good in the world (Mr Frodo – and it’s worth fighting for). But no, seriously, this book made me shed many a happy tear and just a couple of sad ones, but mostly it did what it set out to do – it left me feeling proud.
If you’re around on bookish internet you’ll doubtless have seen that Stripes are putting a lot of force behind this book, I don’t think I go a day without seeing it on my timeline somewhere. That concerned me at first because I didn’t want this to feel like one of those situations…you know the ones I mean…
LGBTQIA+ books are getting rather ‘trendy’ aren’t they? Gladys – go out and commission me one of those books so we can capitalise on this without really caring too much. We’ll paste it with rainbows and make ourselves a fortune.
Yeah, rainbow capitalism is balls. But this book was not like that, at least from my perspective. This book has heart, it has depth, it was a labour of love and that shines through from the first page right the way through to the last. It feels like something that is genuinely supported and believed in and I look forward to reading more books from Stripes that have these authors, these messages, this kind of inclusivity and wonder at their core.
I think my favourite story was one where the main character was learning to drive (I don’t have my copy with me so I can’t check which one it was please don’t judge me). That really hit home for me in part because I recently had a bit of a breakdown triggered by starting to learn to drive again so I felt a connection there. But there are so many wonderful works within this anthology honestly you should just read it.
Are you sufficiently persuaded? This book is wondrous. You should order a copy, and while you’re at it order one for everyone you know.
My rating: 5/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Proud publishes on March 7th!
What say you? Will you be following my advice and reading Proud? Let me know in the comments below!