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review 2018-03-01 00:44
All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages
All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages - Saundra Mitchell

I've never been a big fan of short stories, so a collection has to be really special in order to entice me to pick it up. I'm also not usually terribly fond of historical fiction. What I *am* a big fan of is excellent queer representation in my books, especially those written for teens. When I saw Anna-Marie McLemore was in this collection that tipped the scales for me, and I dove in. I'm so very glad I did. Not only did I discover some new authors I'm interested in reading, but this book made my heart very happy.


While most of the stories are straight up historical fiction, some range into magical realism and pure fantasy. Each of them takes on a different time period and flavor, and explores a different teen experience. I was happy to see many different facets of the queer community represented - while most of the stories have gay and lesbian characters there are also trans characters, bisexuals, and an asexual. Including a wider spectrum of inclusion made this collection extra special to me.


All of the stories are fairly short, and the writing was good throughout (and occasionally exceptional). Anthologies are always going to be a little lopsided (you're going to like some pieces more than others), but this one had far more gems than not. There was really only one story I didn't care for, and the rest I either loved or liked, which is pretty impressive given there are seventeen. My favorites were:
Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Burnt Umber by Mackenzi Lee
Every Shade of Red by Elliot Wake
Three Witches by Tessa Gratton
The Inferno and the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson
Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia


There was a lot in here to love, and I can't wait to recommend this book far and wide. I wish this collection had existed when I was younger - I am ever so thankful it exists now.


Gratitude to Harper Collins for providing me with a review copy.

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text 2015-06-19 14:27
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
Mistwalker - Saundra Mitchell

the slow pacing is just not working for me at the moment *puts back on TBR pile*

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review 2014-06-30 11:01
L'estate dei fantasmi
L'estate dei fantasmi - Saundra Mitchell,E. Reggiani

L'estate dei fantasmi è un racconto per ragazzi ambientato a Ondine in Luisiana. Iris e Colette sono due teenager che si divertono ad immaginare di essere streghe o cavalieri. Un giorno, giocando ad evocare gli spiriti in un cimitero, Iris vede il fantasma di un ragazzo che le chiede "cosa fai iris?". Inizialmente Colette non sembra credere alla bizzarra visione dell'amica, dopotutto il loro era solo un gioco...ma successivamente si dovrà ricredere. Da allora Iris e Colette con l'aiuto di Ben, il ragazzo di Colette cercheranno di svelare il mistero che circonda Ondine, dove anni prima vi fù la misteriosa scomparsa di Eliah, il cui fantasma incontrato da Iris, inizierà a tormentarla, buttandole all'aria la stanza e diventando progressivamente sempre più aggressivo.

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review 2014-06-29 21:03
Mistwalker - Saundra Mitchell

On the cover it says: Creepy, romantic and oozing with atmosphere...

Not quite. More than creepy, this is the heartbreaking story of a girl, and of her family, trying to deal with the aftershock of the death of one of it's members: their son, and Willa's brother.


No, this doesn't have a romantic bone in it. We all know that romance sells, especially YA romantic stories, but this story, isn't more of the same, so do not expect romance in it.


Yes, amazingly so. Beautifully done, this is one of those books in which you can almost feel the elements pressing down on you. In these case, the mist and the fog.

Biggest compliment about this story?

The fact that it is completely different of the usual YA trope: the characters, their motivations, their objectives in life, are completely different of what we're used to. And I guess in this factor lies its biggest asset and weakness, all at the same time, depending on whom is reading it.

I am not even sure which tags to use towards this story... this is not a fantasy book, it has some paranormals elements, but this is a story mostly rooted on earthly elements. In this case, the sea.

To label this a contemporary, it would be just too misdirected... so, I guess I am going to go with magical realism story. And maybe I've got it all wrong, but I can't help feeling that this wasn't directed at it's appropriate audience. I think that fans of author Sarah Addison Allen would love this story.

The story is one of coming of age, at a time when everything seems to be set in stone, when we  know that it only takes one thing, to make it all fall apart...

This is what has happened in Willa's life. Her brother died, and she's been drowning in guilt ever since.

She thought that she had her life all figured out: she was going to take care of the family business, she was going to marry her long time boyfriend, but things and priorities change.

So when she finds herself all of a sudden, thinking about the abandoned lighthouse a couple of miles of her island, reality and the unexpected, suddenly collide.

In the lighthouse, Willa will meet the Grey Man, not an ancient being of power and elemental power, but a boy who like her, also found himself attracted to that island, and to the girl that at time lived there...

For a hundred years, Grey has been "living" under a curse. Just like a prince in a fairytale, the lighthouse is his castle, and he can have everything he wants... except being truly alive, and abandoning the island.

When Willa starts taking notice of the cursed island, and of Grey himself, he believes that the time has come to shed his burden, and that Willa will be the new lighthouse keeper, allowing him to get back to a body of flesh and bone.

But what would prompt a young girl to leave everything behind and sacrifice her life in order to take her place as the Grey Lady of the lighthouse?

Let me tell you this: Just when I thought that I was seeing where this was going, the author pulled the rug under my feet!

I loved it! :)

Bottom line: I completely fell for the storyline, but this had some uneven path...

I love beautiful language, and this has it in spades... but, the pace of it, at time drags somewhat, which may cause some irritation (side effects, and stuff, lol) on other readers. Especially if they were expecting a story written more in the fantastical side of things.

But in the end, I loved the fact that this wasn't a story about a girl who fell for a boy, and how her life got transformed because of it *eye roll*. I loved that the parents weren't missing in action, but instead were a vital part of this.

I loved the fluidity of the end, and the message it carried.

Oh, and this is a stand alone! Amazing in our "time and age"! ;)


Buy "Mistwalker"


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text 2014-06-28 17:05
Reading progress update: I've read 289 out of 305 pages.
Mistwalker - Saundra Mitchell

This story keeps surprising me :)


A falling-down deathtrap? That was what the lighthouse decided I wanted? I wondered if there was a union I could talk to. A Monster and Faery Local 223, where I could complain
about the condition of my haunt.

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