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The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Question

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  770 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Teens are more aware of sexuality and identity than ever, and they’re looking for answers and insights, as well as a community of others. In order to help create that community, YA authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell have collected original poems, essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. The Full Spectrum includes a variety of writers—gay, les ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Ember
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I am in the expanded edition of this book, friends! The time has come: my first five-star Goodreads rating based only on my bias for my own writing.

I kid. This book deserves five stars for many reasons. It captures a wide range of young identities and intersections, in particular with the addition of seven new narratives in the expanded edition. Part of its proceeds go to support GLSEN, a fabulous organization doing life-saving work. And it uplifts the voices of often marginalized sexual minorit
May 28, 2012 Trina rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing collection of short essays from the youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning about their experiences being who they are. The writing style is not always perfect, but each story flows and has a powerful message. The essays range from a girl embracing her transgender sibling, a bisexual woman trying to persuade her church to allow her to minister despite her church being against homosexuality, people who have been incredibly lucky to have amazing ...more
I read this book because it was banned in New Jersey - not far from where I grew up. A high school library was asked to remove this from the shelves. I just wanted to see what caused all the fuss. I believe that the book should not have been banned.

Yes, some of these issues have to be hard to deal with in high school. I am sorry for any one of any age who has to deal with the reality of glbqt in their life. This country is so fearful of the whole issue of sex.

However, we can't bury our heads in
May 17, 2012 Jes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, bought-in-2012
This book is extraordinary. I have never been one for short stories, but the way that these were put together, it had a wonderful flow. The Full Spectrum made my heart race, and sink, it made me want to cry, laugh, ache and yell. I don't know who couldn't learn something from this book, not just to do with LGBT issues, but also about life. The problems some of these individuals faced was heartbreaking but also inspirational. This is definitely a book every body should read.
Jun 30, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: gender-sexuality
Lovely collection. Some voices are represented more (and better) than others and the writing is not consistently of high quality, but I appreciate hearing the true stories of young people in their own words.
Oct 03, 2014 Terra rated it liked it
I wasn't sure how to rate a book with a lot of short stories, so I rated each story individually and then averaged it, coming out to like 3.04. So here are my ratings:

O.K. ***
Gay Grammar *****
It's Not Confidential, I've got Potential ***
Snow and Hot Asphalt **
When you're a Gay Boy in America ****
I Smelt the Gas of my Father's Fishing Boat ***
Fourth of July ****
My Diary: Documented. Done. *
Crying Wolfe ****
Trans-ventures of an F2M ****
Queer: Five Letters *****
Falling Off my Bike and Riding into t
Kate LaChapelle
Jan 09, 2013 Kate LaChapelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
The Full Spectrum was an interesting read for me for a variety of reasons. One, I'm not actually a huge fan of non-fiction unless it's stuff about writing or social psychology, like Malcolm Gladwell (who, ironically, wrote the book I started after this one), but this is an anthology of non-fiction works from GLBTQ persons and dealing with issues and learning about sexual and gender identities. You can see why it would interest me.

I suppose to some, my interest in gender and sexuality might seem
This beautiful collection really lives up to its title. The editors' dedication to showcasing more than one narrative of the queer experience is undeniable throughout this collection as is their dedication to sharing emotive, authentically written works. While there were so many aspects of this anthology which I loved, I was most impressed with the the willingness to include pieces that dealt with religion and queerness in more than just negative ways. As an affirming Christian, it was beautiful ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing
I hope it's not too terrible to say, but I didn't expect this level of talent in a work with young writers, but these are incredibly thoughtful and well-written. My favorite - or perhaps the one I related to most - was Jack Lienke's "Crying Wolfe."

And this quote: “I loved the idea of him. I loved the idea of a male best friend... I'd never had that sort of powerful bond with another boy, never felt that kind of asexual affection. I was a stranger to true male comradery, to uncomplicated loyalty
James Broadfoot
I don't really feel like I can rate it as a whole so here are my ratings on each of the essays. There was quite a lot of under-representation as far as some of the identities go. There was also a lot of outdated language and general bad language used in reference to identities. The average score was 3.95. So I'll round up to a 4.

O.K. by Courtney Gillette - 5

A Gay Grammar by Gabe Bloomfield - 4

It's Not Confidential, I've Got Potential by Eugenides Fico - 2.5

Snow and Hot Asphalt by Benjamin Zumst
Mar 25, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents and friends of LGBTQ and everyelse
Recommended to Elizabeth by: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
With The Full Spectrum, editors David Levithan and Billy Merrill provide an open forum for GLBTQ teenagers and early twenty-somethings with an assortment of personal stories, essays, and poems. The works range in theme from self-acceptance and first-time experiences to the coming-out process and future obstacles, both personally and politically. The collection is refreshing, harrowing, glib and thought-provoking, a catalogue of first-person accounts told in a variety of formats including email e ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Julia rated it really liked it
A collection of 40 essays about the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens and young adults. Each of these essays is heartbreaking in its own special way. The topics covered include family acceptance to abuse along with the typical dramatics of the teenage years magnified by a knowledge of being different. The editors clearly made a point of selecting a variety of perspectives and a variety of ages. One of the essays is written by a woman I knew in high school, and it was eye o ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

It was only a few weeks ago that I read AM I BLUE?: COMING OUT OF THE SILENCE edited by Marion Dane Bauer. That book is filled with fictional stories dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, and is a book I highly recommend. I was very happy to see THE FULL SPECTRUM, edited by the talented authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell, hit the shelves. THE FULL SPECTRUM is not fiction. It's filled with many, many stories--some long, some very sho
Jun 03, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
Some of these stories were a simple recitation of the author's coming out or realizing their identity. These ones were kind of "eh" and I mostly skimmed them. Others were absolutely beautiful, like the story of the trans woman in NYC who was living in her car and didn't want her homelessness to be mixed in with how others viewed her identity, so she didn't ask for help from her friends. So well told. I laughed out loud reading the story from the guy who equated proper grammar with being gay, and ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Rowan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in queer issues
Shelves: non-fic, lgbtq, politics
This non-fiction book is a collection of essays, poems, IM chats and true stories submitted by young people, ages about 16 to 23, detailing their experiences of growing up and coming out queer. There's plenty of what you'd expect in terms of parental anger, rejection by friends, and harassment by peers, but I was struck by the overwhelming optimism of many of the pieces. It is wonderful to know that there are numerous young people who have had a positive experience of growing up queer in America ...more
May 25, 2010 Lawral rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
The pieces in this anthology tackle a myriad of topics: coming out, religion, first love, unaccepting parents/peers, religion, supportive parents/peers, the Boy Scouts, the military, religion(!); in a variety of settings: high school, New Your City, college, junior high, Egypt. They are written by young people who fall under the umbrella term "queer," but identify as gay, bi, trans, lesbian, gender-variant, and more. Some of the pieces are positive and affirming, some speak of overcoming unbeara ...more
Opal M.
Jul 10, 2014 Opal M. rated it really liked it
This collection got four stars only because most of the writing was not particularly great. The representation was excellent (though I didn't see mention of aromantic or asexual identities? It's possible I missed one, though.) The tone of the stories is very optimistic, even though they're not always happy.

I found this book at the local public library, which is probably the best place for it to be--it's accessible to many people who could benefit from this kind of book.
Feb 24, 2014 Rae rated it it was amazing
This book actually feels relevant to the current state of the queer community, at least as I have experienced it. I really liked the range of voices and I cried over the story of one person who felt called to be ordained in the methodist church even though that was impossible at the time. Above all I think this book can inspire a lot of peace and courage in people who are struggling. It really helps to know we are not alone, and we can make it.
Nov 26, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
I read this book because I realized that I don't know much about personal stories of people coming out and living as LBGTQ's -- how do they feel as part of society? Family? Religion? Peers? And this was just the book for that, I guess. Some of the essays were pretty good, but others were just painful -- poorly written or overdramatic or underdramatic. Everything was written by people under the age of 24, and I found myself wishing that they had written essays when they were older, with the wisdo ...more
Jun 02, 2016 Enya rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, queer
So I thought these were stories by LGBT writers, but they're actually mostly of the memoir type, and often coming-out stories.
It's so weird to see the acronym GLBT :D I guess that's a relic of the past by now. I mean this book is 10 years old, and most of the stories are older.
So there were some real gems in there, but most were just 'meh' -due to writing style and ability, I suppose. I also felt like the diversity could've been better: granted, a lot of sexual and gender identities were repre
Rachel Teferet
Sep 05, 2016 Rachel Teferet rated it liked it
This book was just okay: some stories were actually quite good, but a lot of them were poorly written. One story was comprised mostly of a texted conversation, which I just could not read. Worth reading for the handful of stories that were well done though.
Chadek  Phinney
Jul 07, 2015 Chadek Phinney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
A wonderful collection of short stories from lgbtq youth. My favorite aspect was how its compiled in a way that you don't know if each voice is gay, transgender, etc so it keeps preconceived notions from forming in your mind about the authors
Okie Cavies
An interesting and inspiring collection of stories, essays, and poems from young adults who identify as LGBT.
Matthew Ulmen
May 25, 2015 Matthew Ulmen rated it it was amazing
quite an interesting collection of thoughts from all kinds of people
Ampia raccolta di testimonianze di adolescenza e giovinezza queer. Racconti, autobiografie, poesie e spaccati vari. Non eccezionale, moltio scritti ancora acerbi. variegata testimonianza di presa di coscienza di identita', orientamento sessuale e riti di passaggio. Nulla spicca per stile o pathos.
Sierra Annaliese
Nov 16, 2014 Sierra Annaliese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-loved
Super inspiring + informative.
Dec 23, 2013 Brenna rated it liked it
The poetry alone just won over my heart, if anything read this for the poetry.

So normally I don't like short stories but these passages of real life, of true tales that speak of hate and love and self worth and hope really take you into them. It's true that because these are written by different people it sometimes doesn't flow all too well and some of the writing isn't that great but the ones that are make up for it.

I honestly want to read another one of these but more focused on the poetry alo
3.25 stars
This is a collection of different nonfiction queer/LGBTQIA+ experiences in different formats, so obviously I enjoyed some more than others. In this case that means I really didn't like some and adored others. My 5 favorites in chronological order were:
1. A Gay Grammar
2. Queer: Five Letters
3. Don't Tell Me I'm Overly Sensitive and Paranoid
4. A Quietly Queer Revolution
5. body isn't this
A collection of essays and poetry by LGBTQ teens and young adults from a variety of backgrounds as they share their journeys of self-discovery and acceptance of themselves for who they are.

Like most essay collections, some chapters were better written or more engrossing than others. But they all shared similar qualities of coming across as truly heartfelt and personal.

Authors of note to readers interested in transgender experiences: Rasmussen, Forest, Duggan, Iris, Davis.
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David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

More about David Levithan...

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