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The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves
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The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,517 ratings  ·  196 reviews
If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?

That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until he shows up at your book sig
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  1,517 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I inhaled the first one hundred pages of this volume in one sitting, and then I was trying figure out why that was. Moreover, I was trying to figure out why I was enjoying this book so much more than It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which I anticipated loving... and then didn't.

After another hundred pages of The Letter Q, I figured it out: I liked the specificity. The authors, actors, artists, and other creatives in this volume are addressing th
Jude Watson
Apr 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Didn't finish, such a mixed bag. The letters by authors and artists I love were predictably fabulous (Erika Moen, Michael Cunningham), and it was sweet to read their reflections about their younger selves, but really I think this book is marketing itself falsely. I got two thirds through without a singe letter by a trans person, at which point I gave up. If you can't even be bothered to tokenize one trans author by putting them in the first half of the book, then you really are not trying at all ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gay & lesbian teens
Shelves: non-fiction, queer-af
actual rating: 2.5 stars.

I really wanted to rate this higher.

On the one hand, I love the concept: a bunch of adult queer writers and the advice they'd give younger versions of themselves. It's a beautiful concept, and one that I think could really help today's teens. That being said, this book is marketed as a queer / LGBT+ book, when it's 85% L/G with a splash of B for color.

Assuming I didn't miss something super subtle, none of the 65 essays are written by trans authors. Not a single essay m
Jennifer Rayment
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Good Stuff

David Levithan's essay was so hilarious yet sweet and honest - will now be looking for some of his writing
A good mixture of humour, sadness and anger
The message of hope and forgiveness is so prevalent and beautifully and honestly done
Very powerful and inspiring
Brian Selznick's essay was extremely funny and tender
Martin Moran's essay is heartbreaking, so brave to have told his story - such strength of character and a very inspiring story to those LGBT youths with thoughts of su

The Letter Q is a series of letters written from several gay authors to their younger selves. Many of these letter are affirmations, positive declarations about who the younger person will become. This collection is edited by Sarah Moon.

Within the pages of this slim book the reader will find 64 of the most provocative, sad, enlightening, inspiring tales you may ever read. The tales vacillate from comic to tragic and all of the in-betweens. I found a little bit of wisdom to come out of ever sing
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, lgbtq
As a young queer person who has struggled with their mental health, this book literally felt like a breath of fresh air. I started crying a fourth of the way through the book because this book just made me feel so valid and so seen. It really makes me wonder about my future and what thats going to be like. I dont know, I just really enjoyed this book.
An okay read as long as you don't expect to find a single entry by a transgender person. ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book a mixed bag, but that’s a good thing. The letters are usually short, 3-4 pages of the small format hardcover, and some of them were absolutely heartbreaking and so relatable for me. Others were “meh.” And there are A LOT of them, so near the end of the book I got tired and started skimming. I kept it fresh by usually only reading a few a day.
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful collection of stories written by adults to their younger selves. It is basically 64 people saying to young people to hang in there because life really does get better with every life experience you have.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wish there were letters from trans folks in this. So, that was disappointing.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Prepare to laugh and cry and relate way to hard to every word and finish in an afternoon.
Tomiko Robson
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m going to give this one a 4 because it seems wrong not to (but I had to double check my own rating system...this is really more like a 3.5). There were some gems in here; there were other bits that just didn’t speak to me. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile read. For me, it is probably serves more as a source to mine for some great bits to pass on in my classes than something for my own pleasure and growth.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a collection of letters, notes, and comic strips from sixty-four award-winning writers and illustrators such as Michael Cunningham, Terrence McNally, Amy Bloom, Armistead Maupin, David Leavitt, Christopher Rice, and Susan Stinson. Each of these “letters” are messages the authors have written to their younger selves to ease the bumpy road of growing up an lgbt youth, all in the tone of “It Gets Better.” They give bracingly honest reasons for young people to tough it out, and hold out for ...more
C.E. G
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Perhaps it would have been a better experience if I hadn't wolfed down the book in two or three sittings, because at times the stories started feeling redundant. But all the pieces were heartfelt, many were beautifully written, and there are diverse voices in here, though a little more diversity is always a desirable improvement.

The comics were great, especially the ones by Lucy Knisley and Michael DiMotta. And I loved Diane DiMassa's piece for its grit and refusal to sugar coat adul
Jordan Ziemba
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this eye-opening non-fiction book, The Letter Q. The editor Sarah Moon found and asked sixty-four gay, lesbian, and bisexual writers, illustrators and publishers to write letters to their younger selves. This is a collection of letter and comics, giving themselves advice on what they could have done better to make their lives a little brighter growing up as LGBT. Making reference to the painful times such as bulling, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. These letters can be a very powerful and ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A friend let me borrow this book. I had to take breaks from it. It's heartbreaking and hopeful. Too real. I identified with so much in each letter. We have come a long way, but we still have e a long way to go. ...more
Yael Hanadari-Levy
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I stayed up (not all night, but only because I read very quickly) reading this book.
Books don't make me cry, but this one brought me pretty close. In a good way.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely, lovely idea. Now I think I'm going to write to teenage me... ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Had some trouble deciding on four or five stars for my rating of this book. There are some precious gems in these pages. There are some powerful passages in these short and poignant samples of prose, with some lovely graphic pieces as well. But then they a few that for some reason, perhaps incorrectly, didn’t quite ring true. Some are so strong that I was almost in tears with wishing that I could have gotten a letter from my older self at those moments when it felt like i just wanted my own hear ...more
Rebecca Kiefer
I felt like I was in an in-between stage with this totally missed me. I knew I wouldn’t be the target audience, as I’m no longer (thank god) a teen, but it was hard to relate to the letter writers either, as it seemed the youngest were still a decade older, and many were closer to my parents in age. I’m not sure how helpful I would’ve found this as a teen - of course it’s easier to judge how your life improves when you’ve gotten to live the majority of it!

I was sad, but not surprised, to not fi
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really cute and hopeful book, like a big hug when you need it.
Christa Seeley
Originally posted at Hooked on Books

How do I even begin to write a review of this collection? No matter what I write it won't be enough to express the impact this The Letter Q had on me.

Every single letter in this collection was incredibly thoughtful, moving and most of all brave. These authors really put themselves out there. All their fears, struggles, confession - they didn't hold back. And I have a huge amount of respect for them. It couldn't have been easy for Julie Anne Peters to admit tha
Lexi Nylander
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autos, lgbt-lit
Another one I've had checked out for like, actual months. I liked it well enough. There's always something to be said for tugging on your heart strings with letters to your past self, but a lot of them were a lot more poignant due to the queer aspect than I've found other versions of this same theme. A lot of yearning.

My favorites were Gregory Maguire, Sarah Moon, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, and Nick Burd's.

"Once is enough and once is sometimes necessary."

"I understand. I'll be here when you get here.
Lelia Taylor
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: full-reviews
The Letter Q:
Queer Writers’ Notes To Their Younger Selves
Sarah Moon, editor
James Lecesne, contributing editor
Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2012
ISBN 978-0-545-39932-6
Hardcover (ARC)

The title of this remarkable anthology says it all—a multitude of LGBT authors, more than sixty of them, have come together to tell themselves as young adults what they wish they had known back then. In doing so, they also are reaching out to today’s youth who are struggling with their sexual identities, letting them kno
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful idea for a book! Sixty-four authors and illustrators write letters to their younger selves, offering advice and inspiration. In a sort of "If I'd known then what I know now" fashion, the short entries offer insight into their lives as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered individuals. All are reminders that it does get better if you can just hold on. After all, high school is not life, and there is hope for everyone. Because the letters come from so many different creative spi ...more
Jacob Wade
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you could tell your younger self anything, absolutely anything, what would you say. Well that’s what The Letter Q edited by Sarah Moon showcased, but the special thing about this book was that fact that it was comprised of all queer writers(LGBT). I was attracted to this book because I was extremely interested in what someone would tell themselves and then use their advice to apply to myself in order to enhance my life.

As a whole, this book had everything from the boy who dreamed of having a
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Letter Q is a poignant collection of countless letters from several LGBT authors to their younger selves holding hope, wisdom and hindsight. The book is beautifully bound, its pages smooth and able to withstand time and tears. The short letters invite the reader into the heads and personal lives of not the children these authors were but also the adults they have become. While many of the letters entreat their younger selves not to give in, not to give up and not to capitulate to what societ ...more
Simone Cox
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book really made me think of what I would write to my younger self, I would tell her

Dear Simone

life doesn't begin and end on the council estate in Watford. you will end up having a job that you really love and you'll have the confidence to pursue it, that you will find people who "get" you, and you'll stay in touch with the ones who did in the UK thanks to a wonderful site called Facebook. You will find love and the other times where you were cheated on, lied to and emotionally abused wi
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
A nice bedtime read. A few letters were beautiful and moving. Others were forgettable and fluffy.

The collection’s specificity was definitely it’s strength; it was great to see older queer writers writing to their younger selves about loneliness, self-harm, crushes, bodies, first kisses, heartbreak, rather than penning a generic “you’ll get through this” message. Another Goodreads reviewer made this point elsewhere, and with more elaboration.

Some outdated terminology. Very cis and white. The las
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia-ya, lgbtqia
Many of the letters to the authors' teen selves in The Letter Q knotted up my stomach and / or brought tears to my eyes. They write with an honesty that is at times poignant, and at other times, are funny and heartwarming. Although it's directed toward LGBT teens, I think readers of all ages and sexual orientations will enjoy this book, and of course, buying this book is sure to save lives. Why? Well, part of the profits will go toward the Trevor Project, the leading, national nonprofit organiza ...more
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Bookbent: July/August/September 2012 - The Letter Q 4 12 Aug 27, 2012 03:52PM  
BLOG: Have You Heard of The Letter Q? 1 10 May 06, 2012 12:52PM  

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Sarah Moon is a teacher, writer, and translator. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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“Once is sometimes enough and once is sometimes necessary.” 9 likes
“One day many years later you will ask her if she wishes you were straight. She will hesitate, then say,"I love you just the way you are." You will never forget that.” 4 likes
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