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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  906 ratings  ·  86 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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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  906 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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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
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 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
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
3 ⭐

I can’t finish a book that calls itself The FULL Spectrum, yet mostly centers on the L, G and T sides of LGBT+.

I stopped at 62%, because every story in there is a lesbian, gay or transgender one. Where are the queer (I read only 1), bisexual (2, one if which made bisexual sound like undecided), pansexual, asexual, genderfluid stories? I can’t believe that a book that had 2 editions could not include the entire spectrum (or at least more than the usual orientations and identities we see everyw
May 08, 2012 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.
Jessye Leger
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I only give this book three stars. I'm not a big fan of short story books. it was interesting to read some of these peoples experiences but I found that for a book called full spectrum it lacked some stories from the other parts of the spectrum. these stories were mostly about gay, lesbian and trans. not many bi, pan, ace and so on. I'm glad to say I read it but I don't think I will read it again.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Kate LaChapelle
Aug 11, 2012 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
Jul 12, 2012 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
Colin H
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It wasn't my favorite LGBTQ+ book that I've read, but nonetheless the subject matter and how it was executed overall made it a really good book. I still think a lot of the stories in the book are still relevant even eleven years after its initial release. The writing was good, although there were some stories that were hard to get through. I found myself relating to quite a few of the stories as a young queer and trans person, and if I couldn't relate to them I knew someone who could. For instan ...more
Rue Baldry
This is an interesting collection of essays from early in the millennium, written by Americans who were then in their early twenties about their various experiences of being LGBTQIA+ (or GLBT as some of the contributors were still saying then).

Because it's an American collection, there is more emphasis on religion than there would be in a British equivalent, both the intolerance and homophobia/transphobia one might expect, but also the solace of the faiths of some of the writers.

If written today
Angélique (Angel)
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
Feb 24, 2014 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.
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, lgbt
Some stories were good, some great. Simple review. ;)
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first found this book because I had been reading a lot of David Levithan books, and the idea of a non-fiction telling of experiences, good, bad, and all shades in between, in the LGBTQ+ community seemed very interesting. The stories ranged from joyous depictions of love and acceptance to heart breaking tales of how harsh and ignorant others can be when it comes to perception of others and their sexuality. It opened my eyes to many realities out in the world, and I felt, in a way, connected to ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, my-own
This was quite interesting! There were LGBTQ people (mostly young people) of all kinds telling their stories.

Some stories were really interesting and very well written, others a bit less so. Many of them were very hard to read (featuring homophobia, transphobia, self harm, suicidal thoughts, abuse,...), that's why it took me a while to get through this book.

I found some of the stories a bit problematic? I don't really want to go into details but hmpf.
I really wish there would have been more p
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm... gonna be honest and say this seemed better than it actually ended up being. The stories were mostly about gay men, then lesbians, then trans men, a few questioning people and then like one bi person and one trans woman. It would have been really neat to see a wider variety and maybe some other identities, honestly. The stories themselves were okay, though few stood out.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbtqia
Don't fully know how to review this because it's a collection of nonfiction stories, poems, etc. I will say I think the pieces selected for this were really great. Emotional roller coaster for sure because some of the stories don't have the happiest leaving off points. Some were hopeful and uplifting. Some were way too relatable. It's a good collection to let yourself get engrossed in.
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
This was an amazing book about the struggle of being part of the LGBTQ group in our society. I loved how every story was from a different person, a different way of writing, a different perspective. Every story is about some different impacts of being part of LGBTQ.
Anna Ledwin
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me forever to read this but!!! It was very interesting and educational and tbh I read it in like five sittings but bc they were all separate stories I could not read it for six months and keep going. Definitely recommend!
Sophie Blunt
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful collection of stories about the experience of LGBTQ+ youths and adults. I am from London and shocked to read so much about religion in the stories. I guess I shouldn't be but, in my little opinion, religion really is a bitch!
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really had a hard time getting into this book. It wasn't because the stories in the book weren't good I just wasn't into it enough to keep me interested. Sorry...I'm sure there are a lot of people who might like it.
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like a 3.5.
I was really hoping for some asexual representation since the title specifically states "and other identities", but who am I kidding, this was written in 2006. I loved most of the stories and poems, some were just really slow.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
mostly outdated so i was like :/ i didnt finish it rip :(
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I like just about everything I've read by David Levithan. However, he is the editor here, not the author. Like any anthology, some of these essays are very good and some are really not. The book looks at the fluidity of sexuality and gender. Each author shares their unique perspectives, and some of the writers are a lot more engaging than others.
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
Jul 04, 2008 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
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
Mills College Library
306.76608 F9652 2016
Apr 30, 2009 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
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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.