There are times we all just need to forge onwards--or upwards. We can find that strength within ourselves, or people around us help. Sometimes, it’s both. In Queers Who Don’t Quit, queers across the spectrum hurdle the big, the small, and the unfathomable.
A cowboy and his boyfriend flee across the Martian desert with their stolen robot. Back on Earth, two aromantics bond over their shared love of pop culture. A trans woman finds herself between a rock and a hard place when someone from her past threatens to destroy her future. Space Boy remembers what it's like to be in love with another boy, and two women have more in common than they think as they fall in love while cosplaying their favourite TV show. Queer men frolic at a gay beach balanced on sands of time. A bisexual, a widow, and a murderer walk into a bar--just wait for it, there's a punchline. An enby down on their luck gets an offer from a goddess too good to refuse. In 1930s London, split ends are queerly healed. A queer college student seeks to rekindle a dying friendship during a trip to Paris. A trans teacher takes a stand against bigotry and finds love in the process. Love is found amongst giddiness, hard edges, and a darkly passionate theater. An ace vows to finally come out to her sister, and back in space, an arranged marriage connects two queer men. A woman discovers opening a queer bookshop isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Adrift with her infantry company in one war, a trans warrior must face the ghosts of another. And on their first day back at work, someone can be the person we wish we'd met as a kid.
Join us in these queer stories of hope, resilience, and perseverance.
Benson spent her childhood wrapped up in any book she could get her hands on and—as her mother likes to tell people at parties—even found a way to read in the shower. Moving on from writing bad poetry (thankfully) she started to write stories. About anything and everything. Tearing her from her laptop is a fairly difficult feat, though if you come bearing coffee you have a good chance. When not writing or reading, she´s got her butt firmly on a train or plane to see the big wide world. Originally from Australia, she currently lives in Spain, speaking terrible Spanish and going on as many trips to new places as she can, budget permitting. This means she mostly walks around the city she lives in.
I always find anthologies tough to review and this one is no exception. There were a number of stories I really enjoyed, and a few that were misses for me. The representation this collection of stories gives to the LGBTQIA+ community is amazing, variable and well thought out. The story lengths are vary variable - there are some great stories that were over way too soon. I struggled to get into the first half of the book and thought I was on my way to a three star review - but there are some hidden gems in the second half.
I appreciated the range of genres - especially as it forced me out of my comfort zone a few times and now has me considering some genres I would not normally have thought about reading. I particularly enjoyed Punchline by G Benson, First Day Back by A.P. Raymond and Some Things Are More Important by Addy Long. This Is What You Get by Evie Riojas, Werewolf Blues by Eve Morton, The Path To Truth by Aila Alvina Boyd and First Cute by Elna Holst also deserve a mention. I will definitely be exploring the work of all these authors further.
The wide range of representation, both of the community and the genres means there is something for everyone in this collection and I would definitely recommend giving this collection a read.
I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Received from Netgalley. A collection of short queer stories. Average 3.5. Some really good ones in there.
1. A government-sanctioned marriage by Cameron Van Sant. M/M trans. Arranged marriage in space. Confused guy with a pushy mother. 3 stars.
2. This is what you get by Evie Riojas. F/F trans. The past calls on a family vacation. Threats and secrets. 3 stars.
3. Actually by Tabitha O’Connell. M/F ace. Short little confession story to the sister. 3.5 stars.
4. First day back by A.P Raymond. No romance. Sweet heart to heart about gender. 3 stars.
5. Werewolf blues by Eve Morton. F/F trans. A single mother with a new employee. Cute story. 3.5 stars.
6. Crossroads by James Penha. M/M. Really short story about a married guy meeting some priests. 3 stars.
7. First cut by Elna Holst. Historical F/F. After hours hair appointment whilst the useless husband is away. Wouldn’t mind a sequel of this one. 4 stars.
8. Version of love by Ayelet Enisman. No romance. Aromatic ace finding friendship and inspiration. Cute story. 3 stars.
9. Punchline by G Benson. A woman on the run keeps meeting the same person. Feels like the longest story so far. Bit of suspense. 4 stars.
10. Help wanted by Ashton Laviolette. No romance. Skyler is looking for a job and meets a goddess. Fun story. 4 stars.
11. Under the valley of stars by Alexis Ames. Two guys, a bot and nanobots. Short story nicely wrapped up. 3 stars.
12. Space boy by Cal Benitex. 3 stars.
13. The path to truth by Aila Alvina Boyd. A trans teacher risks it all. Probably the most powerful and painful story out of the lot so far. 4 stars.
14. So she chose by Zoe Brook. Short F/F. Instant attraction for a stage performer. 3 stars.
15. Some things are more important by Addy Long. My favourite so far. After her homophobic boss goes too far Daisy arranges to open up her own book shop. Contains plenty of homophobia but a lot of support as well. Made me both rage and smile. 5 stars.
16. All that remains by Nyri Bakkalian. Military meets ghosts. A little creepy but interesting. 3 stars.
17. Travelling companions by Tabitha O’Connell. Aromatic and Asexual Kat invites a friend to visit Paris. Cue a fake friend, fake friend’s tag along and a real friend. From the start Maddie annoyed me. But some lessons need to be learnt. I hope she and Sean do a redo. 4 stars.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
If I may quote from one of my favourite stories from this collection: Queer as f*ck!
I got exactly what I came for: Queer own voices stories. The diversity in this one is incredible. There are white and non-white people, the only wish I'd have for another round were some disabled characters. But apart from that, so many queer identities get covered! Trans people, non binary, pan, bi, gay, I met my first fictional agender person in this! Ace and aro people!
Another huge plus is that we have both narratives evolving around the typical human rights problems queer people face, but we also have fun adventures in which the characters happen to be queer. We are more than our suffering. Good representation means all kinds of stories. Sure, I've never been in the position of being on Mars and having to flee pursuers on horseback in a desert, but sometimes it's exactly what I want to read about.
Some stories come with warnings, but not all. In the first story with warnings, I remember being very irritated because there was other stuff I'd have warned about, that I found even heavier than the issues that were mentioned beforehand.
You see this is a collection by a small publisher and that this is from queer people about queer people for queer people. I highly doubt this will monetary profitable, so please, if you're intrigued, go and check it out. Maybe spend some money. I promise you you'll get your money's worth.
I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
This is a lovely collection of short stories covering a wide range of genres, from sci-fi to romance to historical fiction. The different characters are wonderfully diverse and represent people from right across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, who are facing up to their struggles with a huge amount of hope. Highly recommended!
~ I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review ~
This was an empowering collection of stories featuring queer people who persevere, survive, and thrive in all manner of situations, large and small. By and large the collection is bittersweet, as many of the characters have to contend with various forms of queerphobia and violence, which is never going to be easy or wholly enjoyable reading. But ultimately, the feeling that suffuses these stories is hope. The strength of community and the loving support each character finds reminds us that we are not alone; we can share our struggles, our successes, and our failures with the wider queer community and find our own resolve to not quit, to keep going no matter what. This was probably one of the best queer collections I've every read in terms of range of identities present. I've often found that even when a collection claims to be about queer experiences generally, they focus on gay, lesbian, and bisexual romance. This collection truly runs the gamut of queer experiences and identities, and really didn't have a focus on romance at all, which was really refreshing to read. On a truly personal note, the last story, "Traveling Companions" had me feeling all kinds of things because Kat's experiences as an enby aroace hit so close to home for me. I'm definitely going to have to look up some of the authors who contributed to this collection because I'm very interested in reading more.
Short story collections are usually hit and miss for me ... and I’m going to be honest, the majority of these were mostly ‘misses.’ Due to content or writing style, I made a good faith effort to read the stories that didn’t interest me, but I have to admit, I didn’t finish some of them. Despite all that, I think queer stories written by queer people are very important, and it is good a collection like this exists. It just didn’t really do it for me, unfortunately.
This is a nice collection of stories that shows you all sorts of pairings in all walks of life. As with all anthologies, some you will like and some you will not. But there is something here for everyone and it's a great collection that gives voice to a large part of the LGBTQ+ community. I enjoyed reading this!
*** An ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review ***
I've given star ratings to each individual story and taken an average for the collection as a whole. For a reminder of what my star ratings mean, please see my review policy!
The cover of Queers Who Don't Quit, displayed on the screen of a digital reader. The cover image is a person in a raincoat with a black backpack, black jeans, and black converse running across a nearly empty road. There are high rise buildings on both sides of the road. Most of the image is in greyscale, but there is yellow where the sun is just rising or setting on the horizon between the buildings. The text at the bottom reads: "Queers Who Don't Quit", "A Collection of Queer Short Stories", "Edited by G Benson". The Queer Pack logo is in the top left corner (lowercase "qp" in a white circle, with five coloured squares coming out from the circle like an asterisk).The cover of Queers Who Don't Quit, displayed on the screen of a digital reader. The cover image is a person in a raincoat with a black backpack, black jeans, and black converse running across a nearly empty road. There are high rise buildings on both sides of the road. Most of the image is in greyscale, but there is yellow where the sun is just rising or setting on the horizon between the buildings. The text at the bottom reads: "Queers Who Don't Quit", "A Collection of Queer Short Stories", "Edited by G Benson". The Queer Pack logo is in the top left corner (lowercase "qp" in a white circle, with five coloured squares coming out from the circle like an asterisk). Title: Queers Who Don't Quit (Goodreads)
Editor: G. Benson
Authors (in order of stories): Cameron Von Sant; Evie Riojas; Tabitha O'Connell; A.P. Raymond; Eve Morton; James Penha; Elna Holst; Ayelet Enisman; G. Benson; Ashton Laviolette; Alexis Ames; Cal Benitex; Aila Alvina Boyd; Zoe Brook; Addy Long; Nyri Bakkalian.
Own Voices representation? Yes (see individual stories below)
Blurb (from the publisher's website): "There are times we all just need to forge onwards—or upwards. We can find that strength within ourselves, or people around us help. Sometimes, it’s both. In Queers Who Don’t Quit, queers across the spectrum hurdle the big, the small, and the unfathomable.
"A cowboy and his boyfriend flee across the Martian desert with their stolen robot. Back on Earth, two aromantics bond over their shared love of pop culture. A trans woman finds herself between a rock and a hard place when someone from her past threatens to destroy her future. Space Boy remembers what it’s like to be in love with another boy, and two women have more in common than they think as they fall in love while cosplaying their favourite TV show. Queer men frolic at a gay beach balanced on sands of time. A bisexual, a widow, and a murderer walk into a bar–just wait for it, there’s a punchline. An enby down on their luck gets an offer from a goddess too good to refuse. In 1930s London, split ends are queerly healed. A queer college student seeks to rekindle a dying friendship during a trip to Paris. A trans teacher takes a stand against bigotry and finds love in the process. Love is found amongst giddiness, hard edges, and a darkly passionate theater. An ace vows to finally come out to her sister, and back in space, an arranged marriage connects two queer men. A woman discovers opening a queer bookshop isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Adrift with her infantry company in one war, a trans warrior must face the ghosts of another. And on their first day back at work, someone can be the person we wish we’d met as a kid.
"Join us in these queer stories of hope, resilience, and perseverance!"
My Overall Review: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
This collection from #ownvoices queer authors is definitely diverse in terms of its LGBT+ representation.
I did a quick count, and here is a tally of how many characters are specifically referred to with each of the following labels (I haven't included characters who were only mentioned in passing):
Transgender: 5 (3 trans women, 2 trans men)
There are several stories where the main characters' sexualities and genders are not explicitly labelled but this is not inherantly a problem, e.g. a story set in the 1930s where modern labels would be jarring. Most of the relationships without labels are sapphic. I also don't think anybody going into this collection would assume that cis and straight are the defaults!
I loved that Queers Who Don't Quit contains stories from a range of genres - I'd challenge any reader to not love at least one of them! There were a couple of stories which I wouldn't typically read and stories which I wouldn't personally reread, but I am glad that I read the whole collection anyway. There were some stories where I wasn't sure if I would like them at first glance and ended up giving them 4 stars!
I was planning to give this collection as a whole 4 stars anyway, and it turns out that's also my mean rating across the 17 stories, so I definitely think it deserves it.
I do wish that this collection included more BIPOC and disabled writers, and hope that future projects by Queer Pack will be more diverse in terms of race and ability. After all, Queer Pack is described on their website as being "home to the queer stories that don’t often have a platform", and intersectionality is crucial when discussing underrepresented queer voices.
I do also want to note that a serif typeface is used throughout the ebook, which might make this text less accessible to dyslexic readers.
Individual Stories Reviews
As I mentioned, there are 17 short stories in this collection, written by 16 authors. I've listed them here in the order they appear, with a few short notes as well as my ratings. A lot of these ratings are down to my personal reading preferences rather than anything inherantly wrong with the story, and I'm sure there are many people who would love the stories I didn't rate very highly! I have included content warnings where applicable; if anybody needs further information on the content, please do feel free to get in touch with me.
If the authors' pronouns, identities, and websites are freely available online I have included them here. For those authors whose identities are not listed please remember that although this is marketed as an Own Voices queer collection, all authors have rights to privacy, and their identities should not be assumed based on the stories they have written here.
Onto the stories!
A Government Sanctioned Marriage by Cameron Van Sant (he/him, trans & pansexual. Click here for Cameron's website.)
Sci-fi, dystopian future
Representation: trans male characters, MLM characters
CW: homophobia, lack of reproductive autonomy
This story is based on an interesting concept and I think that the author did a great job of exploring the social issues, especially considering its length. I would quite happily read a novel based on this, but still found it satisfying as a short story.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
This is What You Get by Evie Riojas (she/her, trans Chicana)
Representation: trans lesbian, PTSD
CW: graphic violence, mentions of drug use & addiction, mentions of infidelity
I found this story a little difficult to read. Although I don't mind occasional graphic violence in a longer story, I'm personally not a fan of stories where it's a major component.
My rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)
Actually by Tabitha O'Connell (any pronouns, agender asexual. Click here for Tabitha O'Connell's blog.)
Representation: sex repulsed asexual woman, bi man
This story about the main character trying to find a way to come out as asexual to her sister was lovely overall.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
First Day Back by A.P. Raymond (they/he, trans & nonbinary & queer & bisexual. Click here for A.P. Raymond's Twitter.)
Representation: nonbinary main character(s)
This was one of my favourites from the collection. It's such a sweet story and I loved the writing style!
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Werewolf Blues by Eve Morton (she/her. Click here for Eve Morton's website.)
Contemporary (not paranormal!)
Representation: sapphic, trans woman
CW: mentions of death
I'm not personally a fan of the relationship dynamic that comes with a romance between an employer and their employee, so this story didn't do it for me unfortunately.
My rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)
Crossroads by James Penha (he/him. Click here for James Penha's Twitter.)
Representation: mixed race (half Puerto Rican) Jewish gay man, Christian gay men
CW: Explicit sexual content, implied sexualisation of minors
I might have rated this story more highly, but there's a short moment where a gay side character seems to sexualise the teenagers in the high school swim team he coaches without being challenged by the people he's talking to, and that's not something I'm comfortable with.
My rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)
First Cut by Elna Holst (she/her, queer. Click here for Elna Holst's website.)
CW: sexual content, infidelity
Representation: I'm not going to put labels on this one, since I'm not sure whether one of the MCs would identify as a butch woman or trans masc in modern society! The other character is a woman, though. There is also rep for physical disability.
I liked this writing style and felt sympathetic towards the characters, too.
My rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Version of Love by Ayelet Enisman (they/them, aromantic & asexual & agender, Israeli)
The friendship that develops between these characters is beautiful, and I love their enthusiasm for their project! I'm also a fan of musicals, which are a large part of this story.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Punchline by G Benson (she/her)
Contemporary, set in various European countries
Representation: bisexual woman of colour and a dark skinned nonbinary person of colour
CW: alcohol use, sexual content, death mentioned, grief & depression
If you like complex main characters on a personal journey to recover from loss (and its associated mental health difficulties), this is an excellent story for you.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Help Wanted by Ashton Laviolette (he/him)
Contemporary, magical realism
Representation: nonbinary character
CW: unemployment & poverty
This is a feel-good story overall and made me smile. I love magical realism, and I was so excited when this story took a magical turn.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Under the Valley of Stars by Alexis Ames (she/her, queer. Click here for Alexis Ames' website.)
Sci-fi (with Western vibes)
Representation: Male main characters, implied to be in a romantic relationship but no labels used.
The way the author blended elements of sci-fi with a good old fashioned horseback pursuit through the desert was really intriguing. This story kept me guessing and made me smile.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Space Boy by Cal Benitex (he/him, queer)
Representation: possible disability rep (MC is diagnosed with prosopagnosia, a.k.a. "face blindness", but doesn't seem to agree with this)
CW: Drug use (LSD), body horror
I wasn't sure how I felt about this story when I first read it, but parts of it did intrigue me and I wanted to know more. I definitely felt for the main character, who seemed to be coping with quite a lot of trauma.
My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
The Path to Truth by Aila Alvina Boyd (she/her. Click here for Aila Alvina Boyd.)
CW: transphobia, alcohol use. Mentions of past suicide, addiction, overdose
As a queer woman working in a school, I could really relate to the difficulties of feeling the need to stay closeted while wanting to make a change - and I have the privilege of being cis, working in a country with legal protection from workplace discrimination. This story is an important one, and I felt it was well written. I didn't really feel the romantic connection between the characters, though.
My rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
So She Chose by Zoe Brook (they/them, queer. Click here for Zoe Brook's website.)
Representation: this story is told in the first person and doesn't mention the narrator's gender or sexuality, but the love interest is a woman.
This story was beautifully written. The author also writes poetry, and I think it shows (in a very good way) in their descriptions!
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Some Things Are More Important by Addy Long (she/they, nonbinary lesbian)
Representation: So much! Pansexual woman, nonbinary person, trans man, bisexual couple, lesbians, asexual character... If it's queer, it's probably here.
CW: homophobia, mentions of conversion therapy
If I had to choose a favourite story from this collection, I think this would be it. What better setting for a story than a bookstore? And I definitely wish a certain bookstore from this story existed! This is a hopeful and inspiring story full of the queer community banding together to make things happen despite adversity.
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
All That Remains by Nyri Bakkalian (she/her, queer, Armenian-American. Click here for Nyri Bakkalian's Twitter.)
Representation: Japanese-American trans woman
CW: military, war, violence, genocide
I'm not generally a fan of military fiction, but I feel the way this story shows the reality of genocide (specifically the Armenian genocide of 1914-23, which led to the deaths of 1.5 million people) is really important. I also don't think it necessarily glorifies the military in the way lots of military fiction does.
My rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Travelling Companions by Tabitha O’Connell (see above - any pronouns, agender asexual)
Representation: aromantic asexual main character (possibly nonbinary), gay male character
CW: toxic friendship (the main character is increasingly aware of this and it is at least partially addressed), alcohol
A wonderful story about friendship, even though not all of the friendships in it are wonderful!
My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Which story sounds the best to you? Or, if you've read this collection, which was your favourite?
As always with short story compilations Queers Who Don't Quit had stories I loved, and stories I didn't. What I did love was the overall theme, the narrative of preservation. Regardless of the challenges thrown against them, this book shows how life continues, how people continue.
I'm going to go over each story and give my opinions for them all.
A Government-Sanctioned Marriage by Cameron Van Sant 5/5 - I loved this story! It was set on a spaceship heading away from overcrowded planet Earth, where due to issues with radiation they have an arranged marriage system based on genetics to keep reproducing. When the main character gets paired with a trans man, he and his family struggle with it, as he had never considered his sexuality. I'm always a sucker for queer sci-fi, and my only problem with this is that it ended too quickly! I could read an entire book with this premise!
This Is What You Get by Evie Riojas 2/5 - An interesting story about a trans woman who's trying to fix her relationship, which has broken down due to her mistakes. When they stop in for dinner she's faced with another horrible secret from her past. This one has a heavy trigger warning for drug use/addiction and graphic violence. It evoked a sense of dread that I enjoyed, but it wasn't the type of story I typically enjoy.
Actually by Tabitha O'Connell 4/5 - This was a cute short story about an asexual woman wanting to come out to her sister. I wish it had been a bit longer, but it did a good job of describing the difficulties of figuring out the right time to come out.
First Day Back by A.P. Raymond 4/5 - A school trip to a museum leads to a sweet conversation about being gender non-conforming between one of the workers and a child. This one was super cute.
Werewolf Blues by Eve Morton 3/5 - When Julie hires Becca to work for her she later finds out she's a popular trans YouTuber. It was cute, but I couldn't help but think if my new boss acted like this it would be well overstepping boundaries. There wasn't enough depth to their relationship to make me comfortable with the employer/employee dynamic.
Crossroads by James Penha 1/5 - I didn't like this story at all. Two men are having sex on the beach when they meet up with old college friends who happen to be gay priests. It made me uncomfortable. I don't know how James Penha identifies, but the way the mixed-race Jewish man in the story was treated seemed dodgy. The phrase "your colour is so beautiful" made me cringe, especially alongside referring to a nipple as a Hershey's Kiss. There's also a scene where one of the gay characters comes across as sexualising teenagers. No thank you to this one.
First Cut by Elna Hoist 4/5 - This one was fun! Set in the 1930s a hairdresser who has a frayed relationship with her husband has an after-hours appointment with a gender non-conforming woman. Content warning for sexual content and infidelity. I enjoyed this a lot, the characters with sympathetic, and it was good to see gender non-conformitivity in a historical setting.
Version of Love by Ayelet Enisman 3/5 - A fun story of friendship between two asexual people, difficulties in a world that focuses on romantic relationships, and musicals! I loved the dynamic between the two characters and watching their friendship grow, awkward moments with family and serious discussions.
Punchline by G Benson 5/5 - I loved this. A woman has gone travelling to run away from her past mistakes. When she keeps running into a person doing the same thing, the two confront their loss together. I love a good recovery story mixed with serendipity. The two characters are incredibly complex while remaining sympathetic; this was one of my faves in the collection.
Help Wanted by Ashton Laviolette 3/5 - After walking out of their job Skylar is struggling to find a new one. That is, until a Goddess decided she's willing to help out. This was wholesome; I especially loved how out of date the Goddess was because it led to some smile-worthy moments.
Under The Valley of Stars by Alexis Ames 4/5 - A horseback chase across the desert of Mars? Yes, please. This one was great fun. It mixed the western feel alongside sci-fi elements such as increased tech usage to great effect. I'd love to see a longer story with these two space cowboys.
Space Boy by Cal Benitex 2/5 - I'm not sure how to describe this story. The main character has awoken after drug use and a fall and is unable to recognise their mother. I found it quite strange, and although intriguing it left me feeling a bit perplexed.
The Path To truth by Alia Alvina Boyd 3/5 - This follows a trans woman working at a school who decides to speak out about the bathroom bill in North Carolina and is subsequently fired. It brought up a lot of important topics and despite setbacks ended on a hopeful note which I enjoyed.
So She Chose by Zoe Brook 3/5 - The main character sees a beautiful performer. The writing in this story was beautiful and evocative. I wish there had been more to it though.
Some Things Are More Important 5/5 - A very important and uplifting story. The main character quits her job at the bookshop after her boss puts conversion therapy books on the LGBT+ shelf. She decides to set up her own bookshop and although facing homophobic setbacks the community rallies around her. I would love to live this life. This story seems to depict exactly what this book is about, queers who face setbacks but keep on fighting to succeed.
All That Remains 3/5 - This story takes place in the Syrian Desert and looks into the Armenian genocide; soldiers see ghosts. I think this story is really important and well-written; the only reason it wasn't rated higher is that I don't enjoy fiction that focuses on the military.
Travelling Companions by Tabitha O'Connel 4/5 - Our main character is going to Paris, posts about it on her Facebook page and is accompanied by a complicated group of people. One of which is her old friend who she has a difficult relationship with due to her erasing her asexuality. I enjoyed this a lot. It looks at those old friendships and the difficulties that they have when you grow into two different people, are you even friends anymore?
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot! Would recommend it to people who want to read a compilation filled with a wide variety of queers who keep going despite the circumstance. In general, I wish the book had more BIPOC and disabled rep as this felt a little lacking. I thoroughly enjoyed the amount of time given to trans & gender non-conforming people alongside asexuals and aromantics, as these groups are often sidelined. I'm looking forward to seeing what my favourite authors from this do in the future.
(Thanks to NetGallery and Queer Pack for providing me with an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review!)
ow excited I was in 2014 when my native country Austria, in a ballsy decision I would never have dreamed they were capable of, selected Conchita Wurst, a bearded, glamorous drag queen, to participate in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest (for those who don’t know that competition, with a yearly audience between 100 and 600 million globally, please check out this Wikipedia-link)! Of course conservatives all over the world immediately yelled “Freak Show!”, and viscerally anti-gay countries such as Russia even threatened to interrupt their broadcast of the event during Conchita’s performance. But Conchita sang, Conchita was amazing (duh—a good song, a pitch-perfect voice, a fabulous stage performance), and… Conchita won by a landslide (it turned out even the Russian public had voted massively for her). When she was proclaimed the winner, Conchita stepped on the stage again, beaming and beautiful, to accept the award. Then, with fiercely sparkling eyes, she brandished it and shouted, “We! Are! Unstoppable!”
I mention this anecdote because this short story collection reminded me immediately of that amazing moment, which did our community so proud. “We are unstoppable!” could be the leitmotiv of this excellent anthology, too. I was amazed not only by the quality of the assembled pieces, but also by the vast variety of voices—variety being what had always drawn me to the Eurovision Song Contest in the first place. In this collection of seventeen short stories, the whole spectrum of the LGBTQ+-community is represented: amongst the main as well as the secondary characters feature gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender characters, asexuals (I learned that they use the word “ace” to speak of themselves), aromantics, non-binaries, queers…
The genres and subgenres explored also provided a vast range of choice: there was a story with a SciFi-speculative twist, another one that told a Sci-Fi-Western style plot, yet another turned out to be a historical erotic romance. I encountered ghosts, I met students and teachers, ex-cops, shop managers, doctors, a long-forgotten Celtic goddess, mysterious divas, soldiers… Variety of voices, variety of genres, variety of settings, too. I travelled from planet Mars to rural America, from Ontario to European cities, from Syrian war zones to Israelian universities, and was offered a wide array of themes, too. What makes us attracted to another person? How can we have closure for painful events of our past? How can we deal with intolerance? Is it useful to take a stand and defend who we are? How do me make a new start when everything looks bleak and lost? How do we explain ourselves meaningfully to those around us? What does it mean to be the persons we are?
I read about love and lust, about pain and struggle, about fights and dreams. Above all, I read about many different queer characters, as the book title promises, who “don’t quit”. The main characters have that one thing in common: they don’t give up, they don’t give in. They believe in who they are, and they believe that we are unstoppable indeed. I’ve always liked short story anthologies, especially those dedicated to our diversified community, for exactly that reason: to get different authors express different points of view in different writing styles. ‘Queers Who Don’t Quit’ is a perfect example of how this can be done. An entertaining and thought-provoking read I recommend without a moment’s hesitation.
I find this a tough book to review. The quality of the stories feels uneven - some were fantastic, whereas some felt like a rush job for an English class. But we really, really need more queer stories out in the world! (Personally I'm trying to figure out if I'm aromantic - social norms are hard to extricate yourself from).
The short stories in this anthology are a mix of genres of moods, from the real world, to imagined worlds. Happy endings. Uncertain endings. Bittersweet endings. Dark endings. If I'm being honest, in short stories, what I most enjoy are twists at the end and a bittersweet tang. There were a few too many happy endings in this anthology, but then again, so many mainstream novels don't give their queer characters happy endings, and I can understand why the authors in this one wanted to do different.
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could; but 4 stars because on the whole, I enjoyed the mix of stories and the diversity of characters.
(With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy, in exchange for an honest review)
Like every anthology, this one had great and not so great stories. They were all wonderful in their own way, but I want to point out the ones which really stuck with me. First of all - I loved how many characters in this books were trans, enby or ace. I haven't read an anthology with so many enby, ace and trans characters and I think it was just beautiful. My most favourite stories were the story about the Space cowboys, the trans woman who went to court because of the bathroom situation at her school, the ace woman who finally told her sister about her feelings, the woman who opened her own queer bookstore and the very first story. Matter of fact, I would have loved to read a whole book about that couple of gay boys who got matched by the algorithm. And one of them was a trans man? I was in love.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy. I absolutely enjoyed reading this anthology.
I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a e-arc copy of this amazing book. I was intrigued when I requested this book because of how different it was to anything I’ve heard of. I love the diversity of the stories and the people who wrote them. Not all the same genre and I love that there was so distinct genre that you looked for, they were all different.
A few of my favorite stories were: First Day Back by A.P. Raymond, Werewolf Blues by Eve Morton, Help Wanted by Ashton Laviolette, The Path to Truth by Aila Alvina Boyd
“this is normal. We define our own lives and our own words. What is normal to us is our beautiful.” From Werewolf Blues
This is a unusual genre for me. I am glad I did pick it up!! Thank you for opening up my mind to something totally different. In this collection of seventeen short stories, the whole spectrum of the LGBTQ+-community is represented: amongst the main as well as the secondary characters feature gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender characters, asexuals (I learned that they use the word “ace” to speak of themselves), aromantics, non-binaries, queers… It covers a range of genres, and so there was definitely something for everyone. Some I enjoyed more than others
A sincere thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for providing me with an ebook copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This is not my usual genre, I’m more into romance stories and literary fiction however I wanted to take the opportunity to read something from outside my norm. And I am glad I did!! Thank you for opening up my mind to something totally different.
Most of the stories in this book had an amateur feel to them, like someone who was just getting started as a writer and had the potential to become a good one. Several of them I liked and would've given a higher star rating, but many of the stories either ended abruptly or had no real plot. The wide variety of genres and settings made the book a bit confusing, because it could take awhile to figure out if a story took place in the past, present, or future.
Fantastic collection of queer short stories, spanning genres from contemporary fiction to scifi. Most of the stories are written in the first person, and all deal with an excellent, diverse cast of characters, with special attention paid to the LGBTQI 'minorities' like trans men and aces. Superbly written and curated. Highly recommended for any rainbow bookshelf.
I wish I loved this book more. I did enjoy it but because it's a collection of short stories, there were some that I wasn't too enthusiastic about and I think it's because they were short. For example, I really liked the potential of the first story. The world sounded really interesting and just when I was getting into the characters' relationship, it was time to go. Then there were times when I felt like there was just too much happening in one story and I wanted more info, more before, more after. Still, overall I did enjoy the collection