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Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

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What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #OwnVoices collection, twelve of Australia’s finest queer writers explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.

Compelling queer short fiction by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to the #LoveOzYA community including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.

320 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2019

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About the author

Michael Earp

4 books34 followers
Michael Earp is a non-binary writer and bookseller living in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). They are the contributing editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories (2019) and contributor to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories (2019). The next anthology they are editing is coming from Affirm Press in October 2023 with another from Fremantle Press in June 2024. Their writing has also appeared in Archer, The Age, PopMatters, The Victorian Writer and Aurealis. For twenty years they have worked between bookselling and publishing as a children’s and young adult specialist. In 2021, they were awarded the Australian Booksellers Association Bookseller of the Year for their role managing The Little Bookroom, the world’s oldest children’s bookstore. A passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ literature for young people, they established the #AusQueerYA Tumblr to catalogue all Australian young adult fiction containing queer content and characters. Representation of all people in the literature available to readers of all ages is the ethos that motivates their entire career. They have a Masters in Children’s Literature and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Teaching and previously served as committee chair for the #LoveOzYA campaign. Tea is the source of all their power.

Repped by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 93 reviews
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews345 followers
October 10, 2019
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Brooklyn Saliba

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories features stories by Australian authors Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen Van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde, and Nevo Zizin.

Honestly, I can’t even begin to explain how important this book is because everyone should have a copy in their collection of books! It’s a must read and I personally found there was a lot to love about this short story anthology. Plus now I’m also excited to discover more work from these Australian authors as I’ve previously only read Jen Wilde, but hope to read Erin Gough and Alison Evans soon!

The stories are all incredibly diverse and it was great to see how each author brought something so interesting and incredible to each story as it was filled to the brim with emotion and pride. As the reader, I felt myself getting swept up in these characters’ stories and just feeling so proud of all these characters!

I dare you to try and not be moved by these stories because it’s near impossible. For example, in Rats – where a supposed “street rat finds her crew in peril, only to also encounter a fateful meeting that same day” – my heart swelled right from the get go! Just the way these characters (not just in Rats, but in each of the stories) just leapt off the page – I just wanted them all to be happy!

Which brings me to say, I love that most of these characters felt comfortable in their skin. It makes me happy and proud reading about people of different orientations just being happy and owning it in their own skin – as everyone should be! The number of non binary characters that made their way into these stories just made me feel excited that these people are being included. From bisexual and gays to lesbian characters, it just really goes to show how amazing these authors are at bringing these characters to the page so effectively and a voice.

I can’t really fault anything with these stories, if at all – I wish they were longer. It really felt like you could read full length books on what happens to the characters after their individual stories whether it be first meetings to weddings or literally just everything in between!

Can we also appreciate that one of these stories, by the wonderful Jax Jacki Brown, featured a gay female character who is confined to a wheelchair along with the other prominent character in the same story is as well? I had honestly never read a story where the main character was wheelchair reliant, and I just found her narrative to be really empowering – this character, when meeting up with another, goes on to say how people that are able bodied with two legs to walk on don’t really take the needs of disabled people into account when it comes to different things such as accessing buildings. It just makes you want to stand up for everyone to have equal rights so we’re all treated equally.

Another highlight for me was Jen Wilde’s story of a bisexual fangirl at a convention who feels anxious despite the slight presence of her closest friend, before she unexpectedly meets fellow fangirls who are all queer too! One is even the designer of a t-shirt the main character wears! I just love seeing fangirls and fanboys and people sharing their love for fandom whilst celebrating their pride, it just makes my heart happy!

Something I loved in the introduction of this book was Michael Earp’s writing a human is a human is a human – it’s so true! We all have the same basic needs and all have the right to love whoever we wish to so everyone should respect that! We are not hurting anyone with who we choose to want to be with!

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories is available from Book Depository and other good book retailers. Lastly, a huge thank you to the team at Walkers Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and also to the lovely AusYABloggers crew for having my own blog on the blog tour!
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,147 followers
August 6, 2019
A fantastic collection of queer stories from own voices authors! Many of the stories varied in terms of tone, genre, identities and subjects - some capturing the sweet love of adolescence, others about darkness and depression, and yet others about surviving an unfamiliar world together. There's some memoirs, essays and fictional stories mixed in as well.

The intersectional representation was also fantastic, covering many different identities including disability, transgender, cultural and more.

My favourite stories were: Lightbulbs by Nevo Zisin, Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law and the story by Jen Wilde.

One story (Laura Nyro at the Wedding by Christos Tsiollkas) pushes the boundaries when it comes to forgiveness and paedophilia. I felt rather uncomfortable at it and didn't think it was appropriate for the teenage audience, given the characters in the story were in their 30s.

A full review will be published on my blog.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an early copy for review.
Profile Image for Chiara.
875 reviews219 followers
February 19, 2021
A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher for review.

Kindred was something I’d been excited about since I learned it was going to exist. There is a general lack of queer fiction in the Australian YA world, and to see 12 queer authors writing #ownvoices (or at least #ownvoices adjacent) stories in one anthology is incredible. And yet. I wasn’t a huge fan. I ended up giving this two stars because I honestly felt like giving it two stars, and then when I did an average of my ratings for each individual story it was 2.4, which rounds down to two. Now, rather than review every single story, I’ve got three reasons why I felt Kindred was a two star read for me.

1) There was no consistent theme

To me, the cover screams contemporary. There is absolutely nothing about the cover that made me think there would be anything but contemporary stories in this anthology. The blurb also did not indicate that there were going to be range of genres in the anthology. The marketing didn’t, either. For me, I went into Kindred expecting a contemporary Australian anthology and I didn’t get that. I was confused when the first story seemed to be some kind of dystopian. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, and then every other story jumped around in genre, as well.

This is a ‘me’ thing, as I did go in expecting one thing and never could acclimate to Kindred being another thing. But I still think that the lack of cohesion to the stories wasn’t great. I think they could have been broken up into sections depending on genre. That would have made a lot more sense than it jumping around everywhere.

2) Not all the stories were YA

Look, when your title literally says #LoveOzYA in it… you’d better be YA. And yet three stories weren’t YA. There were two stories about characters in their twenties, which are definitely in the NA age range, and then there was a memoir at the end that wasn’t fiction or YA. I honestly think that a YA anthology should be, well, YA only.

3) Two of the stories were problematic

Two stories in this anthology were inherently problematic, meaning that they were problematic at their core. The first problematic story used reverse oppression as an education tool. I feel like this was not necessary in an anthology meant for queer teens. Yes, everyone always has something to learn, but this story felt like it was meant for an entirely non-queer audience, or, at the very best, uneducated cis people. Either way, I don’t think it had a place in this anthology because of the young readers that could be harmed by seeing themselves as oppressors when in the real world they are the oppressed.

The second story (which also features a non-YA protagonist) features a character with a father who went to prison for having sex with his high school student. This paedophilia was never addressed. Even if the character himself had no issue with it, I still think it needed to be addressed by someone else in the context of the teenage girl whose teacher abused his position of power. I was very uncomfortable with this story being included because of that issue of ambivalence.


In addition to what I’ve mentioned there were positives to the anthology, like the range of queer identities in the stories, and the intersectional diversity. I did actually enjoy the majority of the stories, but the two I mentioned above really impeded my enjoyment overall. I can’t say whether or not I would give my stamp of approval to Kindred. I think it’s one that I’ll let you make a decision on because for me it was overall a miss.

© 2019, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: paedophilia (student/teacher relationship), queerphobia, racism, ableism, reference to suicide of sibling, bullying, use of ableist language, suicidal ideation, depression themes (please note this is not a complete list, there were too many to list as I went along, but these are major ones that stood out to me)
Profile Image for Emma Gerts.
297 reviews24 followers
May 19, 2019
A really enjoyable collection of stories. As with all short stories, some were better than others - after attending the Sydney Writer's Festival panel on this book, I know some of the authors here hadn't written fiction before or hadn't written short stories before, and in a couple of cases it was quite obvious - either in a somewhat juvenile writing style or in a couple of cases the story feeling more like an essay or personal reflection. But for all of that, some of these were BRILLIANT. Some of them were absurd, some wonderful, some touching and sweet, and all of them Australian. YAS for Aussie fiction! And, more importantly, all of them queer. Gay, lesbian, NB, Trans, these stories had a bit of it all - and a wonderful range of intersectionality as well.
I highly recommend this collection - and all of the #LoveOzYA collections. This is a great initiative and I look forward to what comes out of it next.
Profile Image for Luce.
516 reviews35 followers
June 10, 2019
10 were good, one was…okay, and one was frankly horrible. Video review up on my channel tomorrow.

Review copy kindly provided by AusYABloggers and Walker Books as part of the Kindred Blog Tour. My review is entirely honest.
Profile Image for Sim ✨(wholesimreads).
285 reviews33 followers
September 9, 2019
✔️31. a book (/stories...) set on a college or university campus
🌟🌟🌟💫 3.5 stars

What a beautiful collection of diverse stories from diverse, Australian voices! This anthology really celebrated what is so unique about queer writing and perspectives. I definitely enjoyed some works more than others, but it covered a broad range of genres and breeds of 'connection'.
Profile Image for Sarah.
216 reviews19 followers
October 4, 2019
NOTE: I received 'Kindred Stories' as part of the AusYABloggers Kindred Book Tour. You can follow this tour on instagram through the hashtags: #KindredStories #AusYaBloggers #AusQueerYA #LoveOZYA #OwnVoices. As well as through the accounts: @ausyabloggers @walkerbooksaus @littleelfman.

I no longer know the lines between literary analysis, review and emotive response. This review is going to be a mess but at least it's mine.

"It's not the dark I find scary. It's the light. In the light, you can see everything. Even the things you don't want to" (136).

The thing about sexuality for me is that it's so hard to pinpoint. Where did this start? Why did this start? Is it real? Am I faking it? What will people think? Goodreads acts as a shadow for me. I'm googling if I can hide reviews from family because twenty-three doesn't mean ready. There's so much that ties into my identity, we are multi-faceted humans who have embraced so many things. Considering this: 'Kindred' is essential reading. Showcasing sexuality, gender, pronouns, disability, race, religion, hope, futures - this is something that might have made the path easier for me when I was younger. This is a collection that will make the present easier for so many young readers. To be able to identify yourself in a text is a truly incredible (and necessary) thing.

'Kindred Stories' is a collection of Australian #LoveOzYA voices that have come together to create a collection of diverse tales. There's the dystopian with 'Rats' and 'Each City', the eerie coming from 'Light Blub' and the heartwarming with 'I Like Your Rotation' and 'Waiting.' Each story offers something new, there is no way that queer youths will finish the book without finding at least one story that they identify with, or are inspired by. That's impossible.

"I'm not sure if it's an 'I want to be you' or an 'I want to bed you' crush" (98).

I found myself finding familiarity in lines, and characters. Understanding my bisexuality is taking a long time. But overwhelming questions of what constitutes a crush and how do I ensure that I 'look' the part, should I even 'look the part' were met within the stories. Over and over again I found something to relate to, something to make me laugh, and something to make me cry. I think that this is an important collection, for all people to read. To understand the risks posed to our community even today. To understand how human we all are at our very core.

As a collection, I think it's important to also share thoughts and feelings for all of the pieces. Giving back to the authors that are helping to build us up and represent us.

Rats - Marlee Jane Ward
Within this story, readers are met with dystopia, underground worlds and the opportunity to embrace Open Air. Michelle is one of the rats and indicates how chilling being yourself in public can be, a loss of personal security. When Michelle is pushed into Maita, a studying above ground, worlds transform. We are met with cheeky crushes and the reality that not every fight can be won alone, Michelle needs Maita's help. We need each other to survive.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass - Erin Gough
'Break Glass' hit all my cafe and catering feels. Amy is struggling with her boyfriend, kissing him just isn't fun and she's late for work again. But arriving at the function, Amy is left to work out what really is going on in the world when she meets Regi, dozens of birds tattooed on her arm. I would've loved a full feature novel of this story, more was definitely necessary.

Bitter Draught - Michael Earp
So different to Earp's story in 'Underdog' I wasn't excepting the fantasy within this story. Simeon's sister is sick and if he can find the witch he may be able to save her. His boyfriend Wyll is there by his side, but the witch warns him, there is always a cost. This story explores privileging of love, and I would adore reading even more similar things from Earp in the future.

I Like Your Rotation - Jax Jacki Brown
I think this was one of my favourites in the collection. Jem and Drew are both wheelchair users who connect through swimming and the necessity of disabled representation within pride. The characters are both so real and made me cry. I think another important aspect of this is the reality that not all crushes eventuate, there's always hope, but contemporaries where our protagonists remain single are always incredibly interesting to me. This is one of the most important stories in the collection and I will definitely be looking for more of Brown's work.

Sweet - Claire G Coleman
Claire Coleman is undeniably one of the most incredible speakers I've witnessed. She understands the links between luck and hardwork within the publishing industry. I definitely look up to her in many ways. Discussing her story with a few other readers, I've reached the opinion that it did not achieve what Coleman had hoped for. A role reversal story, this one can be considered problematic for some readers and should contain content warnings for transphobia. I do still hope to read more of Coleman's work and look forward to her other writing.

Light Bulb - Nevo Zisin
There’s a dizziness to this story that is part of it's charm. Our protagonist loves the dark, it's safer there. Zisin explores the realities of concealing and revealing our true selves. This entire story speaks on another level and I can guarantee I will be rereading it. Truly gorgeous. I love this and its darkness. Another favourite.

Waiting - Jen Wilde
I love my bicons. Waiting in line for PrideCon, Vanessa makes Audrey put her jumper on to hide her Rosa Diaz tee. Wilde shows us what friends can do, and the kindness of strangers. It had all the cheese and honest truth telling necessary of a YA story and was just super great. I am also in love with Josie now.

Laura Nyro at the Wedding - Christos Tsiolkas
This is the one that made me cry the most (which by default means it's good). Jack and Paul have decided that they're going to get married. But Jack wants to invite his father, accused of sleeping with a minor, to the wedding. This story navigates some really difficult territory, showcasing discussions of trauma, identity and family. I've also discussed this one with a number of readers, and have established that it may not have been a great fit for the collection and required further closure and perspective on the pedophilia in the story. Not necessary the best fit for a collection for teens.

Each City - Ellen van Neerven
I just finished 'Heat and Light' for one of my university subjects so I was definitely ready for the dystopian world that van Neerven provided. Our protagonist and partner, Talvan live in a futuristic world where activism is still risky. Their home is robbed and our anonymous protagonist is forced to flee the country, hoping for any communication possible with family. van Neerven consistently tells chilling and honest stories.

An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool - Omar Sakr
You can feel the poetry in Sakr's voice and tone. This story follows Wafat and Noah's secret loves and relationships as they face homophobia. I really loved the innocence of it all, teenage sexual urgency. There's an underlying sense of humour in this piece. I wanted to have more of this.

Stormlines - Alison Evans
I follow Evans on multiple social media platforms and they're always impressing me with stories and knowledge. I haven't yet read their other works, but if this is anything to go off, I am so keen. This piece explored Marling finding New in a mangrove after a storm. Marling is forced to consider loneliness and how it affects ver. Where we create homes is important.

Questions to Ask Straight Relatives - Benjamin Law
I'm also familiar with Law's online presence and was really excited to read this piece. As a nonfiction piece, I think this was important to include and even more important to have at the conclusion of the collection. Discussing cultural differences in sharing sexuality and affection is incredibly interesting and reminds you to stop and take a second to consider the world, what really underpins the 'gay voice'?

"Growing up and having to question yourself - while everyone else asks invasive and hurtful questions - is painful. At the same time, it also means you've asked some of the most important questions before anyone else will. Queer isn't just a sexuality. It's a fundamental viewpoint and different way of looking at the world" (283).

At its core this collection is just really damn pure. I often found myself wanting a bit more fleshing out of narratives and more time spent on certain stories but at the end of the day this is something incredible. The collection's conclusion includes a variety of resources for teens and showcases the authors properly, reminding you where to find them and what they've written before. Kindred does incredible work in reinforcing #ownvoices within Australian Young Adult Fiction.

Congratulations team, you've done amazing! Happy Pride! x
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,863 reviews689 followers
May 21, 2020
Marlee Jane Ward - Rats 4/5

This first story is set in the near dystopian future, from what I could tell. The world building is subtle but interesting, and mostly made clear through details rather than explanations. This works really well, especially since it gives the more subtle exchanges between the characters more weight as well.

The story has a meet cute between a "tunnel rat", aka a girl who lives in the tunnels of the Melbourne station, and a girl who crashes her bike into her when someone shoves her. They go out for breakfast together and the story further unfolds from there. I rather liked the idea of two worlds meeting.

Rep: f/f romance, non-binary side character, side character with prosthetic leg

CWs: police raid
Erin Gough - In Case of Emergency, Break Glass 3/5

I feel a little conflicted about this story. While I love more quiet stories, I don't love a quick resolution. So while it was amazing to see a girl realize kissing boys bores her, I was excited to see a main character questioning her sexuality. And it was great that she figured out she's a lesbian! But I think this process was resolved rather hastily and that took away from the impact of the story.

Rep: questioning/lesbian MC, queer side character, Black side character
Michael Earp - Bitter Draught 5/5

A medieval world with zero homophobia? Count me in! I loved this story so much. It's well written and emotional, and it's about trying to save someone but losing someone else in the process.

Rep: m/m relationship, non-binary side character

CWs: ill sibling
Jax Jacki Brown - I Like Your Rotation 5/5

"It's radical to feel, to really feel, and to allow our bodies to move and be how they need to be, you know?"

I absolutely loved this story. It's about the intersectionality between disability and queerness, and it's about a girl making a new friend who's also queer and disabled.

If you liked this story, I would also really recommend the Unbroken anthology, which has short stories with disabled main characters, and several of them are queer as well.

Rep: sapphic disabled MC in a wheelchair, sapphic disabled side character in a wheelchair

CWs: (internalized) ableism, homophobia

Claire G. Coleman - Sweet 5/5

I was drawn into this story right away, starting off with a walk down the street that's written in such flowing language that it read like a dance. And it got even better from there, because the concept of this story is so interesting. The story is set in a futuristic society where everyone is agender. Gender ("being gendered") is seen as an old-fashioned concept of the past that's antisocial and even illegal. This makes for a thought-provoking read, and I loved how it was executed.

Rep: Black MC, Black side characters, agender society, use of they/them pronouns

CWs: transphobia
Nevo Zisin - Light Bulb 3/5

I loved parts of this story. The contemporary storyline about the main character as a child was fantastic. But overall, the story was incohesive and it felt as if the author had forgotten the story was supposed to be gay until the last moment. Essentially, this felt like three stories in one, without anything to tie them together.

CWs: death of a parent, depression, homophobia/homophobic slurs
Jen Wilde - Waiting 5/5

As a massive fan of Jen Wilde's books, this story was one of the biggest reasons I bought this anthology in the first place. But I didn't even know it would have an autistic main character?! I literally gasped when I read that.

This is such a great story about Audrey, who brings her toxic friend Vanessa to a pride convention and finally realizes how bad of a "friend" she really is.

Rep: bisexual autistic MC with anxiety, bisexual side character, brown non-binary side character, autistic side character

CWs: homophobia, toxic friendship

Christos Siolkas - Laura Nyro at the Wedding 3/5

This story is about a same-gender couple deciding to get engaged, which I absolutely loved to read. It's also very morally gray: the main character's father abused a minor years previous to the story, and he is thinking about forgiveness, and about inviting him to the wedding. I'm not actually sure how I feel about this aspect. Because of course forgiveness is important, and it's important to acknowledge that you can't necessarily stop loving a parent even if you want to. But it's also such a clearly wrong thing that I'm not sure it's something that could or even should be forgiven. At least it's a very thought-provoking story in that sense. Let me be clear though, that I didn't feel the story was trying to apologize for the dad's actions. It's just a tricky thing to write about nevertheless, I think.

Rep: m/m couple

CWs: pedophilia, past war memories, past death of a sibling

Ellen van Neerving - Each City 2/5

Parts of this story were really good, but I just couldn't follow the plotline at all. It wasn't until around halfway through the story that I figured out it's set in a dystopian future, and the setting kept changing. This made for quite an unclear story, and the writing was quite hard to follow as well.

Rep: queer MC, queer side characters

CWs: racism, homophobia, transphobia

Omar Sakr - An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool 3/5

Parts of this story I loved, and parts of it I found very hard to follow. It's a pretty slow story, and it took a while to become more clear. But I did like the ending, and the representation.

Rep: gay Muslim MC, gay Muslim love interest, multiple Muslim side characters

CWs: homophobia, racism, abuse by a family member, descriptions of a dead dog

Alison Evans - Stormlines 2/5

This story just wasn't really for me. I couldn't get into it, unfortunately.

Benjamin Lan - Questions to Ask Straight Relatives 5/5

This was both funny and an interesting discussion of dealing with homophobia from family members, as well as internalized homophobia.

Rep: gay Chinese MC, lesbian Chinese side character

CWs: (internalized) homophobia
Profile Image for Emily Wrayburn.
Author 5 books41 followers
June 1, 2020
Some of these were really great (Jen Wilde's story was my favourite, followed by Marlee Jane Ward's), some of them were pretty good, but there were two I wondered why they were there?

And now I've said that, I know you're going to ask, so:

Sweet by Claire G. Coleman was this weird reverse-oppression thing where the NB people were the majority and the "gendered" were oppressed and it felt weird and wrong to me. As a cishet person I wasn't entirely sure whether I should be bothered or not, but I've read/watched some reviews from NB people who were clearly quite bothered by it, so I stand by my initial feelings.

Christos Tsiolkas' story, which I can't remember the title of, featured two characters in their 30s, so it wasn't YA anyway. And the main character really wanted his father to be forgiven for the sexual relationship he (the father) had with a 15/16-year-old student when he was a teacher. And the people who did not want to forgive him were painted as the antagonists. There wasn't much nuance, so that was quite iffy, too.
Profile Image for Bee (Vellichorbee).
66 reviews13 followers
May 10, 2019
I was lucky enough to attend the launch of this anthology at the Sydney Writer’s Festival and purchase my copy early. After hearing some of the authors talking about their stories (and getting to meet some of them!) I knew I had to read this one right away. The central theme of the stories was ‘connections’ and it tied all the vastly different short stories together in a wonderful way.

In the introduction, Michael Earp describes the word kindred as “an encapsulating word that places “me” next to “you” and “us” next to “them” in such a wonderful way. It speaks to the connection between us and ignites a sense of community.”

This anthology certainly meets that definition of kindred and the overall experience of reading it is like a warm hug from an old friend. These stories speak to the queer community, specifically here in Australia. But I don’t think the only people who are going to love these stories are members of our queer community. These stories all speak to relationships and the connections between people and in that way are reflective of the human experience in general. So many of these stories are intersectional and it was wonderful to read about the queer experience from such vastly different perspectives than my own.

I’ll go into a little more detail about the individual stories below and given them each star ratings. I’ve tried not to give too much away in terms of spoilers but as the stories are quite short it’s difficult to talk about them without spoiling a few small things so bear that in mind. Before I get into that, however, I’d like to finish this part of the review with a beautiful quote from Benjamin Law’s short story:

“Most of the time, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer doesn’t especially feel like a superpower. However, I’ve learned that it gives you one default advantage in the world. Perspective.”

Rats by Marlee Jane Ward ★★★★

Michelle is a Rat who lives in the tunnels underneath Melbourne. The story follows her first meeting with Maita and a daring escape from the Feds.

The amount of world-building that Ward packed into this short story was so impressive! Michelle was a wonderfully honest character and I think I’ll always wonder about the rest of her adventures with Maita and the other Rats.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass by Erin Gough ★★★★★

Amy is late to a catering gig because she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend Steven and he’s started to notice. At the party, she runs into the mysterious Reg and magical chaos ensues.

I love Erin Gough’s work so much and her ability to create beautifully real and relatable queer characters was in no way hindered by the short format of this story. This story was deliciously weird with an important environmental message.

Bitter Draught by Michael Earp ★★★★★

Simeon and his boyfriend Wyll travel into the forest to find a non-binary witch who has a cure for Simeon’s sick little sister, with an unexpected cost.

This story will break your heart into pieces and you’ll thank it for doing so. Simeon was such a great character that you find yourself immediately rooting for him and becoming invested in his journey. How Michael Earp built up his characterisation and showed his relationships with his parents and Wyll in so much depth in so little time, I have no idea but it makes for an incredible story.

I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown ★★★★

Jem is the only disabled queer in her small-town. Until green-haired and fascinating Drew arrives on the scene in her power wheelchair, that is.

This story was honest and sweet. Jem was so relatable in practically melting every time Drew referred to her as babe. Maybe others wouldn’t agree but I thought the overall message of the ending of this story was refreshing and really emphasised the importance of true friendship.

Sweet by Claire G Coleman

In a world where ‘gendered’ is a dirty word, and having a gender is illegal, Roxy and her friends receive some shocking news from their friend Sweet.

The world-building in this was interesting but I honestly didn’t love the overall story. I get that Claire was trying to turn societal norms on their head and make social commentary through that but it fell a little flat for me unfortunately.

Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin ★★★★

This story is about the darkness.

The writing style was quirky and interesting but I’m not sure I understood what was going on the entire time. I think it was supposed to be one of those stories where you’re not sure if there really is a monster or if it’s a metaphor and if that’s the case then is succeeded. I did love how creepy it was and the relationship with the dad was really artfully done.

Waiting by Jen Wilde ★★★★★

Standing in line at the convention centre wearing a Rosa Diaz shirt, Audrey discovers having no friends is better than having an awful one.

Warning, you may want to smack fictional characters after reading this story. If you’ve ever been through a friendship breakup because you’ve grown apart from your friend/s then this is the story for you. Audrey is a nerd in the best possible way and it was painful to see her having to downplay her joy and excitement to appease people that didn’t matter. It was great to see a character in a young adult story find the confidence within herself to know that she deserved better than her crappy friends. I haven’t read Jen Wilde’s work before but this just made me want to move Queens of Geek to the top of my TBR.

Laura Nyro at the Wedding by Christos Tsiollkas ★★★

Jack wants to marry Paul but first he wants to sort out his mess of a family.

This seemed like a kind of strange premise for a YA story but it made a bit more sense when there were a number of flashbacks to when Jack was 12. Overall the writing was lovely and the relationship between Jack and Paul was absolutely beautiful. There was a twist right near the end that I don’t fully understand, though. Like you can guess what happened but it’s not totally explained. If you think your family is complicated, reading this story will probably make you feel better.

Each City by Ellen van Neeren ★★★

This is the story of a girl who comes home from the laundry with her girlfriend to find her place broken into and ends up on the run.

I don’t want to give too much more than that away but this was an interesting premise and it was done quite well. The Australian government was a total jerk which is pretty on-brand for them so this future was incredibly realistic and maybe a little too close to home for comfort.

An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool by Omar Sakr ★★★★★

Wafat sees his childhood friend Noah for the first time in a while at a wedding. Kissing, the beginning of Ramadan and a werewolf follow.

This story was wonderful and though it’s not written in prose, the imagery in the writing gives away the fact that Omar Sakr is an incredible poet. From the intense feeling of first love (or lust) to sunsets and even a busy Kmart full of mums, Omar Sakr captured these experiences beautifully and really made you feel like you were living them for the first time all over again.

Stormlines by Alison Evans ★★★★★

New and Marling meet in a mangrove after a storm and carve spaces for themselves in a drowned world.

There is so much to love in this story; dramatic storms, the sea as a goddess who needs respecting, non-binary teens becoming friends, someone finding their place in the world when the world has flooded and there’s actually not that much world left. Alison Evans is an absolutely phenomenal writer and this story is no exception. Their writing here leaves you breathing in the sea-salt on the air and shivering trapped in the storm as it rattles the window coverings right alongside New and Marling.

Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law ★★★★

This reads a bit more like an essay and I’m not totally sure it’s even YA since it’s kind of all encompassing and talks about different moments in life and coming out being a constant process. I do think it’s a really interesting and important read, though. It reminds me of the scene in Love, Simon where he questions why straight people don’t have to come out. Ben here questions why members of the queer community have to constantly justify themselves to friends and family, answering questions that all really mean “WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS”.
Profile Image for Dylan.
55 reviews27 followers
August 10, 2019
Some incred short stories from some incred queer Australian writers. More so geared towards teens and YA. Had to read this for a work project.
33 reviews
September 23, 2019
Would have given 4 stars if it didn't have a pedophilia apologist story in the middle. No warnings, right in the middle of YA. No thanks.
Profile Image for Laura Altmann.
109 reviews118 followers
June 25, 2019
So the lovely people at Walker Books were kind enough to send me a copy of Kindred for review, however, I was only about half way through the book when my water bottle leaked all over my back and pretty much destroyed the book! I was very angry with myself, as I'd been looking forward to reading the rest, and was especially excited for the Benjamin Law story (which is unfortunately last in the book). As such, I won't give it a star rating, but I will share my thoughts on the stories I did read.

Rats by Marlee Jane Ward
I thought this was a great story to kick off the anthology with! It was cute, fun and exciting. I would love to read more about this world.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass by Erin Gough
Another great read. Short and fun.

Bitter Draught by Michael Earp
This story was not at all what I expected! Kindred has such a cheery looking cover that I thought it would be full of cute, uplifting stories. This one was heartbreaking and emotional, but probably my favourite of the stories that I read.

I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown
Great disability rep. This story felt very realistic to me.

Sweet by Claire G Coleman
TBH I didn't really get this story, or what it was trying to say. It's set in sort of a dystopian world where everyone appears gender neutral, and to identify as male or female is a crime. I've seen other reviewers describe the story as transphobic, but I'm really not sure what to think about it.

Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin
For me, this was one of the most memorable stories of the book. It had a darker tone than most of the rest, but that worked really well. I'd love to check out more of this author's work.

Waiting by Jen Wilde
I liked this story, and I loved the pop culture references. I've read a couple of Wilde's books and really enjoyed them, though she can be a bit preachy at times.

Laura Nyro at the Wedding by Christos Tsiolkas
I enjoyed this story, but it didn't feel very YA to me. As you can probably guess from the title, it's mostly about an engagement / wedding, which felt more adult to me.
Profile Image for Ash | Wild Heart Reads.
245 reviews141 followers
June 12, 2019
Kindred is a collection of brilliant queer #LoveOzYA short stories. This anthology is a must read and one that I wish I had when I was younger, but one I am glad is here now because at any age it’s wonderful to see this out in the world and be able to connect to it. From a little bit futuristic to a little bit dystopian to a little bit magic, these stories cover a range of elements and there’s something for everyone.

What I really love about Kindred is the representation. Whilst the range of queer #ownvoices fiction is growing, white cis fiction does seem to hold the bulk of the attention. That’s not to say that those stories aren’t important there are other queer voices that need to be heard and this anthology brings together so many wonderful and needed voices.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed all of them I do want to give a special mention to Waiting by Jen Wilde, An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool by Omar Sakr and Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin.

There’s funny moments, painful ones and poignant ones. I cannot recommend Kindred enough. All 12 of these writers contributed stories that are truly fantastic and it makes for a beautiful anthology.

This review and more can be found at https://wildheartreads.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Underground Writers.
178 reviews18 followers
September 3, 2020
This review was first published on the Underground Writers website: http://underground-writers.org/review...

Kindred: 12 Queer Stories features stories from various authors of different genders, sexualities and ethnicities. While some of the names in this anthology are recognisable from their online presence, for many of them this is their first printed piece, and this collection features many different perspectives within the LGBTQ+ community, which I really enjoyed. My favourite stories include Sweet by Claire G Coleman, I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown, and Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law.

Sweet is a story about a world where gender doesn’t exist and to be gendered is to be shunned. Roxy goes to meet their group of friends and receives an ominous text from their friend Sweet. The piece is a very interesting exploration of gender and commentary on our obsession with putting people in boxes.

I Like Your Rotation is about Jem, a disabled lesbian trying to educate herself on both communities she is a part of: the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the disabled one. She does this with the help of another girl, Drew, who is very similar to her. While it doesn’t have a happy ending, I think the conversation about the need to educate yourself on your community and the troubles others have faced before you is incredibly important.

Finally, Questions to Ask Your Straight Relatives is about the challenges one faces navigating complex family dynamics while being part of the LGBTQ+ community. It explores who’s asking questions to get a rise out of you, who is actually an ally, and who you really need to cut off to protect yourself. This piece was one of the more comical pieces in this anthology and was a nice way for it to end.

As part of the queer community it feels validating to see these pieces of work being published more frequently. I’ll be excited to see more of these voices in the future, and maybe even see some of these authors release a full-length work.
Profile Image for Blue.
1,570 reviews86 followers
July 29, 2019
This was heart crushingly amazing!
This collection of short stories written by Australians really hit the mark. It really proves that there is no certain look for member of the LBGT community, or that they like a certain thing or act a certain way. This is great, I am really sick of books, movies and even society labelling the LBGT community in a certain way. Like all lesbians need to have short hair or all gays need to be ‘girly’.
It is great to see this community represented in a brand new light, even in a dystopian setting to a normal function. To be honest we need more of this, these stories really touch your soul.
I think my favourite story (if I had to pick) would be rates. I love a dystopian setting, they always catch my eyes so I can’t help it. It is pretty much a world based underground waiting to burst on the surface. We meet Michelle who bumps into Maita, who begin to rely on one another and their relationship.
Seriously though, I cannot rave about this book enough. Though there are some stories that are better than others, they are all brilliant in their own little way.
5,870 reviews130 followers
July 24, 2019
Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories is an anthology of twelve short stories collected and edited by Michael Earp. This anthology collects a dozen short stories about being queer in Australia.

For the most part, I really like most of these contributions. Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories comprises of a dozen short stories about being queer in Australia. The stories are all incredibly diverse and it was great to see how each author brought something so interesting and incredible to each story as it was filled to the brim with emotion and pride.

Like most anthologies there are weaker contributions and Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories is not an exception. However, comparatively speaking, there are just a couple of short stories that were weaker than others, but regardless still impeccably done.

All in all, Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories is a wonderful anthology of short stories about being proud and queer in Oz.
Profile Image for Soph.
231 reviews22 followers
August 8, 2020
Mostly great collection and bonus! it includes work by a few friends.

(Warning: skip the Tsiolkas story. It's not YA, so I don't know why it was included here but the main reason for skipping is that the way it treats sexual abuse of teenagers is really awful)
Profile Image for a lamps.
51 reviews
May 9, 2021
I love reading queer books set in Australia, it just makes it so much better
Profile Image for Nick Parkinson.
122 reviews33 followers
May 17, 2020
This was a heart-warming read, and one I wish was on the syllabus when I was in highschool. Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories is a collection of twelve short stories with queer protagonists. There's a whole gambit of identities here, including great writing from QTIPoC, disabled and neurodiverse authors.

Personal faves: Jax Jacki Brown's heartwarming story about a wheelchair user's first crush (brilliant ending and great father figure), Nevo Zisin's equally heartwrenching and uplifting story about a gender diverse person with depression (again, the parental figure is so damn supportive!), Christos Tsiolkas' portrait of a same-sex couple who propose (the first time I've met likeable protagonists from Tsiolkas!), Ellen van Neerven's sobering look at the life of a queer Aboriginal woman in an (all-too-real) dystopian Australian future, and the inimitable Benjamin Law's short memoiristic piece about not needing to justify one's queerness (so many great quotes in this: gosh I adore him).

Not a 5-star read for me because some of the stories felt so bogged down in YA Tropes that it took away from the queer freshness of the rest of the anthology.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
62 reviews3 followers
July 30, 2020
I didn't finish all these stories before sending it back to the library, but they were so sweet. I'll get it again, but hope some young person picks it up first.
December 2, 2019
I was really enjoying the diversity in this anthology until I got to Laura Nyro at the Wedding by Christos Tsiollkas which ruined the whole book for me.

TW; CSA, contains spoilers for the story

To sum up the story, the protagonist wants his estranged father to attend his wedding, an interesting enough premise. Except: his father is a convicted pedophile, a former high school teacher who raped his fifteen year old student.

Already we're already in treacherous territory. There's room for such topics to be navigated sensitively without veering into pedophilia apologism. The protagonist's attachment to his father is understandable, he was scarcely ten when his father's crimes were made public and resented his family for cutting ties with the father, holding on to the man he loved from his childhood, unable to reconcile those memories with the man everyone now (rightly) labelled a monster.

It's a powder keg of a premise now and one needs careful handling. But the book not only spectacularly fails to do so, it also sends a very dangerous message to its target demographic of LGBT teens, espousing the idea that pedophilia is a morally complex issue. Instead of the protagonist as an adult realizing what a horrific and egregious abuse of power his father committed, we are invited to be sympathetic and understanding of the father. The father talks about how he "made a mistake" and that he "truly loved [his student]" and the protagonist echoes that the "sex was consensual".

Except this is not a morally grey issue at all. An underage CHILD cannot consent to sex with an adult under any circumstances, let alone a situation where the adult in question is HER TEACHER.

The protagonist gets into a heated argument when his boyfriend rightly points out that his father was an abuser, stating that the boyfriend has no right to say so since he was fourteen when he lost his virginity to an anonymous adult in a mall bathroom so if the boyfriend doesn't hold that man accountable, then he shouldn't hold his father accountable either. The boyfriend concedes to the protagonist's point.

To the author of this story and the editor of this anthology, I have to say: WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

So you have two victims of statutory rape in the book while the author goes to utterly uncomfortable lengths to ever avoid using the term. The story ends with the boyfriend calling the rapist father a "good man" and his treatment "unfair".

To present such a story to an audience of LGBT teenagers who are already vulnerable to abuse and predation is beyond morally reprehensible. Here's the message this story sends to teens: pedophiles are people who they can have loving relationships with, instead of abusers with power they should avoid.

It's inexcusable.
Profile Image for Duskangelreads.
163 reviews52 followers
June 20, 2019
Actual Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Stars

This review can also be found on Dusk Angel Reads

Rats by Marlee Jane Ward


This story wasn’t my favourite out of the book. It took me until about half way through the story to realise that this is set in either the future or an alternate Australia. There was some mention of robots and things, so that’s what gave it away eventually. My favourite part of this story was Maita! She was an interesting and fun character and I enjoyed her part of the story. The world & concept of the Rats was really interesting as well, once I figured out what was going on, and I would have liked to learn more about it but alas, the down fall of short stories, can’t be helped. The least interesting thing for me was the MC, whose name is I think Michelle. She was a bit flat for me and her attraction felt a bit forced.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass by Erin Gough


I actually enjoyed this one a fair bit! It was kinda odd, a little confusing and super interesting. I won’t give a way anything as I feel like you need to just go in and be confused like the rest of us. But I enjoyed our MC, Amy, there was some conflicting emotions & thoughts going on which I think was done well. Then there was a super odd and fun twist which I enjoyed too. This is one that I 100% would have kept reading if there was more too it! It left on a bit of a cliffhanger, I guess you could call it, with Boz and I am curious!

Bitter Draught by Michael Earp


This one had a fantasy element, which I loved! Ya’ll know, Fantasy is my stomping ground! My negative thing with this one is that is 100% felt like the first chapter of a book rather than a short story. Maybe that was intention, I don’t know but it just felt incomplete to me & wasn’t well rounded at all. The MC, Simeon felt very one dimensional. There wasn’t much too him besides being a tad annoying. I did enjoy Wyll though, I found him interesting & I loved that he choose to live & do what he wants rather than settling because that is what others want. Wren I am super curious about. We got barely any time with them but they interested me from the start. Would like to know more about them & the background of the magically side of the world.

I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown


First off, love all the rep in this one! Two Queer Wheelchair bound disabled females? Hell yeah! I really liked Drew in this story and I definitely preferred her to Jem. She is a very out going, accepting, open & free person which I really enjoyed. Jem was very much the other end of the spectrum, she was anxious, quiet, questioned her every action and was not the most confident when it came to being a disabled or queer person. I did enjoy the rep but Jem did irritate me a little and thats why I didn’t like her as much as Drew. The other character we meet is Jem’s dad who I actually really liked. Even if he didn’t fully understand he tried to help in his own way and it was always super sweet. This was a very character based story, so basically no world building.

Sweet by Claire G Coleman


Wow, just wow. This is my favourite story so far! This is set in a future alternate Australia and the concept of this world was so interesting! We got enough background to understand what was going on and the importance of the big reveal. There wasn’t much plot as this stories’ focus is definitely the characters and this world and I loved that! It was so unique and I would 100% read a full story by this author set in this world! Super vague, I know but you just need to read & experience this one for yourself!

Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin


Okay, straight up, I don’t get this one. I’m guessing that the darkness mentioned in this story is meant to represent depression but besides that I have no idea what happened in the story, I don’t get it and I don’t really see the point behind. If you do understand it then that is awesome, but I have no idea.

Waiting by Jen Wilde


Argh this was soo good! Jen Wilde has become and auto buy author for me after this! I’ve read Queens of Geek and loved it and now reading this, I loved it too! I want this story as a full novel so bad! Josie is freaking awesome and I love her! Audrey is amazing too and so strong for realising the bullshit and removing her self from it in a badass way! Vanessa I hated from the first sentence & Sully is just a dick. Everything about this story is well done, well written and just amazing! And SOO much Pride!! I really need to get my hands on a copy of The Brightsiders (i think it is) by Jen Wilde! LOVE IT!

Laura Nyro at the Weeding by Christos Tsiolkas


I didn’t love or dislike this one. I enjoyed that it is was from the view point of a seasoned queer couple (I guess you could call it), rather than new romance & a developing romance, unlike the other stories & really most of the LGBT+ books I have read. I also liked the other themes the story features but I just felt a little underwhelmed by this one. It was good, just didn’t wow me.
And on an unrelated note, I don’t see why this is in a YA anthology when the characters are much older than typical YA. It said in one part that the MC’s partner was 10 when their family moved 25 years ago, so that makes him 35? So unless the MC is with a much older person, then I don’t really think this is YA. There was a couple short sections set in the past when the MC was a kid & teen, but for the most part, not really YA.

Each City by Ellen Van Neerven


This is another confusing & underwhelming one. I get the general idea of the story but the writing was very bland & also very choppy. It felt like a long story with pieces removed to make it shorter. It was just kinda meh and I didn’t really care for it at all & still don’t really see any point or plot to it really.

An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool by Omar Sakr


I really didn’t care for this writing of this one. Did we really need to know about you washing your hairy armpits or your Aunties Tits shaking?!?! Nope, not at all. Story would of gone just the same without knowing the finer details thanks. I didn’t even finish this one, the writing was just annoying me too much.

Stormlines by Alison Evans


This was a decent story. It wasn’t amazing but it was interesting & enjoyable. The world was very interesting and I enjoyed learning about it. There isn’t really a plot to this one, it’s more about the characters & the world. Which I didn’t hate. We were learning about the characters & world enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the plot. I would probably continue reading this is there was more to it, mainly as I’m curious.

Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law


I really enjoyed this one. It was short and didn’t really have a plot, nor a real focus on characters specifically. It was more just kinda in the head of this one character. It makes you think & question things that you mat see as just ‘normal’ & I really liked that about it.


Average Rating of all stories: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Overall, there was good & bad in this book! I never go into anthologies expecting to love every story, it’s just not realistic. But overall, there were enough good stories to out way the average & bad ones. So I’m happy!
Profile Image for Brenna.
100 reviews
October 10, 2019

Short stories can be strange beasts and this collection was no exception. Weird, interesting, engaging, thought provoking. Worth a read.
Profile Image for ✨ Aaron Jeffery ✨.
549 reviews18 followers
May 22, 2021
This was a great short story collection. My favourite stories were Bitter Draught, light bulb and waiting. After reading this collection I definitely want to explore the authors works :)
Profile Image for Sarah Fairbairn.
Author 3 books37 followers
June 18, 2019
I was super excited when I first heard about Kindred. It’s always fantastic seeing queer fiction make it’s way out into the world. Even better when it’s a Aussie anthology with a diverse range of #OwnVoices authors. I was over the moon when Micheal Earp and Walker Books excepted our (the other #AusYaBloggers & readers group mods and I) pitch for hosting a queer only tour.

I made my way down to the Sydney Writers Festival’s YA day at Parramatta’s Riverside Theater buzzing with excitement to attend the Kindred panel. Hearing Micheal talk about how Kindred came to be and hearing some of the authors talk about their writing, only made me more excited to see the book in our tour participants hands. It’s now day five of the tour and it’s my stop.

This is the first anthology I’ve read that swaps genre. Anthology’s always have a theme, be it first kisses, summer holidays, landing on new planet etc. and in Kindred case, being Queer. I’ve only ever read anthologies where the stories are all sci-fi or contemporary romances etc.
When I first heard of Kindred I thought/assumed it was going to be a series of contemporary short stories where the authors fictionalised a positive queer experience for the benefit of teen readers new/struggling with their queerness. You know, to give them hope, and so they could see themselves represented etc. I guess really, this is what I had hoped Kindred would be.
Never the less the moving around of genres didn’t really bother me (most were contemporary anyways) as I do try to read a little of all genres for variety. I LOVED the variety of own voices rep! So ****ing awesome to see! It makes my heart sing!

BUUUUUT, Trigger warnings – homophobia, death of loved one, ableism, depression, racism, transphobia, pedophilia. Yeah it gets heavy folks. But life is heavy. Okay, I get that. But a story can get heavy and hard and dark, then still end up leaving you filled with light and hope and love. As far as positive examples for teens, I think Kindred may have missed the mark – but you’ll have to ask a teens option on that. I wanted happy queer stories to combat the ugly of the real world. But that’s what I wanted. I still think this is a brilliant and much needed collection and I hope it opens the door to more queer collections.

RATS by Marlee Jane Ward. F/F romance. I found this story a little odd. A semi futuristic world. Homeless teens know as rats. Some insta-love with a trouble seeking open air ”babe” and a “rat” tunnel dweller. Mostly I liked it.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS by Erin Gough. Questioning protagonist, f/f romance. A sweet and heartwarming contemporary story with a magical realism twist. I found it a delight to read.

BITTER DRAUGHT by Michael Earp. M/M relationship. Two young men, a sick little sister and a journey to see a witch to get a cure. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it had a sad ending. Why Micheal, why.

I LIKE YOUR ROTATION by Jax Jacki Brown. Lesbian wheelchair-using protagonist and love interest. Super sweet self discovery story focusing on the intersection of disability and identity, exploring friendship and sexuality. I really enjoyed it and would have loved to be able to have kept reading.

SWEET by Claire G. Coleman. POC non-binary protagonist. This one left me feeling really unsettled. It was a swap around story where the oppressed became the oppressors. It just felt harsh and bitter. And I worry it might be harmful to some younger readers.

LIGHT BULB by Nevo Zisin. Non-binary protagonist. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Dark and deep. I wholeheartedly loved it. It spoke to the darkness in my soul. My Jam! Maybe you’d class the story as horror? But to me there was nothing horrific about it. Please Nevo write more fiction!!!

WAITING by Jen Wilde. Autistic bisexual protagonist. Contemporary tale dealing with toxic friendships. A story with a happy ending! The protagonist finds people she feels comfortable being herself with. True friends in the making. And brownie points to Jen for the Brooklyn 99, Stephanie Beatriz nods!

LAURA NYRO AT THE WEDDING by Christos Tsiolkas. M/M relationship. No, just no. Totally inappropriate for a teen anthology! – The story is not even YA and the side subject matter (student/teacher relationship). I just…no. No.

EACH CITY by Ellen van Neerven. POC protagonist, f/f relationship. I found the story to have an abrupt unresolved ending. Didn’t feel like the story got to finish, felt like it was only just beginning and I want the rest. This just left me feeling empty and unsettled. Ellen, did she make it home? I need/want to know how it all played out.

AN ARAB WEREWOLF IN LONDON by Omar Sakr. Muslim gay protagonist, Muslim m/m love interest. Without the werewolf element this could have been a smoking hot m/m contemporary. But I really liked it as it was. I’ve got Omar’s These Wild Houses sitting on my shelf to read, but i’d also love to read more fiction like this from Omar!!

STORMLINES by Allison Evans. Non-binary protagonist. A heartwarming story about finding somewhere that feels like home.

QUESTIONS TO ASK STRAIGHT RELATIVES by Benjamin Law. Chinese/Australian gay protagonist, background m/m relationship. More personal essay then short story. But I loved it and felt it was the perfect way to finish of a queer anthology.
Profile Image for Trinity F.
164 reviews10 followers
June 12, 2019
Pride Month 2019 - Reading Challenge - Book 1

I received a free copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review and giveaway hosted on my instagram account @axiejadereads from the 14th of June to the 30th of June.

Kindred is a collection of Own Voices Australian LGBT+ short stories. It contains a total of 12 different stories, ranging in genre from contemporary to fantasy to dystopia. The authors vary in popularity, but each one brings a unique take on the experiences of LGBT+ people in Australia. I really enjoyed reading this collection. I was very impressed by how well crafted each story was, as usually I am not a fan of short story collections, but I can genuinely say that I did enjoy reading every story.

I was really impressed by the diverse representation. A lot of books that are praised for their representation of the LGBT+ community usually only represent white cisgender LGB people. But this collection was the complete opposite. There were a lot of different races and religions represented. There were many transgender, non-binary and genderqueer characters, as well as characters using they/them pronouns and other gender neutral pronouns. There was also a short story with the protagonist and her love interest both in wheelchairs and a story with autism representation and plus size characters. This near complete representation of the LGBT+ community was very impressive and pleasantly surprising.

My only complaint in regards to representation is that there was no asexual representation, or any identities under the asexual umbrella such as demisexual or grey-asexual. I really would have liked to see this represented, as those identities are regularly ignored within the LGBT+ community.

One of my personal favourite stories were Waiting by Jen Wilde, who is also the author of popular YA books such as Queens of Geek and The Brightsiders. Waiting follows a teenage girl in line at a convention, as she meets new people in her fandoms, but also feels held back by her friend and friend's boyfriend who are attending the convention with her, but do not care about any of her fandoms. I really related to this story, and I really enjoyed reading it.

I also really enjoyed reading Laura Nyro At The Wedding by Christos Tsiolkas, who is the author of The Slap. This story follows a man who has become engaged to his boyfriend, but only under the condition that his estranged father attend his wedding. I found the concept of this story really interesting, especially how the protagonist addressed his father's actions and his relationship with him.

Those two were definitly my favourite, but I also enjoyed reading Bitter Draught by Michael Earp, I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown, Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin and Stormlines by Allison Evans.

Overall, Kindred is an amazing short story collection. Each story feels so genuine and realistic towards an LGBT+ Australian experience. I recommend it to anyone who could ever feel interested.
Profile Image for Janelle.
1,980 reviews64 followers
July 13, 2019
Kindred is such a gem and love letter from the #loveozYA community.

There is so much diversity represented within its pages: not just of identities, but the intersection of identities. We get to read from Indigenous characters, disabled characters, bisexual characters, gay characters, non-binary and agender characters, queer Muslim characters, and combinations of all of the above. This anthology includes fantasy, magical realism, dystopia, contemporary, and more.

Individual ratings:

Rats - Marlee Jane Ward: 3.5/5 stars. This was an interesting little dystopian tale set in Melbourne CBD with a voice not unlike Jesse Andrews’ MunMun (which I loved!) Good to see some homelessness and queer non-binary intersectionality on the page.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass - Erin Gough: 5/5 stars. This dinner party with environmental themes felt so damn magical. It feels like anything is possible.

Bitter Draught - Michael Earp: 1/5 stars. I was bored by this M/M story of two boys off to see a non-binary witch. I didn’t like the writing, the pacing was odd, and the obstacles were all conveniently and quickly surmounted.

I Like Your Rotation - Jax Jacki Brown: 5/5 stars and my FAVOURITE of the collection. It reminded me of Juliet Takes a Breath in that we have a baby queer who uses a wheelchair and struggling to navigate the language and discourse around her queer disabled identity. There’s a gorgeous exploration of a new friendship and the father-daughter dynamic was beautifully awkward.

Sweet - Claire G Coleman: 3.5/5 stars. There’s some interesting Indigenous and non-binary representation in this futuristic dystopian story, but it needed more world-building and exploration because the gender discussion came off half-baked and problematic.

Light Bulb - Nevo Zisin: 5/5 stars. I adored this sad, dark metaphorical exploration of gender dysphoria, grief, and depression.

Waiting - Jen Wilde: 5/5 stars. This cute tale of fandom, queer girls, and ditching toxic “friends” absolutely won my heart. WE STAN A BICON!

Laura Nyro at the Wedding - Christos Tsiolkas: 5/5 stars. This was a beautifully written M/M story of reconciling with family and overcoming past trauma, but I will concede that it feels like an adult story and I have some….questions….about the pedophilia.

Each City - Ellen van Neerven: 4/5 stars. I wanted a bit more world-building, but otherwise enjoyed this dystopian thriller with architectural themes that focuses on the treatment of Indigenous people by the government.

An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool - Omar Sakr: 2/5 stars. I didn’t connect with this at all. I didn’t like the writing, there are no scene transitions, and it was never clear if it’s allegory or fantastical - and not in a deliberate way. I appreciated the queer Muslim rep but thats it.

Stormlines - Alison Evans: 3/5 stars. I looooved this eco post-apocalyptic world but it needed some further world-building to really pull me in.

Questions to Ask Straight Relatives - Benjamin Law: 5/5 stars. This beautifully written piece questions the status quo and examines being queer in Hong Kong versus Australia, internalised homophobia, AND how we code ourselves as queer. I need to read more Benjamin Law work IMMEDIATELY.

Average rating: 3.91 stars (we’ll just say 4 stars). As with any anthology there were stories I loved and some that were less than impressive, but I nonetheless enjoyed my experience dipping into one Kindred story a day during Pride Month. This a valuable resource and I wish I’d had something like it growing up!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 93 reviews

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