We know the classic stories, myths, and history. One can imagine Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Robin Hood and the Merry Men, and the lake nymphs that tempt mankind.
But what if Red was a Latina woman with red hair and rage that could kill? What if her wolf was a French soldier, imprisoned and had a secret? That the lovely wolf was born a woman and saved his country whilst hiding his chest under canvas?
All Out: The No-Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teen Through the Ages is a compilation of short-stories written by 17 different young adult fiction authors who identify themselves within the queer spectrum. It retells old fairy tales with a queer spin and also tells stories of teenagers throughout history and their discoveries of their own sexuality and gender identity.
It tackles many different identities and spans different cultures. One can read the fear of a young gay man as he discoveries his attractions whilst working in an artist’s workshop during the 15th century. One can see a young Chinese girl during the 1950s become intrigued by a drag king (a woman, usually queer-identified, who dresses up as a man for performance purpose) when they visit Chinatown during the Chinese New Years’ celebrations. Another can read a teenager girl come to terms with her asexuality whilst rollerblading at the disco.
The stories have their own grasps of the queer struggle. From running from an accepting family, the internal conflict of not wanting to be, to fear of first love, to the acceptance of it. Some stories have a romantic ending while others ends in the character accepting themselves outside of a relationship.
The book is a good read and has light sexual allusions, but no explicit descriptions or acts. If one has a reader to buy a gift for or someone interested in queer literature, it is a good Christmas gift. It can be snagged at Amazon.