cover image Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence

Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence

. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (273pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024253-4

For the first-ever anthology of YA fiction devoted to lesbian and gay themes, Bauer ( On My Honor ) has assembled original stories by a stellar list of popular children's and YA authors, among them M. E. Kerr, Nancy Garden, William Sleator, Jane Yolen, C. S. Adler and Bruce Coville. With subjects ranging from first love to coming out, self-discovery to homophobia, the collection offers an eclectic mix of voices. Newbery winner Lois Lowry, for example, contributes ``Holding,'' a poignant tale of a high school student who confides in his best friend after the death of his gay father's lover, while Francesca Lia Block weighs in with the wonderfully quirky ``Winnie and Teddy,'' in which a teenager comes out to his girlfriend during a momentous road trip to San Francisco. Perhaps the book's most powerful moments are provided by Jacqueline Woodson's shimmering ``Slipping Away,'' a painful look at one girl's discovery that there are some tests that a friendship simply cannot withstand; and Gregory Maguire's ``The Honorary Shepherds,'' which deftly employs the language of a film treatment to describe two mixed-race students who collaborate on a school video project. Honest, well-written and true to life, these stories will do much to address the gap in gay literature for teens. Part of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Ages 12-up. (June)