cover image The Queer Girl Is Going to Be Okay

The Queer Girl Is Going to Be Okay

Dale Walls. Levine Querido, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-6461-4-2705

Art imitates life in Walls’s timely and emotionally raw debut. When transgender Latinx teen Dawn, an aspiring director, learns that the early version of her documentary on queer love, The Queer Girl Is Going to Be Okay, has moved on to the second round of judging in the 30th annual Austin Film Festival, she’s eager to finish and submit the final short film. If her feature does well, she could receive a full-ride scholarship to the University of Texas, money she desperately needs as her ailing father’s sole caretaker. To round out her movie, Dawn wants to document queer love and “all its caveats and inconveniences” through the perspectives of her friends Georgia and Edie. Meanwhile, Korean American wordsmith Georgia’s close relationship with her mother is jeopardized by Mom’s new boyfriend, whose unpredictable behavior makes Georgia uneasy, and Edie, who is Black, feels compelled to hide her nonbinary partner from her family due to her religious upbringing. Via the girls’ alternating POVs and interview excerpts from Dawn’s documentary, Walls expertly navigates sometimes-overwhelming feelings of grief, internalized self-hatred, and love, as well as the complexity of queer teenage relationships. As the protagonists encounter mental health struggles, misgendering, and sexual harassment, their close-knit friendship highlights queer platonic love, and emphasizes how chosen family gives them a safe space to weather any storm. Ages 12–up. Agent: Garrett Alwert, Emerald City Literary. (Nov.)