cover image Summer Love: An LGBTQ Collection

Summer Love: An LGBTQ Collection

Edited by Annie Harper. Interlude/Duet (, $15.95 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-1-941530-36-8

Nine sweet and hopeful short stories follow the summer romances of queer teenagers. Many of the writers are first-time authors, and the quality of the stories varies. H.J. Coulter's "My Best Friend," about a strong gay-straight friendship, has an appealing premise, though the epistolary format comes across as contrived. Strong characters distinguish Amy Stilgenbauer's "The Fire-Eater's Daughter," set against the backdrop of a traveling circus, though the story ends abruptly. As in many summer romances, there are stolen kisses at camp or during sudden downpours, but just as important are the moments when protagonists learn to love themselves: in Caroline Hanlin's "Something Like Freedom," a Christian teen forced to leave home finds strength to follow his own path without having "to ask anyone's permission," while in Ella J. Ash's "Surface Tension," a camp counselor with his first boyfriend discovers he can have "a belief in the present, not just the imaginary future." Suzey Ingold's "The Willow Weeps for Us," about two English young men who fall in love on the brink of WWII, is a particularly tender tale with many dreamy scenes. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (June)