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Night Of the Living Queers – Boogieman in Lavender

This is the seventh (wow!) installment of our “On Beyond Cisgender” feature, where we look at books for YA readers (whether written for them or not!) It was initially inspired by a Facebook post from A. M. Leibowitz lamenting the lack of LGBT, non-cisgender, non POC books for High School readers several years ago. There aren’t a lot of good original anthologies aimed at LGBT YA audiences out there, and this one is appropriate for the season. —–jeff

Just in time for Halloween, Wednesday Books has published “Night Of the Living Queers,” a YA anthology edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown. Both Page and Brown describe themselves as “queer women of color” which is the crux and purpose of the anthology.

As they explain in the introduction “…we often feel overlooked and underrepresented…the intersection of queerness and ethnic diversity is functionally invisible in most things, horror included.”

And “Night Of the Living Queers” presents thirteen (of course!) stories by LGBT authors of color involving similar characters; young adults who face the eerie and strange on a Halloween Night topped with a full Moon, a Blue Moon as it is the second full Moon of the month.

Here are some samples from this Trick Or Treat bag of dark goodies:

The stories include “Rocky Road With Caramel Drizzle” by Kosoko Jackson (he/him) in which a teen faces the first anniversary of a Gay bashing that left him with an injured wrist and emotional trauma. An unwise session with a Ouija board summons something very dark that requires Julian’s pain…

A grim, dark and well-written story.

Alex Brown’s “The Three Phases of Ghost-Hunting” opens with the lines; “The ghost of a pirate haunts the Golden City Mall Food Court.” Two high-school girlfriends investigate in a tale that is funny and spooky in all the right places.

“Nine Stops” by Trang Thanh Tran includes the ominous line “…on the internet, you’re never really alone.”

Our unnamed narrator and her friend Ramon are traveling across New York City’s subway platforms and subways watching a viral video that may be something worse than just grotesque.

“Leyla Mendoza and the Last House On the Lane” by Maya Gittelman features a trans main character who has a Halloween night encounter in a spooky neighborhood house with a wizard who is more than he seems.

And the story is told in the not-that-often-used second person…

The stories run the gamut from affirming to gross-out to comedic to spooky to a few that are very dark indeed.

The characters range across the LGBT spectrum as well as across a wide variety of ethnic diversity including Dominican, Filipino, Vietnamese and all mixtures of American.

All in all, “Night of the Living Queers” is a fine addition to the canon of tales for the nights of long shadows, flickering candles in pumpkins and cold, pale full Moons surveying the scene.

Here’s a link for “Night Of the Living Queers” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61775756-night-of-the-living-queers

Jeff Baker’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the online ‘zine “RoMMantic Reads” https://rommanticreads.wordpress.com/ and the Amazing Stories site. He has a story coming out in the forthcoming QSF anthology “Rise.” He blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror around the thirteenth of each month in this same space. His Mom and Dad actually met on a blind date to a College Halloween party (how’s THAT for foreshadowing?) and he had ancestors accused of being witches at Salem. Jeff regularly posts fiction on his blog https://authorjeffbaker.com/ and wastes time on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679510827

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