Belge, Kathy, and Marke Bieschke. Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens. San Francisco: Zest Books, 2011. Paperback. 208pp. $14.99. ISBN: 978-9819733-4-0.

Until society treats people with traits such as brunette hair, tall stature, and queerness with the same nonchalance, LGBT books like this one are needed to help teens navigate their journey through their adolescent years, or as the authors state, “Being different, of course, is something to celebrate. But it also means that sometimes you feel like you are from another planet. If so, think of us as your tour guides to Planet Queer!”

Included in this chatty conversation about living the gay life are topics such as coming out (to yourself and others), finding your people, homophobia, dating and relationships, and a frank discussion of queer sex in all of its varieties. While much of the information offered is just good life advice (the section on first date pointers includes tips such as: keep it short, don’t advertise, take it slow, don’t play games), Queer also shares suggestions more specific to LGBT teens (such as the beauty of not having preconceived gender roles and having the opportunity to make your own dating rules). Transgender issues (such as making sure that your date knows that your biology doesn’t match your psychology) are also covered.

Insert boxes offer additional information, such as gay history (along with dates at the top that address that tricky issue of timeliness), and life stories from the gay and lesbian authors that tie into the current topic. Christian Robinson’s cartoon illustrations enhance the text and often add levity. Finally, a resource section contains web links and books that offer additional information for teens.

As a school librarian and GSA advisor, I deal with a number of LGBT students on a daily basis and am privy to their triumphs, disappointments, challenges, and successes. As I read this book, I found the answers to each of the questions and concerns that I often hear voiced. This title contains similar content to GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens, by Kelly Huegel; however Queer has a more informal, conversational tone. Strongly recommended for high school and YA collections.


Reviewed by, Sharon Flesher-Duffy
Library Media Specialist
Nashua High South (NH)


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