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How Beautiful the Ordinary

by Michael Cart

Published by HarperTeen / HarperCollins, 2009
350 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-115498-0

Ages 15 and older

Twelve short stories—ten in prose, two in graphic novel form—explore gay, lesbian, and transgender experience. David Levithan’s beautiful, breathtaking opening piece features contemporary teens unafraid of being themselves who are watched—and watched over—by the caring spirits of those who lived and loved in much more frightening times. But the singular collection is especially notable for its transgender content. Jacqueline Woodson offers an arresting, affirming portrait of a young transgender child, while Jennifer Finney Boylan describes the day a teen takes the first courageous step into the outside world as his—her—true self. Not every offering is a literary standout, but all offer realistically hopeful looks at GLBTQ life in a collection that features protagonists ranging from child to adult, and stories that are often intensely emotional and sometimes explicitly sexual. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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