All Out: The No Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout The Ages is a collection of fictional stories that focus on the lives of people who are all connected under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. This anthology is full of work by exceptional writers who have taken historical elements and woven them into diverse stories that span the globe.
This anthology provides positive and relatable LGBTQ+ representation for not only teen readers, but for anyone who chooses to read this exceptional book. All Out primarily focuses on real world relationships, but there are also elements of the supernatural that make brief appearances throughout. While many books presented on the topic of LGBTQ+ youth focus primarily on male/male and female/female relationships there are narratives focused on transitioning within All Out. The first story in the collection “Roja” focuses on a young woman who has fallen for a man who has transitioned. She is the only person he has ever shared his birth name with and she treasures the trust that he has placed in her. The idea of becoming who you truly are also appears in the retelling of Robin Hood titled “Every Shade of Red.”
While I loved the entire collection the two stories that I kept thinking of were “The Dresser and The Chambermaid” and “The Inferno and The Butterfly.” In the first story is set at Kensington Palace in 1796. Princess Amelia has a new dresser from the country and her current chambermaid is a bit upset by this new development. She had hoped to be made the new dresser, but this new girl is here and their first meeting does not go smoothly. While the chambermaid is adjusting, so is the new dresser who has never been inside a palace before. When she fails to do the princess’ hair correctly, the dresser is asked to meet with the chambermaid to learn what the princess expects her hair to look like. As the two of them begin spending time together a relationship grows and they begin to connect in a romantic way. The end of this specific story was so cute and I adored both of the young women. “The Inferno and The Butterfly” focuses on two young men living in London in 1839. Alfie works for The Mystic Mycroft as the assistant in his magic act, but when another magician introduces a trick known as The Butterfly their audience begins to dwindle. His master insists that he must learn the secret to this trick that threatens to close their act, but Alfie finds something surprisingly more magical than he expected. During his investigation, he meets Wilhelm, the other magician’s assistant. The two of them connect so strongly, but they worry that they can never be together. This story has a hint of the supernatural and I loved the connection between Wilhelm and Alfie that grows over the course of the narrative.
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