The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities [NOOK Book]

Overview

Teens are more aware of sexuality and identity than ever, and they’re looking for answers and insights, as well as a community of others. In order to help create that community, YA authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell have collected original poems, essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. The Full Spectrum includes a variety of writers—gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning, and questioning—on a variety of ...
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The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities

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Overview

Teens are more aware of sexuality and identity than ever, and they’re looking for answers and insights, as well as a community of others. In order to help create that community, YA authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell have collected original poems, essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. The Full Spectrum includes a variety of writers—gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning, and questioning—on a variety of subjects: coming out, family, friendship, religion/faith, first kisses, break-ups, and many others.

This one of a kind collection will, perhaps, help all readers see themselves and the world around them in ways they might never have imagined. We have partnered with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and a portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to them.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection succeeds in being truly inclusive. Editors Levithan (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, reviewed May 1) and Merrell have carefully selected young people with various identities, from gay and bisexual to transgendered, who tell their own stories through essays, poems and, in one case, photography. The candor of these tales will immediately grab the attention of readers. Narrators range from a gay Boy Scout backpacking instructor to a college student in Iowa struggling to carve out an ambiguous gender ("My problem is that I don't want this `girl-thing' hanging over me. I'm caught between the effort of being a guy and the struggle to not forget where I'm from") to a girl finding the strength to tell her best friend that she loves her. Often heartbreaking, the stories also include plenty of difficult material, from physical abuse to homelessness, but also warm moments, such as a gay man remembering the night his older military-bound brother "telling me he loved me just the way I was." They can be funny, too (one gay student, who had always had a lot of female friends, begins carrying feminine hygiene products to school in order to show support for his girlfriends, something that "gained me the importance of a drug dealer"). The quality varies, but overall, readers will be impressed by the bravery of the young authors here, and the clarity with which they present their experiences. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Forty people contributed to this collection, presenting the experiences of a new generation of young adults. The talent herein is as obvious as the pain, the sadness is as real as the relief, and the ugliness is as true as the beauty. The diversity in these stories seems amazing and logical as each person is unique from the others. Although a few entries get lost in ramblings and memories, the reader quickly realizes how it would be inappropriate to silence their voices yet again. Other stories are so skillfully crafted that the reader will become part of the experience and will wish that the story is one chapter in a full novel available now. This reviewer missed the interesting author biographies that one finds in other anthologies. The styles vary, with some stories told in straight narrative, and others in verse or letters. These last became favorites. Queer: Five Letters contains letters written to people whom Kat Wilson had known while growing up, including a fifth grade teacher, a chosen teenage role model, mother and father, the mother of a girl she tutored, and a family friend who died of AIDS. These brief letters weave together a survival story. Another person's story is told in The Most Important Letter of Our Life, written by JoSelle Vanderhooft at twenty-three to her sixteen-year-old self, warning and encouraging her teen self not to give up. Find it at http://www.glsen.org. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, Random House, 288p., PLB and Trade pb. Ages 12 to Adult.
—C. J. Bott
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Using works submitted anonymously through the Web site the authors created in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Levithan and Merrell have selected 40 essays, mini-autobiographies, poems, and photographs that chronicle the lives of 21st-century young people, ages 13 to 23. The handsomely dense package includes real-life stories about coming out, falling in and out of love, mistaken identities, families and friends, misplaced affection, confronting homophobia, and more. A female-to-male transsexual teen describes a first trip into the men's restroom. A young man recalls his close relationship with a trash-talking, pot-smoking, horror-movie-loving burnout, illustrating the blurry lines that exist between romance and friendship. While nearly half of the installments tell the stories of young gay men, a sizable chunk is devoted to lesbians, and more than half a dozen pieces are about transgendered youth. While many of the stories recall memories of isolation, others delve into a young person's awareness and involvement in a queer community. As a whole, the collection is comprehensive, complex, and the perfect title to put into the hands of teens who approach the information desk asking for real stories about coming out and coming to terms with anything remotely GLBTQ.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Forty essays by 13- to 23-year-olds range from sweet to salty to bitter-the flavors of growing up gay, lesbian or transgender in the contemporary world. Subjects include first love and first breakups, and relating to parents, siblings, friends and God. A queer Christian woman fights and preaches and waits until she can be ordained in the United Methodist Church. A femme gay boy supplies tampons to girls at school. Voices range from vernacular ("My dad found out I'm gay. Isn't it funny how, like, last week I was thinking about coming out to him and then BAM! he finds out)" to startlingly poetic ("My poems used to be shy; they used to stand in front of the mirror / and complain about their bloated syntax and pimpled thematic structure. / But now they leave the house in couplets. . . . "). Bisexual-themed content is under-represented, but transgender voices emerge strong. No story here will raise a blush-there's no explicit sex-but this emotionally spicy collection will inspire identification, compassion and hope in readers queer or not. (Nonfiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307485199
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/24/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 372,219
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

David Levithan
David Levithan
David Levithan has said that with Boy Meets Boy, he "set out to write the book that I dreamed of getting as an editor -- a book about gay teens that doesn't conform to the old norms about gay teens in literature." According to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program -- and his rabid readers of all ages -- he's succeeded.

Good To Know

In our interview with Levithan, he shared some fun factoids with us:

"This book started out as a Valentine story I sent to friends; I've done that for the past 15 years, and this one happened to turn into a novel."

"Since January 1, 2001, I've taken a photograph every day, part of a New Year's resolution that shows no signs of stopping."

"My friend Kristin and I decorate each other's offices for our birthdays, and as a result I am surrounded by a year's worth of small celebrations, from mobiles to woodcuts of the Eiffel Tower to (this year's decoration) photos from my childhood.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hoboken, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      1972
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1994

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2006

    Full Spectrum

    So what happens when you gather up a group of young, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and other label-full or label-free writers and ask them to share a real life experience to be published in a book? ANSWER: The Full Spectrum. A collection of non-fiction stories that can be found in the fiction section of your favorite library or bookstore. Why the fiction section you ask? Fiction sells. Anthologies come and go, come and go, usually unnoticed and dammit!- we don¿t want this book to just `go¿. We need its readers to find it first. This book is out there so that you realize, finally realize, that you¿re not alone. Oh sure, your closet¿s cramped, there¿s no leg room in that 4X4 box that only fits you and your fears but...the book is small. Structured perfectly to fit the hands of anyone who wants to let a little laughter, a little heartache, a little hope and reality into their life. The writers...yes, we¿re young. Teenagers and random 20-somethin¿ year olds, but our stories(experiences) are ageless. So, look for the heartbreakingly beautiful book chock-full `o non-fiction in the fiction section of any store that sells books. We wanted to share a little piece of ourselves with you and hope you'll get something from it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 8, 2009

    =) it was good.

    this book was very interesting it made me realize that im not the only one out there with like big issues about being half gay. it really helped me come out a liitle bit more and be happy for who i am and not be ashamed. you should totaly read this book even if your not gay its good to learn new stuff about people's lifes.<BR/><BR/><BR/>-michelle.lynn.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Mi

    We live in mi. He is a white ginger who is very funny. Hive me ur email and i will give it to him if he is interested.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Canada

    Depending on your situation you might want to wait but if you dont then i suggest googling coming out to homophobic parents. Stay strong and find other lbgt members you can talk to for support. I wish you luck! Lilith

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Be my friend at krystal.ruff11@gmail.com

    Add me

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    ...

    ...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Important and compelling true stories

    The pieces in this anthology tackle a myriad of topics: coming out, religion, first love, unaccepting parents/peers, religion, supportive parents/peers, the Boy Scouts, the military, religion(!); in a variety of settings: high school, New Your City, college, junior high, Egypt. They are written by young people who fall under the umbrella term "queer," but identify as gay, bi, trans, lesbian, gender-variant, and more. Some of the pieces are positive and affirming, some speak of overcoming unbearable hardship and hate, some end as hopeless as they began. All of them are important and valid, just like the young people who wrote them.

    As a collection, The Full Spectrum is ambitious. It strives to present a multitude of experiences and identities, and it does. The mix of guys and girls, trans or not, is great. The mix of topics is also expansive, and given how much religion is mentioned, the mix of opinions on it is also widely variant. Also the mix of poetry, prose, letters, and diary entries was great. I never felt bogged down in too much angsty poetry or journal writing; all was in balance. This mix of writing styles will, hopefully, make this book accessible and attractive to readers of all stripes.

    My main problem was with the editing. Some of these pieces are beautiful bits of polished writing. Some of them are not. I imagine this has a lot to do with the state they were in when they were submitted. Many of these pieces were written by young people about the most traumatic periods of their lives! Everything is in their writing and everything is raw. Everything. It is completely understandable that some of them lack polish. These pieces could have used the guidance of a good editor, and it is a shame that they didn't get it. That said, these stories are compelling, each and every one. If I, an almost-30-year-old, engaged, queer woman had such a strong reaction to this book, I cannot even begin to imagine how much solace and revelation this book could provide for someone still going through the experiences described there in. I saw myself in these stories. I saw my friends. Everyone deserves to be able to see themselves in stories like these too.


    Book source: I bought it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    It was only a few weeks ago that I read AM I BLUE?: COMING OUT OF THE SILENCE edited by Marion Dane Bauer. That book is filled with fictional stories dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, and is a book I highly recommend. I was very happy to see THE FULL SPECTRUM, edited by the talented authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell, hit the shelves. THE FULL SPECTRUM is not fiction. It's filled with many, many stories--some long, some very short--that are mini-memoirs of the individual author. This book covers all of the ups and downs, the sadness and joy, of being homosexual, transgender, questioning, or bisexual.<BR/><BR/>There are so many great personal stories in this book that I'm unable to choose a favorite. Instead, I'm going to list every entry that is included, for the simple fact that these authors, these very real individuals speaking from personal experience, deserve a round of applause for bringing these issues to the awareness of each and every one of us.<BR/><BR/>O.K. by Courtney Gillette<BR/>A GAY GRAMMAR by Gabe Bloomfield<BR/>IT'S NOT CONFIDENTIAL, I'VE GOT POTENTIAL by Eugenides Fico<BR/>SNOW AND HOT ASPHALT by Benjamin Zumsteg<BR/>WHEN YOU'RE A GAY BOY IN AMERICA by Danny Zaccagnino<BR/>I SMELL THE GAS OF MY FATHER'S FISHING BOAT by Adam K. Boehmer<BR/>FOURTH OF JULY by Lauren Rile Smith<BR/>MY DIARY: DOCUMENTED. DONE. by L. Canale<BR/>CRYING WOLFE by Jack Lienke<BR/>TRANS-VENTURES OF AN F2M by Alexzander Colin Rasmussen<BR/>QUEER: FIVE LETTERS by Kat Wilson<BR/>FALLING OFF MY BIKE AND RIDING INTO THE SUNSET by Christopher Wilcox<BR/>THE NIGHT MARC HALL WENT TO THE PROM by J. J. Deogracias<BR/>DON'T TELL ME THAT I'M OVERLY SENSITIVE AND PARANOID by Alex Weissman<BR/>MY POEMS by Isaac Oliver<BR/>SACAGAWEA by Laura Heston<BR/>A FAIRY'S TALE by Travis Stanton<BR/>A BOY IN THE GIRLS' BATHROOM by Dylan Forest<BR/>OUR SPACE by Jovencio de la Paz<BR/>FOUR PHOTOS by Justin Levesque<BR/>BREAK-UP IN SLOW MOTION by Joshua Dalton<BR/>A STORY CALLED "HER" by Alison Young<BR/>MOMENT: THIS COULD'VE BEEN ME by Evin Hunter<BR/>A QUIETLY QUEER REVOLUTION by Laci Lee Adams<BR/>HATCHBACK by Kaitlyn Tierney Duggan<BR/>WALKING THE TRACKS by Eric Knudsen<BR/>THE MOST IMPORTANT LETTER OF OUR LIFE by JoSelle Vanderhooft<BR/>WITHOUT A TRACE by Anthony Rella<BR/>BODY ISN'T THIS by Zara Iris<BR/>NICE ASS by Jesse Cameron Alick<BR/>"GIRL + FAGGOTS" by Caspian Gray<BR/>SOMETHING FOR THE LADIES by Danny Thanh<BR/>CLICK AND DRAG by Joel de Vera Moncada<BR/>JILL SOBULE AND FOUR OTHER TORTURE DEVICES by Ella Pye<BR/>GAYDAR by Jesse Bernstein<BR/>THE SHORT VERSION by Grover Wehman<BR/>ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by Stefanie Davis<BR/>THAT NIGHT by Matthew Mayo<BR/>CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE by Tyrell Pough<BR/>THREE SUNSETS by Robert Brittain<BR/><BR/>The truly wonderful thing about this book isn't just that it deals with issues that many people still feel are taboo, but the fact that they raise awareness in everyone who reads it that being different doesn't really mean being different. Whether you're heterosexual or homosexual, male or female or transgender, clear in your sexuality or questioning, there are things that everyone can learn from reading the stories included in THE FULL SPECTRUM. Add to that fact that part of the proceeds of the sale of the book are being donated to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and you have one more reason to pick up a copy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    a reviewer

    It was only a few weeks ago that I read AM I BLUE?: COMING OUT OF THE SILENCE edited by Marion Dane Bauer. That book is filled with fictional stories dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, and is a book I highly recommend. I was very happy to see THE FULL SPECTRUM, edited by the talented authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell, hit the shelves. THE FULL SPECTRUM is not fiction. It's filled with many, many stories--some long, some very short--that are mini-memoirs of the individual author. This book covers all of the ups and downs, the sadness and joy, of being homosexual, transgender, questioning, or bisexual. There are so many great personal stories in this book that I'm unable to choose a favorite. Instead, I'm going to list every entry that is included, for the simple fact that these authors, these very real individuals speaking from personal experience, deserve a round of applause for bringing these issues to the awareness of each and every one of us. O.K. by Courtney Gillette A GAY GRAMMAR by Gabe Bloomfield IT'S NOT CONFIDENTIAL, I'VE GOT POTENTIAL by Eugenides Fico SNOW AND HOT ASPHALT by Benjamin Zumsteg WHEN YOU'RE A GAY BOY IN AMERICA by Danny Zaccagnino I SMELL THE GAS OF MY FATHER'S FISHING BOAT by Adam K. Boehmer FOURTH OF JULY by Lauren Rile Smith MY DIARY: DOCUMENTED. DONE. by L. Canale CRYING WOLFE by Jack Lienke TRANS-VENTURES OF AN F2M by Alexzander Colin Rasmussen QUEER: FIVE LETTERS by Kat Wilson FALLING OFF MY BIKE AND RIDING INTO THE SUNSET by Christopher Wilcox THE NIGHT MARC HALL WENT TO THE PROM by J. J. Deogracias DON'T TELL ME THAT I'M OVERLY SENSITIVE AND PARANOID by Alex Weissman MY POEMS by Isaac Oliver SACAGAWEA by Laura Heston A FAIRY'S TALE by Travis Stanton A BOY IN THE GIRLS' BATHROOM by Dylan Forest OUR SPACE by Jovencio de la Paz FOUR PHOTOS by Justin Levesque BREAK-UP IN SLOW MOTION by Joshua Dalton A STORY CALLED 'HER' by Alison Young MOMENT: THIS COULD'VE BEEN ME by Evin Hunter A QUIETLY QUEER REVOLUTION by Laci Lee Adams HATCHBACK by Kaitlyn Tierney Duggan WALKING THE TRACKS by Eric Knudsen THE MOST IMPORTANT LETTER OF OUR LIFE by JoSelle Vanderhooft WITHOUT A TRACE by Anthony Rella BODY ISN'T THIS by Zara Iris NICE ASS by Jesse Cameron Alick 'GIRL + FAGGOTS' by Caspian Gray SOMETHING FOR THE LADIES by Danny Thanh CLICK AND DRAG by Joel de Vera Moncada JILL SOBULE AND FOUR OTHER TORTURE DEVICES by Ella Pye GAYDAR by Jesse Bernstein THE SHORT VERSION by Grover Wehman ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by Stefanie Davis THAT NIGHT by Matthew Mayo CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE by Tyrell Pough THREE SUNSETS by Robert Brittain The truly wonderful thing about this book isn't just that it deals with issues that many people still feel are taboo, but the fact that they raise awareness in everyone who reads it that being different doesn't really mean being different. Whether you're heterosexual or homosexual, male or female or transgender, clear in your sexuality or questioning, there are things that everyone can learn from reading the stories included in THE FULL SPECTRUM. Add to that fact that part of the proceeds of the sale of the book are being donated to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and you have one more reason to pick up a copy. **Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka 'The Genius'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 3, 2010

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    Posted August 11, 2010

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