NONFICTION

Out!: How To Be Your Authentic Self

Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2020. 224p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419739941.
COPY ISBN
Gr 8 Up–YouTuber and LGBTQIA+ activist McKenna, a self-described “queer, transgender, twenty-something-year-old guy who tries to be funny on the Internet,” crafts an affirming and refreshing guide to understanding sexuality, gender identity, and coming out. Focusing on self-acceptance and authenticity, McKenna reminds teens there’s no right or wrong way to come out. He offers an informative play-by-play of his own coming out and transition. The text is interspersed with lists on topics such as how to come out at school, including a template letter to administrators. Opening this book is like diving straight into McKenna’s Instagram page—there are bright, full-page selfies and Polaroids. Illustrated elements also include handwritten journal entries and colorful text boxes providing biographical information on LGBTQIA+ historical figures. Slang, hashtags, and humor are peppered throughout the text, conveying a modern tone that will appeal to teens. McKenna acknowledges his own white privilege but does not delve into the possible challenges an LGBTQIA+ person of color can experience. Extensive back matter includes a glossary, a recipe for rainbow cake, a playlist, a gallery of fan art, and thoroughly researched online resources for LGBTQ+ youth and allies.
VERDICT Any teen with questions about gender identity and/or sexuality will find heart, humor, and essential guidance in McKenna’s book, and so will the adults looking to support them. An indispensable first purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?