Color Outside the Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna – An Anthology About Interracial Relationships; A Heartfelt Celebration of the Diversity of Love

TEXT: Color Outside the Lines: Stories about Love, edited by Sangu Mandanna. Hands of different skin tones holding each other frame the image. Bottom right corner: Xiaolong the pink axolotl with an upside down flower hat at the center of a stamp, with the text "Review by CW, The Quiet Pond" around it.
Summary:

This modern, groundbreaking YA anthology explores the complexity and beauty of interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships where differences are front and center.

When people ask me what this anthology is about, I’m often tempted to give them the complicated answer: it’s about race, and about how being different from the person you love can matter but how it can also not matter, and it’s about Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, colonial India, a flower festival, a garden of poisons, and so, so much else. Honestly, though? I think the answer’s much simpler than that. Color outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful people in love.—Sangu Mandanna, editor of Color outside the Lines

CW’s review:

A few years ago, I talked about how I craved a good story about interracial relationships beyond a superficial portrayal. I wanted a story that examined the ups and downs of being in an interracial relationship, to illustrate the complexities and the challenges and the dynamics and the unexpected joys and challenges of being in an interracial relationship. Such a book would have held my whole heart with its words, as I craved to see my experiences of being in an interracial relationship depicted in a story. Thus, when I saw that Eric Smith, one of the contributing authors to the anthology, announced that Sangu Mandanna was editing the Color Outside the Lines anthology, I was over the moon; I was thrilled beyond words.

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Guest Feature: Exploring Queer Identity & Faith – The Authors of KEEP FAITH Talk About What Their Stories Mean To Them

Keep Faith: A Queer Anthology banner, with Xiaolong the axolotl reading Keep Faith.

Xiaolong may be taking a little break from all her magical duties at the Pond, but you do occasionally like to visit her at the Pond and sit next to her for some quiet reading time.

But today, it doesn’t look like ‘quiet reading time’ is going to happen. Rather, the Pond feels very loud.

You hear laughter and the soft buzz of camaraderie by the Pond. As you approach, you see that the Pond is filled with a lot of Xiaolong’s visiting friends! There’s an octopus in the Pond itself, an intersex flag in eir’s arms, a gray and white narwhal sipping some boba while chatting to a gray tabby wearing a black and white shirt, and a beautiful and terrifying gumiho who stares at you as you enter. And over there, by Xiaolong’s favourite reading spot, is a mer-cat laughing with a little hijabi duckling and an ice-blue fox while a shiba inu dances, little bells tinkling at their ankles. And off to your left is a brown eagle owl reading their book, while a toucan preens its feathers, and a pink dolphin and and pink otter swim carefree in the Pond.

xl keep faith.png“Hi friend!” Xiaolong is at your feet, smiling at you. “I invited some of my friends to come visit the Pond because a book they created with writing-magic releases today!”

Created a book together? That sounds so wholesome! You ask her about this book and her friends.

She gives you a big grin. “Why don’t I introduce you to them?”

Friends, The Quiet Pond may still be on hiatus, but when I found out about the Keep Faith anthology, I knew that I wanted to feature this anthology and its incredible authors. So I emailed Gabriela, the editor of Keep Faith, and we invited all of the writers to be visitors at The Quiet Pond.

Therefore, I am so incredibly excited to be featuring Keep Faith edited by Gabriela Martins today. We have fourteen friends visiting the Pond today, and I could not be more excited to share with you a little bit more about the stories in Keep Faith and what the stories mean to them. Read More »

Underdog edited by Tobias Madden – A Powerful and Relatable Collection of Stories About Australian Teens

Underdog, #LoveOzYa Short Stories. [Authors:] Sophie L Macdonald, Tobias Madden, Felicity Martin, Stacey Malacari, Sofia Casanova, Cassi Dorian, Kaneana May, KM Stamer-Squair, Sarah Taviani, Vivian Wei, Michael Earp, Jes Layton
Blurb:

Short tales from the Australian writers of tomorrow.

#LoveOzYA celebrates the best of new Australian writing for teenage readers. It has grown from a humble hashtag into a movement, reflecting the important role young-adult fiction plays in shaping our current generation of readers. This anthology collects, for the first time, some of the tremendous work from the #LoveOzYA community.

Featuring a foreword by award-winning Australian novelist Fleur Ferris (Risk, Wreck, Black and Found), Underdog celebrates the diverse, dynamic and ever-changing nature of our nation’s culture. From queer teen romance to dystopian comedy, from hard-hitting realism to gritty allegory, this brilliant, engrossing and inspiring collection of short stories will resonate with any teen reader, proving, yet again, why there is just so much to love about #LoveOzYA.

My review:

I am floored, friends. When I was given the opportunity to read Underdog, an YA anthology of debut Australian writers, I was excited. But now, having read all the stories and being immersed in such incredible narratives, inspired visions, and powerful voices, I am ecstatic to tell you all about this anthology and its brilliant stories. From dystopia to comedy to explorations of grief and love, Underdog promises something for everyone – and you will definitely find a new favourite short story within this anthology.

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GUEST FEATURE: Love Speculative Fic? Crave Aromantic Characters & Platonic Friendships? Then Meet the Common Bonds Anthology and Claudie Arseneault!

Text: Common Bonds Anthology. Friends at the pond: Guest feature, Common Bonds and Claudie Arseneault. Image: A green, white, and grey squid wearing glasses, holding the aromantic flag.

You’re at Gen’s garden today, helping him plant his new seedlings for the coming change of season ahead. And you’ve got to say: you seem to have a knack for helping Gen’s plant babies into their new home!

“Friend! Come quick!” comes the sound of Xiaolong’s voice.

You look at Gen – you’re almost finished helping him though! – but he gives you a big smile and tells you that you’ve done plenty today.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, wearing an upside down flower hat, waving at you and holding an aromantic flag (five horizontal stripes: dark green, light green, white, grey, black).When you find Xiaolong, she’s standing by the pond’s edge and is adjusting a flag pole that she has pushed into the ground. The flag flutters gently in the wind (though, you think it’s Varian’s probably air-magic that is helping the flag fly) and the flag has a five-stripe design, with dark-green, light-green, white, grey, and black!

The aromantic pride flag! you say, recognising the flag.

Xiaolong gives you a big grin. “Yes, friend! We have a special guest today, and I’m really excited to introduce you to her. But before she arrives, I want to share with you the book that she is editing. I can’t wait to read it, but it needs a little help first!”

Help?! you exclaim. We always help our friends, right Xiaolong?

She gives you a big thumbs-up. “Right! We always help our friends!”

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening friends! ✨

I have such an exciting feature to share with you all today, and I also have an exciting guest that will be visiting the Pond today! But before I introduce you to our wonderful guest, I’d like to tell you a lovely, upcoming anthology that will feature speculative fiction, aromantic characters, and stories about platonic relationships!

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Sixteen Reasons Why You Should Read Color Outside The Lines in November

TEXT: 16 Reasons to read Color Outside the Lines, edited by Sangu Mandanna. Hands of different skin tones holding each other frame the text.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you should know how much I love Color Outside the Lines, an YA anthology about interracial relationships that I was beyond excited for. As much as I’d love to share the review I’ve written for Color Outside the Lines with you all right now – it’s over 2000 words, whoops – the book releases in November 2019, which is nine months away. Rather than keep in all my excitement to myself, I decided to list sixteen reasons why you should read this gem of an anthology.

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