Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Ray Stoeve, Author of Between Perfect and Real – On Centering Trans Narratives, Theatre as Discovery, and Finding Your Authentic Self

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

One of the overarching themes that emerge from our Pride Month at the Pond features is that being queer and queer experience is not a singular and uniform thing. To me, Pride Month not only represents being proud of being queer and queer identity, but it also means taking pride in who you are, in all of its uniqueness and wonder. If I had to think of a book that encapsulates this theme of Pride Month, then the first book that jumps to mind is Between Perfect and Real, a stunning portrait of a teen who comes out as trans and discovers who he is and the person he can be.

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Book Review: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve – An Affirming and Personal Debut about Coming Out and Coming into the Person You Were Meant to Be

Between Perf
Blurb:

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now––not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self? 

When I finished Between Perfect and Real in one sitting, I think I just held this book to my chest and whispered to myself: this book is going to save lives. What a stunning, earnest, and affirming book Between Perfect and Real is. I loved this book whole-heartedly, and it is a fantastic addition to young adult trans literature that speaks to its vulnerable yet powerful personal truth.

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Book Recommendations: Pride Month Edition! The Beauty Beyond the Binary; 20 Books with Trans, Non-Binary, and Genderqueer Rep

Book Recommendations: Pride Month Edition! The Beauty Beyond the Binary; 20 Books with Trans, Non-Binary, and Genderqueer Rep. Illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl and Varian the toad holding the inclusive intersectional pride flags.

An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, waving her hand and winking at you while holding up a flag with the inclusive Pride flag - horizontal stripes of black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

For Pride Month this year, I decided to put together the biggest and most ambitious book recommendation post ever. Not only would I recommend queer books for Pride Month, I’d consciously recommend queer books written by and about queer and/or disabled people of colour — the books that people often complain they can’t find, even though they are being talked about, are being hyped, are being loved, were always here.

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Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition – An Interview with Kacen Callender, Author of Felix Ever After; On Writing Themself Into Stories and Telling Stories That Empower Trans and Enby Teens

Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition.  An Interview with Kacen Callender, Author of Felix Ever After; On Writing Themselves Into Stories and Telling Stories That Empower Trans and Enby Teens An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, with her arms spread out wide like she is showing off someone, with  Kacen as a wolf, wearing a bowtie and winking at you.

An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, waving her hand and winking at you while holding up a flag with the inclusive Pride flag - horizontal stripes of black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

I think one of the best parts about reading is reading about characters that you come to love and care for be happy. Sure, I know we love a good story that makes us cry and ache and feel pain and stories about pain are valid, but I think more space can be made for stories that makes us feel good because a character feels good and finds and experiences joy. For me, one of the best parts of reading – and also one of the most important parts of reading for me – is reading about marginalised characters who find joy, especially Black queer characters.
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Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition – An Interview with Aiden Thomas, Author of Cemetery Boys; On Writing A Love Letter to Their Community and Writing an Unapologetic Latinx, Gay, and Trans Story

Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition.  Author Interview with Aiden Thomas  On Writing A Love Letter to Their Community and Writing an Unapologetic Latinx, Gay, and Trans Story. An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, with her arms spread out wide like she is showing off someone, with  Aiden as a golden retriever wearing a red snapback, an Adidas t-shirt, and a silver pendant.

An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, waving her hand and winking at you while holding up a flag with the inclusive Pride flag - horizontal stripes of black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

One of the joys of being a reader is getting the opportunity to read so many stories that are different and unique from one another. In particular, reading queer books, by and about queer authors, is often a validating experience to me – because the more queer stories I read, the more it reifies the fact that there is no singular queer experience and that what ‘being queer means’ looks different for everyone.Read More »