Lost & Found

Lost and Found - Kris Jacen, M.F. Kays, T.A. Webb, Fae Winters, Dakota Chase, Caitlin Ricci, Jeff Erno, D.C. Juris, Michele L. Montgomery, D.H. Starr, Diane  Adams Normally, I wouldn't give an overall five rating to an anthology - but this one rates it even if you don't read the stories. Please read them, it's a shame if you don't as there are some real gems here, but even if you just buy the book to have it sit on your e-reader, you've done a positive, wonderful thing.

Proceeds from this book go to Lost and Found, an Atlanta based organization dedicated to helping get GLBT youth off the streets. This isn't a cause you'll see get much coverage in the mainstream media, but the fact is that homelessness among GLBT young people has reached epidemic proportions. Depending on the study you read (and clear, accurate numbers are hard to get since GLBT youth may not be comfortable revealing personal information even in anonymous surveys) 5-10% of young people (ages 12-20) in the US are GLBT while 40% of our homeless youth are GLBT. 40% This is a staggering number made much more tragic because so many of these kids have been tossed out like yesterday's garbage. Anything adults with hearts and consciences can do, we should.

Lost and Found

The stories in this anthology are all about kids who have been rejected for who they are, their struggles, and ultimately their triumphs large and small.

Most of the stories are real-world contemporary, though several have paranormal elements and one is a historical set early in the 20th century.

While they were all good reads (often heart-wrenching, often harrowing for any parent who can't fathom the psychology of someone who can do something so unnatural as abandoning his or her own child) there are a few that I would particularly recommend.

The Clay/Zeke story, told in two parts by Caitlinn Ricci and T.A. Webb is one of the lighter ones - more heartwarming moments than gut-wrenching. This is an important point in a collection that could easily have been unrelievedly dark if not for the authors' insistent optimism.

Bridges and Angels by M.F. Kay is one of the darker points of the anthology - but the emotions are so clear and vivid, it shouldn't be missed. While there are some hints at paranormal here, they could be explained away as circumstance and memory cascade, so the reader and the protagonist are never certain.

Blessing by Dakota Chase is a beautifully written historical/paranormal piece full of anguish and discovery of self-worth.

Another share story in two parts, the Never Mattered/Always Mattered pairing by Michele Montgomery and D.H. Starr is perhaps the most complete in its characterizations and its cataloging of a journey from frightened despair to confident hero. Even if Randy never sees himself as a hero, we know he is by the end.

These are just my personal favorites, though - I enjoyed them all quite thoroughly.