Review – First Time for Everything – Edited by Anne Regan

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press | Dreamspinner
Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out now

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

22878007“There’s nothing like the first time. Whether it’s a first crush, first date, first kiss, or finding tolerance and approval for the first time, for gay, lesbian, bi, and trans teens—or those still exploring and discovering their sexuality and identity—these important firsts can shape the rest of their lives. Gathering the courage to come out to their families, admit their feelings to a friend, or go to school presenting as the people they really are can be a struggle. But with the support of their allies and their own inner strength, the brave young people in these stories take the first steps toward happiness and living on their own terms. From sweet stories of newly discovered love, humorous accounts of awkward dinners and dances, to fights for acceptance and even survival, the teens in this anthology must face new challenges and rise to meet them. These are the first times they’ll never forget.”

I don’t read a lot of YA stories so when I saw this anthology I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try out stories that I don’t normally gravitate towards. Like with a lot of anthologies this had a few hits and misses but overall I found that I really enjoyed quite a few of the offers. These are all very short stories that span the spectrum of LGBTQ youth, more tasters than anything but I think it was impressive just how much information the authors were able to get across given the length of the works. If you’re looking to try out some YA stories but don’t want to commit to a longer read I recommend giving this a try. I’ve rated the individual works but overall I’m giving this anthology a B.

Dear Cody by Eric Renner
This is an epistolary story told through emails as Sam, a high school senior, confesses his love to Cody, who’s away at college, and we get Cody’s response. I loved how their history was revealed. B+

Dating My Best Friend by Caitlin Ricci
I liked the premise. A girl coming out to her best friend as a lesbian and the best friend revealing she’s bisexual. Both girls seemed like older teenagers but they turned out to be only fourteen so some of their responses seemed a bit off after that reveal. Although I enjoyed Cassie’s thoughts on her coming out there were a few grandstanding moments that overshone it. C-

A Warrior From A Different Tribe by S.A. Garcia
There was an otherworldly quality to this one and I kept expecting a PNR twist but there wasn’t, it was just a lovely coming of age story about boyfriends Joe and Ed. Lightly touches on Joe’s Seminole heritage. Great characters, great story. A-

Dressed to Swim by Renee Hirsch
I found this one a bit stilted but I enjoyed how Marina helped Mike to see that it’s not wrong to explore who you are and how everyone is uncertain at their age. C

Courting Billy Roth by Nick Hasse
A sweet story about best friends becoming boyfriends. B

Beautiful by Ella Lyons
Duncan is questioning his gender and his best friend Abby is helping him to see how he’d look with a bit of make-up. A wonderful friendship story. A

His World by Eric Gober
A.J.’s life shifts when his parents divorce and he’s shuffled from one to the other. He meets Cory and tries to decide how brave he’s willing to be in order to get the world he’s always wanted with the boy of his dreams. The ending was rushed but even with that this was a fabulous read. I wanted more. A+

It’s In Their Kiss by Kevay Gray
Emmie is in love with her best friends Ezekiel and Frankie but she doesn’t know how to tell them. They get tired of waiting and take things into their own hands instead. Nice characters here but seemed more like a scene from a longer story. C

Summer Crush by SR Silcox
Lovely first kiss story. Jess accidentally reveals her crush on Ellie at a beach party. B-

Midnight In The Maze by J. Leigh Bailey
Halloween is Joey’s sweet sixteen and someone kisses him in a blacked out corn maze. Could it be Blake, the golden boy? Or Jared, the bad boy? B-

First Date by Nicole Mccormick
Truth in advertising. It’s a first date. C

Step by Step by Emily Moreton
Friendships of a trans student, both old and new and the struggles of high school. B

Me and My Friend by Emery C. Walters
Aiden wandering through the Art Fair trying to make a friend. C

Kissing Scars by Jo Ramsey
Two girls finding each other and maybe forging a friendship after they both survived being attacked. Really emotional story. Both sad and hopeful. B

It’s Not Our Fault by Charli Green
Jordan doesn’t make a good first impression with Nay and struggles to fix that. C

When Wolverine Met Taylor by Andrea Speed
A cos-playing Wolverine needs a little help from his BFF when he meets a boy but is too shy to ask him out. B

Kiss and Makeup by Allison Wonderland
Gina and Simone forge a connection over the makeup counter. C

Just Right by John Goode
Jordan AKA Goldilocks dips his toes in the world of dating boys. It doesn’t go quite how he was expecting it to. Great friendships here. B+

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