Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide To LGBTQ+ Love, Life And Mental Health by Alexis Caught

The Blurb On The Back:

Queer, questioning or just curious?

Whether you’re part of the community or an ally looking to learn more, this book is an empowering guide to growing up LGBTQ+.  Packed full of friendly answers to BIG queer questions, discover:

– advice on coming out, sex and relationships, allyship and more.

– mental health support to help you love and value yourself

– inspiring stories from people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum 

QUEER UP: AN UPLIFTING GUIDE TO LGBTQ+ LOVE, LIFE AND MENTAL HEALTH was released in the United Kingdom on 20th January 2022.   Thanks to Walker Books for the review copy of this book.

You can order QUEER UP: AN UPLIFTING GUIDE TO LGBTQ+ LOVE, LIFE AND MENTAL HEALTH by Alexis Caught from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Alexis Caught is creator and co-host of the Qmmunity podcast and a qualified psychotherapist.  This is a chatty, reassuring YA book (with great illustrations by Jamie Hammond) in which Caught and his contributors share personal experiences and advise about identity, coming out, love, sex, pride and being trans.  It emphasises trans women more than trans men and is too brief on bi and asexuality but I wish it had been around when I was a teen.

The book is clearly structured, going from questioning your sexuality through to coming out, dealing with families and friends, falling in love, dealing with sex, and mental wellbeing.  There are also separate chapters on being transgender and allyship while Caught adds a list of helpful resources for readers who want to get more information after.  Each chapter includes anecdotes and information from a number of contributors while the chapter on transgender is written by Charlie Craggs and Kuchenga, allyship is written by Scarlett Curtis, and pride is written by Peter Tatchell who describes how he came to campaign for LGBTQ+ human rights.  There’s also a very moving afterword by Russell T Davis, where he discusses the death of his husband and how he struggled to explain their relationship.

Caught has a chatty, friendly style and is perfectly happy to share personal experiences (some of which are funny but embarrassing), which helps to build trust with the reader.  It’s also a reassuring book with Caught keen to emphasise how normal it is to be LGBTQ+ and understanding the emotions and issues that are tied up with it.  It’s a particularly good book for readers who want to be better allies with Curtis giving practical advice on its importance and how the key thing is to continue to practice and demonstrate it.  In fact, it’s the kind of thing that adult readers who want to better assist the LGBTQ+ community could benefit from reading.

On the negative side, although the chapter on being transgender is well written and well done, it is noticeable that both contributors are trans women and I would have liked to have seen more from a trans male contributor so that the representation is there.  Equally, the emphasis in the book seems more on the LGT parts of the group – being asexual gets little more than a mention and there’s also little discussion at all of being bi-sexual.  I get that a book can’t be all things to all people, but it’s a shame that there wasn’t any space to deal with either of these sexualities because I think that teen readers would definitely benefit from the reassurance that gay, lesbian and transgender teens get from this.

That said, this is the kind of book that I really wished had been around when I was a teenager and living under the section 28 school regime because I think it would have helped me to have been a better friend to my LGBTQ+ classmates.  Special mention should be made of Jamie Hammond’s illustrations, which really represent the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and the publisher, Walker Books, should be applauded for their decision to donate 20p for each copy sold to Shout 85258.  


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