Teresa Schaeffer is a poet, novelist, filmmaker and screenwriter. She was part of the foster care system until the age of three and grew up with foster children almost her entire childhood. Teresa has also had two collections of poetry published.
Gr 9 Up-Narrating in a first-person, stream-of-consciousness style, Constance reflects on her life as a lesbian in a public high school. For most of her school career, the teen does not acknowledge that she is gay, and she strives to show that she is the same as everyone else, even nurturing a relationship with one of her male friends for almost a year. She finally comes to terms with her sexuality through working with a guidance counselor who also happens to be a lesbian. Constance's problems authentically replicate what a young person struggling with sexual identity would face in today's schools. However, the solutions are too simplistic, and Constance's self-awareness is not realistic. For example, "I look back at the last couple of years and wonder how or why they flew by so quickly. I guess I don't regret anything though; I've only gained knowledge and strength." And "Finding myself was important and I knew that it was going to happen. Change can be a good thing, no matter if it is unexpected." Stocking library shelves with books about gay teens will open the door to conversations and allow young people to see themselves in literature. However, the books need not be preachy or so openly didactic. Susan Juby's Another Kind of Cowboy (HarperTeen, 2007) is a better choice.-Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"I thought The Questions Within was interesting, easy to read with short paragraphs and chapters." Megan Fulton, Craigmount High