Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Keep Faith edited by Gabriela Martins


47779089._SY475_Publisher: Self-pub
Release Date: September 1, 2019
Received From: Review copy from the editor

Keep faith, in the broad sense of the word. It doesn’t have to be a religion, unless you want it to be. It doesn’t have to speak about the universe, unless you want it to. It doesn’t have to be about anyone but yourself. Keep faith, in other planets and other houses; be it in the face of danger, grief, or while you spread your arms and laugh. Keep faith the same way you keep hope, bright and shiny, ever present. Keep faith in all your queer, beautiful self. Because you deserve it.

This is an anthology of 14 short stories, by 14 queer authors, where faith and queerness intersect. Incidental, purposeful, we-exist-and-that’s-why queerness. And faith meaning whatever you want it to mean.

gender sexuality romantic pairings

GENDER: nonbinary, transgender, cisgender
SEXUALITY: queer, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, asexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: queer, homoromantic, biromantic, aromantic

tropes tags warnings

TROPES: magical abilities, friends to lovers, lovers to friends, dislike to love, fake dating, mutual pining
TAGS: young adult, adult, anthology, contemporary, science fiction, fantasy, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Jewish characters, Hindu characters, Christian/Catholic characters, Buddhist characters, polytheistic characters, Middle Eastern characters, existing relationship, Indian characters, coming out, Brazilian characters, Uruguayan characters, neurodivergent/neuroatypical character, Korean characters, Black characters, Taiwanese characters, Chinese characters, fat characters, Bangladeshi characters, immigrant characters, Filipino characters, interracial relationship
WARNINGS: religion/faith (Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, polytheism, Catholicism), anti-queer, anti-queer family, trans antagonism, cissexism/anti-trans language/anti-enby language, death, ableism, hospital, misogyny, slutshaming, spiders, pedophilia, sexualization of women, vomiting, blood, parental death, physical injury, mental illness (depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety), anti-aro language, anti-ace language, suicide, abusive relationship, domestic violence, child abuse, grief, underage drinking, drug usage, anti-touch averse language


Sacrifices always had to be made but when did those sacrifices usurp her humanity?

With anthologies, it can be difficult, because sometimes there are stories that shine brighter than others. But while I did have my favorites, we’re lucky with this particular anthology for the fact that all the stories are all enjoyable reads! This group of 14 authors bring us a collection full of unique, fun, and at times, intense stories–all well worth the read!

The overarching theme of the collection is queerness and how it coincides, and lives and grows, with faith–religious and spiritual faith, faith in yourself, and more. And it’s exciting to see how these 14 authors explore this theme in their own stories! In one story, we follow along as a Jewish family learns how to be inclusive in religious practices without misgendering as they come face-to-face with how gendered religious practices can affect trans and nonbinary people in different ways. Another story shows us a Hindu girl grappling with the image she has of her gods with that of the images her country’s political and religious leaders would have her believe in. In another, we experience, alongside the main character, the low level panic that comes with surrendering to the pressures put on one to be the Ideal Religious Queer Person and how it’s okay to step outside of that, to stop trying to be what they want you to be because there’s more than one way to be religious and queer. And in several of the stories, we follow along as the characters grapple with how to have faith in themselves, in how to believe that sometimes the only faith you need is trusting in yourself. But each story in this collection has an individualized take on faith and how their queerness walks hand-in-hand with it.

Within the collection, I liked a few aspects in particular! In Kate Brauning’s story, I enjoyed the mental struggle of “is this girl flirting with me or just being nice?”, as well as the fact that she points out that it’s much easier to tell with boys, when you’ve been raised and socialized as a girl. Heteronormativity has put many of us in these kinds of situations before, so this was a super relatable moment. Also, I really liked the world that Mayara Barros created and would love to see a longer story with more detail and worldbuilding! 

“A god who hates their worshippers’ happiness is no god of ours.”

Initially, with Barros’ story, I liked that it appeared as if neutral/neopronouns were used for strangers before discovering what their pronouns are. However, when the character stated that xie uses the same neopronouns the main character was using, it did make me wonder if this was actually a worldbuilding aspect, or if the pronouns were simply used from the get-go because the author already knew what they were going to be and inserted them into the other characters’ points of view as a result of that. Additionally, I enjoyed Ha’s story and the exploration of sexual and romantic fluidity throughout the main character’s life, but it didn’t really read as a narrative story. Intead, it felt like someone telling a memory rather than the reader experiencing the story and romance alongside the characters. It’s possible that this was Ha’s intention all along, but I personally would’ve preferred a more narrative story so as to become more invested in the characters.

FAVES: Droplets of Starlight, How Not to Die (Again), Life is a Story of Change, Nothing Left Standing, On the Other Side, Read the Room, The Messenger

rating4 STARSabout the author

6469904Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person (e/em/eir/emself or they pronouns) and a resident alien in the US. E writes, edits and reviews speculative fiction and poetry. Bogi is a winner of the Lambda award for editing Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, and a finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards. Eir debut poetry collection Algorithmic Shapeshifting is out now from Aqueduct, and eir debut short story collection The Trans Space Octopus Congregation is coming Fall 2019 from Lethe Press. You can find Bogi talking about books at, and on various social media as bogiperson.

7wUYc8DE_400x400Megan Manzano is a Puerto Rican and Polish writer living in New York City. Some of her short stories have been published in Twisted Sister Lit, Maudlin House, and The Chaos of Hard Clay Anthology. She has and continues to wear many hats in the publishing world: freelance editor, marketer, Pitchwars 2018 mentor, and Literary Agent Apprentice at Corvisiero Lit. In her spare time, she’s traveling, hiking, or binge watching television shows. If you can’t find her, offer to show her pictures of your pet. They work 100% of the time. 


EB41-TYUwAE8lJRVanshika Prusty (OneShe-Ka Pru-Sh-T), She/ They, was born in India and raised a little there and a little in Canada. Now, she is studying Indian History at the University of Alberta while working part-time at her favourite bookstore. On the rare occasion that she has a free moment, you can find her either typing away at a new story, or at the edge of your local forest, on a search for a path into another world. To connect with her, you can follow her on Twitter @ VanshikaPrusty and/or Instagram @Vanshikasbooks.

Kate Brauning is an author of young adult fiction, including How We Fall from Simon Pulse. She loves baking, sugar work, hiking, concerts, traveling to every part of the world, and teaching writing at her Breakthrough Writers’ Boot Camp. 


17601606Mayara Barros is an demisexual and demiromantic cis writer / artist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She loves all kinds of fantasy stories and can’t get her brain to work on just one project at a time. Published Caleidoscópio, a flash fiction collection, with Editora Illuminare, and self-published the following short stories: The Keeper of Magic, Favorite and Crystalline, as well as an artbook with Inktober 2017 art and flash fictions. She’s also has a short story published on the indie anthology Momentum, organized by Gabriela Martins. 


16984372Gabriela Martins is a Brazilian YA author of contemporary and light fantasy. She can be found writing obsessively on a number of projects at a time or crying in a corner, claiming that there is no time to write all the wor(l)ds she wants. 


19473979Elly is a Korean American graduate from the University of Virginia. She always finds a way to write asexual and aromantic characters into her stories, and particularly loves to write romances between them. Her pronouns are she/they, with no preference to either. She is represented by Thao Le of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. 


B5kmaZ_X_400x400C.T. Callahan is a writer and artist crafting YA novels, short stories, and webcomics. Hailing from a diverse racial background, e dedicates eir writing to showcasing diversity and creating the stories e always wanted to read. When e’s not writing, you can catch em playing guitar, cuddling cute dogs, or at an ever-growing list of boba tea shops. 


NF_FhYX-_400x400Shenwei Chang is a proud disabled queer Taiwanese American writer, blogger, and sensitivity reader. They hold a B.S. in aerospace engineering and a B.A. in Asian American studies. Their hobbies include reading manga in two languages, marathoning anime series, researching niche topics that catch their interest, and haunting their nearest bookstore. They currently reside in southern Taiwan. 

Twitter and Instagram: @theshenners

14238104Sofia Soter is a writer and translator based in Rio de Janeiro. Her non-fiction work has appeared in print and online in various publications, both in Brazil and abroad. She has another contemporary YA short story in the English-language anthology Momentum, as well as stories published in Portuguese. As a translator, her work focuses on YA and SFF, and she has translated books by Christelle Dabos, Heidi Heilig, Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner and Amy Zhang, among others. She is represented by Taissa Reis at Agência Página 7. 


3378114Julia Rios is a queer, Latinx writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator whose fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Goblin Fruit, among other places. Their editing work has won multiple awards including the Hugo Award. Julia is a co-host of The Skiffy and Fanty Show, a general SF discussion podcast, and has narrated stories for Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. They’re @omgjulia on Twitter.

17552525Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi and Irish writer living in Dublin, Ireland. She has a BA in English and History, and an MA in Postcolonial Studies. All her work is aided by copious amounts of tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe. Her debut novel, The Henna Wars, will be published by Page Street in Spring 2020. She is also a contributor for Bookriot. 


6913103Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, (Red Adept Publishing), the Starswept YA sci-fi series, (Snowy Wings Publishing), the Flynn Nightsider YA dark fantasy series (Crazy 8 Press), and Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon, a YA steampunk fantasy (Page Street Publishing, June 2019). In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of the Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund. 


Q_FbAaR8_400x400Kess Costales is a Torontobased, queer Filipina author represented by Kat Enright of the Seymour Agency. As a child of immigrants, it is important to her to always provide queer Filipino diaspora representation in her stories. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Criminology, but doesn’t use her degree for anything. You can usually find her constantly daydreaming about monsters, magic, and romance. 


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review by nicky tyler

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