“Lucky P” by Rigoberto Gonzalez from Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up (Bold Strokes Books, 2011).

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the editor, Steve Berman.

One hundred and two stories and this is only the second one in which the main character is bisexual. Thirteen year old Pedro believes he is in love with two of his classmates: Nemecio and Paloma. They do not know one another, though they are each friends with Pedro, and neither of them reciprocates his deeper feelings. That may actually play a role in his attraction to them; many times first crushes fall on those who are unattainable because they are safe territory. As Pedro continues to examine his feelings for each of them he realizes that what he is suffering from isn’t love after all, but infatuation. This is natural; he’s thirteen. His heart is testing the waters, determining which qualities it desires in a partner and which it does not. I loved that he felt free to express himself to his friends and family, and that his desires were not met with hostility.

On a side note, I really enjoyed the cultural references strewn throughout the story. I felt transported not just into another mind and heart but to another place.

Hands down, this is the most diverse anthology I’ve read to date and one of the most compelling. The common denominator of the stories was the ability to inspire an intense need to read just a little further, to see what would happen next. I found it incredibly difficult to set this book down.