#ShortStoryMonth Day Sixteen — “Bark if You Like Boys,” by Sam Cameron



Short fiction that’s also YA isn’t something I’ve read a lot of, once I sat down to have a think about it, so maybe hit me if you’ve got some I should check out.

That said?

“Bark if You Like Boys” by Sam Cameron is a freaking delight. Found in Boys of Summer, the opening paragraph is perfection in the realm of characterization, and from the first words I was completely in love. Puppy love, even.

Sean Garrity is a young man working in a bookstore over summer (for the record, this is the number one way to make me adore a character) who has been sneaking and reading all the fluffy romance novels with the half-naked Scotsmen on the covers (this is a close second) and who has been trying to find good homes for some puppies he found abandoned outside the bookstore (I refuse to comment as it may serve to later incriminate me).

Sean keeps a notice up on the board that these three puppies need a home, and someone starts leaving him pithy notes in return. When Sean meets two brothers, his gaydar pings and whistles and then goes dark. Mine was like that when I was Sean’s age: unreliable at best.

There’s some sincerely serious topics in this story, but the prose – and Sean’s phenomenal inner voice – keeps the overall tone from slipping into maudlin. There are many types of courage on display in this story, and I loved them all.

Another two anthologies to check out here are OMG Queer! and Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up both of which have a nice range of characterization and tone in the stories.

Got any YA short fic you love?

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