Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love is, as described in a note by editor Sangu Mandanna (A Spark of White Fire; The Lost Girl), "a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful characters of all colors." Through these multicultural voices of strength in multiple genres, this anthology loudly declares that boundaries don't exist in love. Moreover, its interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships prove that love isn't blind to race, class or religion, but instead sees them as facets of a beautifully complex identity.
The 16 stories in this compilation show that color and status look different on everyone: the "outside doesn't match the inside" for a Palestinian adoptee raised by a white family; Hlee identifies with Hmong folktales and her community shaman but is also "completely American"; and Lourdes wears being "not Mexican enough" like a badge. Alike in their individuality, the teens rise through torrents of bigotry. An Indian boy is called a terrorist, a black superhero endures her white girlfriend's racist dad, a girl is told she'd be a "total babe" if she weren't Mexican, and a master poisoner's daughter is believed "dangerous to even touch." Their bravery shines in how widely they all open their hearts to people different from them. In doing so--in confessing love that may be unrequited or in sneaking around family who won't understand--these characters also muster the strength to express their beliefs, sometimes in camaraderie with their diverse partners and always in stalwart defense of their identities. The protagonists of Color Outside the Lines have learned that "lies turn into truth when faced with silence"; these gloriously steadfast teens refuse to be voiceless, and their astounding ambition commands us to listen. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer