Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Editor: Grace Kendall, Contributing Authors: Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Heather Demetrios, Stephen Emond, Patrick Flores-Scott, Faith Erin Hicks, Trisha Leaver, Kekla Magoon, Marcella Pixley, James Preller, Jason Schmidt, Jay Clark, Jordon Sonnenblick
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc.
This anthology contains twelve stories in prose and comics. The topics range from sexual orientation, abusive relationships, immigration, addiction, and more. The book jumps right in with a story about a girl that’s struggling to break free from an abusive relationship with a long-time boyfriend. Further in the anthology we meet one character dealing with drug addiction and struggling to overcome withdrawal. Finally, we learn about the story of twin brothers, one of whom is an illegal immigrant while the other is a citizen of the US, and the sacrificial swap one makes in order for the other to keep the precious opportunities afforded to US citizens. And along the way nine other characters are presented—flaws, struggles, and all—in an attempt to give a quick peek at the different realities that many of us have to face.
These twelve stories meld together well to create an anthology filled with hard topics that are prevalent in the lives of teens today. From the story of an abusive relationship by Kristin Elizabeth Clark to the epistolary story of two immigrant brothers by Patrick Flores-Scott, this anthology really has it all. The short story format allows for perfect jump-off points into good discussions on these controversial topics. Of course, there are some stories that glimmer brighter than others, but the myriad of topics presented by twelve different authors will have something that truly resonates with each reader. The writing is well done and the content matter is addressed well, despite how difficult some of these topics are. There is never anything that is overly explicit, but some of these topics will make readers squirm and, hopefully, think.
*Contains moderate language, moderate sexual content, and moderate violence.