Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Such Thing as the Real World

No Such Thing as the Real World -This is a collection of short stories by six bestselling YA authors An Na , M. T. Anderson ,K. L. Going , Beth Kephart , Chris Lynch and Jacqueline Woodson . These are stories about what separates childhood from the real world. Like poetry there's precision in short story writing. Though I've always loved poetry its only been the last few years that I've come around to short stories. No Such Thing as the Real World is a wonderful collection, and if read will ensure readers are short story fans for life. The stories are short but not incomplete, I never felt cheated out of a paragraph. I enjoyed all the stories, though I do have my favorites.
Survival by K.L. Going Rachel is class president, and set to give the graduation speech. She just witnessed her sister, Sarahing Kenneth, the best friend/crush. This short story chronicles Rachel's difficult relationship with her sister and Kenneth. What I loved about Survival was the author ability to get across how evil and spiteful Sarah was, it was very easy to get behind Rachel. I am hardly doing the author any justice, there is so much more to story. Once you start reading you won't want to stop. Its very well crafted, Going gives us a glimpse of Rachel and Sarah as children, you can almost see the teens they will become and the inevitable state of the relationship.
The Longest Distance by Beth Kephart is my favorite story in this collection. I loved this story. Hannah best friend Joelle has committed suicide. Hannah is left wondering, all she has is the senior thesis on time to keep her occupied. She doesn't want it to end, making it twice has long as the required length. I won't even try to tell you how simply beautiful The Longest Distance is, because I will fail, you'll simply have to trust me. Kephart fits every emotion from truth, fear, saddness, sorrow, hope, freedom and a fewI forgot. I truly wish I could share but I have a no sharing on short story rule. Since every word means so much more I don't want to spoil anything.
Arrangements by Chris Lynch- this was the perfect story to read after The Longest Distance - Charlie Waters Jr is burying his dad. My first thought when I read this was no, I can't take another death but there is no saddness in Arrangements. Charlie Waters Jr is taking over the family pawnbrokers business, where a lot of interesting characters come in and hardly any money is made. Its funny, light and thoughtful. While reading Arrangments many times I was reminded of I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.
No Such Thing as the Real World is great collection of stories. These best selling authors may even inspire teen readers to write a story of their own. HarperCollins has a short story contest for teens between the ages of 14 -19, the winning story maybe published in the paperback edition of No Such Thing as the Real World. The contest is mentioned on the back cover. I went to te website for more information, though I only found a little. Writing Contest
No Such Thing as the Real World will be released on 4/21, Ages 13 up
While you wait you may check out or recommend another wonderful collection of short stories UP All Night, inculdes stories by Libba Bray and David Levithan

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