A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the...

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FRIENDSHIP THROUGH FICTION—AN ANTHOLOGY OF JAPAN TEEN STORIES

A big but consistently engaging pro bono anthology of authors with direct or indirect Japanese “heritage or experience.”

The 36 tales (all but six of which are new) were gathered as contributions to the relief effort for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They feature Japanese—or, frequently, haafu, half-Japanese—teenagers engaged in the business of growing up. Two stories are set in the past: a Pearl Harbor episode from Graham Salisbury and Mariko Nagai’s probing free-verse view of the prejudice and internment faced by Japanese Americans shortly thereafter. Otherwise nearly all of the stories have contemporary settings. Only one story refers directly to the 2011 disaster; in the rest, situations and experiences blend familiar tropes with some that may be new to U.S. audiences. Some concern making or missing friends and coping with bullies or demanding parents. Others find their characters reading absorbing cellphone mini-novels on a long commute to school or finding common ground through dance and kendo as well as baseball. Fantasy also makes a strong showing in tales of dragons and eerie samurai dolls, a supernatural Lost Property Office, a magic toaster that predicts the manner of one’s death and more. The closing capsule bios will be particularly helpful to young readers on this side of the Pacific.

A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the bunch. (glossary) (Short stories. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61172-006-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Stone Bridge Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those...

WHAT YOU WISH FOR

A BOOK FOR DARFUR

This charitable benefit anthology gathers all-stars for both hits and misses on the theme of wishing.

Twelve stories are accompanied by five poems and one warmly vivid graphic short. Francisco X. Stork introduces Pablito, Breaker-Breaker and Sherry B in a stellar tale of teens supporting one another in a group home. Sofia Quintero's "The Great Wall," about a Jamaican-American girl with a thing for the Chinese-food delivery guy, is entertaining enough to overcome its brick-to-the-head lack of subtlety. Meg Cabot's nerdy hero, seeking a friend, is heartbreakingly funny. The stories cover First World problems, far from the Sudanese refugees described in the saccharine foreword by Mia Farrow, but that distance only helps the collection. John Green's "Reasons" directly addresses some of the moral issues underlying the desire to rescue people from other countries in a thought-provoking piece about a boy in love with a sponsored Kashmiri child. Ann M. Martin's epistolary tale shows two girls with different sets of financial and social problems finding support in each other's friendship. As for the poetry, with offerings from Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Gary Soto and Nikki Giovanni, even these tiny verses are lovely.

With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those readers willing to brave anthologies will be rewarded . (Anthology. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25454-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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I AM NUMBER FOUR

From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 1

If it were a Golden Age comic, this tale of ridiculous science, space dogs and humanoid aliens with flashlights in their hands might not be bad. Alas... Number Four is a fugitive from the planet Lorien, which is sloppily described as both "hundreds of lightyears away" and "billions of miles away." Along with eight other children and their caretakers, Number Four escaped from the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien ten years ago. Now the nine children are scattered on Earth, hiding. Luckily and fairly nonsensically, the planet's Elders cast a charm on them so they could only be killed in numerical order, but children one through three are dead, and Number Four is next. Too bad he's finally gained a friend and a girlfriend and doesn't want to run. At least his newly developing alien powers means there will be screen-ready combat and explosions. Perhaps most idiotic, "author" Pittacus Lore is a character in this fiction—but the first-person narrator is someone else entirely. Maybe this is a natural extension of lightly hidden actual author James Frey's drive to fictionalize his life, but literature it ain't. (Science fiction. 11-13)

     

 

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-196955-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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