Fourteen short stories from prominent authors for teens explore the moments when two people first meet.
The collection’s title suggests that these stories will showcase first encounters that wrap up with happily-ever-after endings. Many of the stories do deliver; several even end with first kisses. But occasionally the stories offer endings that are tinged with sadness, preventing the collection from becoming saccharine. Characters who share a genuine connection are separated by circumstances, whether it’s traveling in vastly different high school social circles or being sent on a one-way mission to Mars. Topics beyond romance add complexity, as characters grapple with grief, financial hardships, and body-image issues. The collection is a welcome departure from strictly heterosexual romance, including cisgirl-meets-girl and transgirl-meets-girl connections in addition to girl-meets-boy scenarios. There are nods to modern dating with computerized matching services, reality TV, and introductions via social media. There’s futuristic science fiction and a story that 1980s movie fans will recognize as a nod to Say Anything. The stories include great banter, the determination to find a boy from a crowded subway train, and the message that the rewards of love outweigh the potential pain of loss.
A collection that adds much-needed diversity to the existing teen-romance genre. (Romance. 14-18)