A variety of YA authors offer a collection of short stories featuring teenagers who find themselves involved with the paranormal.
Jason, a shipwrecked high school student, finds himself face to face with a somewhat untraditional siren. A cancer-stricken teenager named Scarlet is trying to enjoy her prom when a mysterious guest arrives. Lani is an aspiring young artist whose world changes forever thanks to an errant lightning strike. For these and the other characters in this short story collection, life as a typical teenager doesn’t stay typical for long. Divided into eight stories from seven different authors, the anthology provides an imaginative landscape of mostly suburban young people whose PG–rated goals of nabbing that first kiss or talking to that cute boy go supernaturally awry. Swore (Unlocked, 2010, etc.) contributes a story about a harmless-enough homecoming party that goes delightfully off the rails when guests turn out to be more dangerous than they seem. Webb (Tears, 2012, etc.) tears a modern Native American girl away from her MP3 player and onto the path of a spiritual journey. Though these stories provide ample thrills, not every piece in the collection is terribly exciting. While the array of protagonists is limited to polite young people, their range of experiences with the paranormal is broad. But passing off the paranormal as believable (and readable) is a difficult task for any author, and this collection is not without its fantastical dead ends. Debut author Joseph’s take on “The Headless Horseman” is notable only for its protagonist’s inability to realize she is involved in a take on that very story. In another story, a ghost not only points out her rather obvious murderer, but it also manages to bring about swift justice, which may lead the reader to wonder why the ghosts of other victims aren’t busy doing the same thing.
YA fans looking for contemporary tales of ghosts and goblins are likely to find at least a little bit of enjoyment here.