Of interest mainly to fans, this collection stands as a tribute to the body of work that has poured out of Duncan’s pen...


Readers of a certain age will recall reading Duncan’s stories in Seventeen and Calling All Girls.

Fourteen stories are collected here with a prologue and commentary on each by the award-winning author best known for her young-adult novels. At the age of 13, she sold the story “P.S. We Are Fine,” which was the genesis of Hotel for Dogs. “Return,” about a soldier home from war, was written when she was 18. She still wonders why it won Seventeen’s creative-writing contest in 1953. But it’s clear that she had a talent for natural-sounding dialogue and an insight into human relationships. Aside from their origins as the author’s early work, there’s no real unifying theme; it’s a pity there is no editorial introduction to lay them out. The most autobiographical of the stories, “The Last Night,” is told from the perspective of a room that has seen a girl become a young woman. It provides an answer to that often-asked question—why she writes: “Anne comes again to her desk and reaches for the words. They are still there, shining and golden at her mind’s edge. They tremble on her pen and dance onto the paper” until her pen runs out of ink.

Of interest mainly to fans, this collection stands as a tribute to the body of work that has poured out of Duncan’s pen since she herself was a girl. (Short stories. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-939601-20-9

Page Count: 223

Publisher: Lizzie Skurnick/Ig

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.



A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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In this character-driven intergenerational story, Royce Peterson and his single mother have recently moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to help care for Arthur, Royce’s 95-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. After the curmudgeon chases off every aide, the teen is enlisted to watch his grandfather. At first the homesick, friendless and mono-recovering teen and his homebound, rude and crude grandfather are at odds, but then Royce gains new appreciation for Arthur—he caroused with Gloria Vanderbilt and Picasso, traveled the world, loved and lost loves—and Arthur begins to appreciate life again. But just as the pair begins to respect each other, Arthur suffers a series of debilitating strokes and asks Royce to end his life. Inspired by her experience caring for her aged father, Harvey offers a realistic view of the aging process, the difficult decisions left to loved ones and the need for friends and family. Sophisticated readers and fans of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road (1998) or Louis Sachar's The Cardturner (2010) will enjoy the grandfather-grandson banter and tenderness. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55146-226-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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