Each of these 40-plus very short stories unveils a memory of being a teenager that is important to its respective writer.
Markedly brief offerings from authors both well-known and less familiar make for an unusual and interesting read that is enormously successful in illustrating how different the lives of teens are from one another. For example, though they seem to involve a similar event, Geoff Herbach’s ultimately haunting tale of being mistaken for a girl’s tormentor after he ditches empty beer bottles left in his car in the wrong spot couldn’t be more different from Carrie Mesrobian’s wryly funny recollection of her panic at finding a spent party ball stashed in her family’s board-game cupboard weeks after an illicit party at her house. Such issues as body image, cliques, family strife, economic status and popularity are recurring themes throughout and will resonate with teen readers. Less likely to do so are details such as listening to music on Discmans and watching MTV with VHS tapes at the ready to record a favorite video or playing pinball and drinking vodka-spiked Fresca.
Teens who enjoy slice-of-life vignettes that evoke a specific time and place and adults who thrill to nostalgia will find a lot to like about these pithy, honestly awkward and poignant minimemoirs. (Memoir. 14 & up)