A brush with the supernatural, A rock concert, A reunion, A poolside revelation, The need to know what's up? The confessions of a friend, The dream of escape, A sick pet, An English assignment, The rear-window view of a murder next door, The search for the mother you never met, What keeps you up all night?
This remarkable collection of award-winning and bestselling authors is thought provoking, insightful, heartfelt, and powerful.
Invited by editor Laura Geringer to write about "a single night that matters"-about a character kept up all night and transformed by his or her vigil-six authors contribute six stunning stories. Varied in form and content, these entries share a confident, assured pace; the authors know how to build characters and settings, and they do not cut corners. Abrahams, for example, begins "Phase 2" as a girl describes her family's preparations for her father's homecoming from the Iraq war. At the expected hour, however, it is not the father who arrives but a lieutenant and a chaplain; the girl's mother turns white, "the color of a corpse in the movies." This dramatic but controlled setup leads to an emotionally nuanced encounter between the grieving mother and a medium, with the narrator and her younger brother crossing the most unexpected of barriers. The other stories, including Bray's '70s-era "Not Just for Breakfast Anymore," about a girl coming to terms with her father's recently announced gay identity; Patricia McCormick's "Orange Alert," in which a 15-year-old short-circuits an abusive relationship; and Gene Luen Yang's graphic-novel format "The Motherless One," featuring a chimp searching for "some small sign that... someone wanted me to exist," are equally complex and surprising. Of special interest: the publisher is sponsoring a story contest for teens. Ages 12-up.
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April 20, 2008
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