In every school at every grade, there's a pecking order among students-an in crowd and those outside it, who are often ridiculed mercilessly for the "crime" of being different. This powerful anthology explores the teen outsider experience in electrifying, never-before-published stories by eleven of today's most acclaimed YA authors. A tomboy finds the relief of self-expression through her music, while in another tale a relentless bully tests the faith of an intensely religious girl. A cheerleader discovers that the true soul of her school can't be found within the cool clique; a football player finally stands up for a harassed fellow student; and a boy watches in horror as the school "freak" marches into his classroom with a loaded rifle.
Offering insights into popularity and peer pressure, nonconformity and persecution, acceptance and hate, these riveting, provocative tales will leave readers thinking and start them talking.
Alden R. Carter
Jack GantosAngela Johnson
M. E. Kerr
In his introduction, Gallo writes that authors were invited to write short stories about teenagers who do not fit in, the "weirdos, geeks, nerds, freaks, faggots, and worse" for this collection. These epithets represent teens ostracized by their peers at school and misunderstood by society in general. Gallo hopes that readers will gain "greater understanding and tolerance of others" by reading the stories, which are both engaging and thought provoking. In Nancy Werlin's Shortcut, readers learn that there is unity in strength, even for the outcasts. Jack Gantos's inspired writing offers a glimpse into a unique mind in Muzak for Prozac. Angela Johnson's Through a Window shows the heartrending consequences of a best friend's suicide. WWJD by Bill Weaver is a chilling account of what even a meek and mild pariah can do when pushed. Graham Salisbury's Mrs. Noonan and Alden R. Carter's Satyagraha provide two distinctive, incisive views of revenge. Perhaps the most affecting story is Guns for Geeks by Chris Crutcher, who tells a horrific account of a school shooting evocative of Columbine. The eleven stories in this anthology are all noteworthy, expertly written by prize-winning authors. Running the gamut from poignant to disturbing, they effectively portray the lives of disenfranchised teenagers. Any selection would serve as an excellent basis for discussion. Some strong language and violence suggest this book for students in grade seven and above. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Dial, 240p, .Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Rachelle Bilz SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)