In this unique collection of touching and heartfelt short stories, ten young Asian-American writers re-create the conflicts that all young people feel living in two distinct worlds -- one of memories and traditions, and one of today. Whether it includes dreams of gossiping with the prettiest blond girl in class, not wanting to marry the man your parents love, or discovering that your true identity is ultimately your decision, these extraordinary stories by writers of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Filipino, and Korean descent explore the confusion and ambivalence of growing up in a world different from the one their parents knew -- and the choices we all must make when looking for a world to which we want to belong.
``There is no subject that is off-limits for an Asian writer, just as there is no subject that is off-limits to a writer of any race,'' writes Cynthia Kadohata in her hard-hitting introduction to this anthology. The 10 stories here, strikingly diverse in both form and content, prove her point. ``Fortune Teller,'' by Nguyen Duc Minh, for example, affectingly measures the pain and frustration of an adolescent crush by examining the experiences of a Vietnamese American boy whose father has only recently returned from seven years in a ``reeducation'' camp. And in Kadohata's ``Singing Apples,'' the 12-year-old daughter of migrant workers in California conveys the persistent meanness of her grandmother, as well as the guilt the grandmother inculcates in her. An absorbing excerpt from Fae Myenne Ng's novel Bone, set in San Francisco's Chinatown, focuses on characters struggling to make it financially and emotionally in a fragmented world where trust is dangerous. While common concerns-such as home, American pop culture and generational difference-link the themes of these stories, the volume as a whole celebrates differences and the beautifully multiple variables of American life. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)