A collection of little romances with happy endings? No way. These "ten stories of truth" take a hard, clear look at those first overwhelming feelings of passion, the yearning, aching, sweaty miseries and ecstasies of young love. Distinguished young adult critic and author Michael Cart has brought together 10 brilliant, original stories that examine the many facets of adolescent amour. They range from Joan Bauer's warm, funny tale about the dedicated chastity struggles of an "Extra Virgin" to Michael Lowenthal's achingly erotic story of a young gay male's first disastrous experience with "The Acuteness of Desire." Cart's cast of writers includes some of the freshest talent in young adult literature. Fantasy writer Garth Nix brings his magic touch to "Lightning Bringer"; Sonya Sones shares a set of evocative poems about love in "Secret Shelf"; Laurie Halse Anderson uses the setting of wacky, tacky Venice Beach to tell of a reluctant date that catches fire after meeting a "Snake"; and Emma Donoghue touches on transgender in a story of a young lesbian virgin's crush in "The Welcome." In Louise Hawes's story, a girl makes the hard decision for abortion rather than marrying the boring young man who would have made everything "Fine and Dandy." Chris Lynch relays an almost-funny anecdote of confused sexual identity, and Shelley Stoehr and Angela Johnson explore the nature of sexual obsession in two very different stories to round out this delectable and provocative collection. A portion of the money generated from the sale of this book will be donated to the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
Teen romance comes in a wide assortment of flavors in this collection of original short stories by popular YA authors. While all contributions share a common theme (the "intersections of love and sex," as Cart puts it) and a markedly frank, contemporary narrative, the perspectives differ, moving in a continuum from conservative to unconventional. The first story, by Joan Bauer, relates the values of a virgin-by-choice, a high school senior, who considers "giving in" to a boy she meets at the ice-cream parlor where she works. The conclusion, in which the heroine manages to retain both her respect and boyfriend, is substantially more pat than the open ending of the last selection; there, Irish novelist Emma Donoghue leaves her British lesbian protagonist mulling over the meaning of her attraction to a transsexual. Stories wedged between "Extra Virgin" and "The Welcome" form a middle ground of attitudes, addressing such issues as interracial relationships, one-sided crushes, romantic obsession and the fear of being gay. In his foreword, Cart (editor of Tomorrowland), a self-proclaimed romantic, discusses both his dismay over previous attempts to censor sex in books and his repugnance for the media's more recent impersonal, "in-your-face" displays of sex. In this volume, the editor strives for a more honest, complex rendering of adolescent "life as it is lived"; his efforts and teens' inherent interest in the theme are certain to hold readers' attention. Ages 13-up.
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