One Death, Nine Stories Hardcover – August 26, 2014
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From School Library Journal
—School Library Journal
[The characters'] experiences are sensitively portrayed, and they struggle with very real issues of ethnic and sexual identity. ... Complex and emotionally demanding, this collection aims for and will resonate with serious readers of realistic fiction.
Rita Williams-Garcia’s fantastic opener introduces Morris, a blank-minded boy working at his uncle’s mortuary the day Kevin’s corpse arrives. Both Ellen Hopkins and A. S. King look at sexual and romantic relationships; Torrey Maldonado examines one of the young men in Kevin’s thrall; and so on. ... Fascinating.
The talents of the writers, including Rita Garcia-Williams, Ellen Hopkins, A. S. King, Will Weaver, and Nora Raleigh Baskin, keep the stories consistently moving and authentically voiced... Useful as a model for a group creative-writing exercise, this would also make for therapeutic reading and discussion in the aftermath of a tragedy.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
There are plenty of dots to connect and introspection from adolescents on the precipice of something new and unknown.
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Lexile measure : HL720L
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Hardcover : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0763652857
- ISBN-13 : 978-0763652852
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.5 x 8.59 inches
- Publisher : Candlewick (August 26, 2014)
- Reading level : 14 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,588,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To be frank, this anthology was not for me. I was so excited by the idea of so many well-known authors coming together to create an anthology based around one central character. I had such high hopes for this book, but in the end, it just didn't live up to my expectations. I think that the biggest flaw for me was the fact that I really had a hard time trying to connect that stories to one another, it just felt too disjointed for my liking.
Some of the stories, particularly the first couple, were really interesting and I could understand how they were connected to one another, they really helped build Kevin's character and give us an insight into his history, but many of the later stories lacked the cohesion and felt as if they didn't really belong in this anthology. I felt like they could have added in some different stories that would have given the book more depth and helped to interconnect the stories better. I also wish that this story would have had a better conclusion. The last story just left me hanging, and not in the exciting cliffhanger way. It just felt as if another story was needed to try and tie everything together.
This being said I can appreciate what the writers were attempting to do. It must be difficult to try and create one cohesive story with so many different writers and storylines going, and I commend them for their efforts. I like the idea of interconnecting the stories and would be open to reading more like it in the future, however, this one, at least for me, fell flat.
When I first heard that A.S. King and Ellen Hopkins had written for this, I knew that it was going to be a definite must read for me. I can very happily say that even after reading the book, I stand by the fact that this short novel is worth checking out. Without a doubt, this is one of the best collections of short stories released in a long time. It was so fascinating how writers of such different styles converged into this lovely, fluid story without the writing changes seeming awkward and out of place. The transitions were extraordinarily well executed, especially in the way that the stories connect to one another. Each story alludes to an upcoming chapter and it makes you wonder what exactly happened and who Kev truly was in life.
However, hands down, the fact that each voice was so distinct and true to life was the best part of the entire book. The moments in which our nine characters learn of the suicide are honest and the vivid descriptions of their reactions felt exactly how I imagined that someone in such a situation would react. A small bit of each chapter is the mourner’s denial of his untimely end. Simply enough, I can’t stress how beautiful the writing styles in this collection are.
Also, all of the stories revealed Kevin’s true nature piece by piece, leaving it up to the reader to interpret Kevin’s character for themselves. I think readers will have mixed feelings on Kevin; personally, I thought he was really intriguing and that is why I enjoyed him so much. Just hearing how people react to first hearing the news of his death reveals a lot about his being; hence why I found those parts so beautifully written and enlightening.
One big complaint I have about this book is how short it is. Upon turning the final page, I could not believe I had read it all! It’s such a quick and enjoyable read that I just want more of these stories so the book doesn’t have to end. That’s a sign of a really good book, so I am still very satisfied with the majority of the book. Frankly, I am having trouble picking out anything wrong with the story or writing. Yes, it is a bit confusing at times, but that was part of the structure of the book and it made the story come alive because you’re experiencing what the nine narrators are feeling.
Overall, I would rate this five out of five stars due to the compelling writing styles, the lovely transitions between authors and the intriguing timeline of the story. I highly recommend that anyone willing to read contemporary picks this book up; it’s definitely worth it.
Reviewed by Sydney L.
In ONE DEATH NINE STORIES, edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith, Jr., authors like Rita Williams-Garcia, Ellen Hopkins, A.S. King, Chris Barton, Nora Raleigh Baskin, and others answer a big what if: What if a teen's death had a ripple effect in ways nobody could have predicted? The book opens with a story about an undertaker's apprentice, bringing in the body of a boy named Kevin. It continues to explore Kevin's death with each story, through the eyes of a different person. Some of these people were close to Kevin -- his ex-girlfriend, a childhood friend. Others only knew him because he died, like the young cosmetologist working on him at the funeral home.
These stories, in an almost surprising way, tell both one story and nine. Each of the vignettes gives as much about the narrator as it does about Kevin. Simultaneously, each story is a piece of the puzzle that was Kevin. And which Kevin was the real Kevin? The troubled boyfriend? The charismatic leader? The loving brother? The wannabe gangster?
ONE DEATH, NINE STORIES is a beautiful collection, a fabulous story both as one and as nine. This will be a great book both for readers of literary fiction and fans of the above authors, as well as for young readers who might be reluctant to pick up a novel, due to the book's short length and the unique format. Readers, find a copy for yourselves; English teachers, put this on your shelves for this fall!