What family doesn't have secrets? The Dirty Laundry
collection, edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino (author of Ash
), explores this universal fact of life via 11 original short stories penned by acclaimed young adult writers. Graham Salisbury
shines with "Something Like ... Love," his story about a Hawaiian boy who befriends a Caribbean man of mystery and in the process learns a little about what matters in life. In "Popeye the Sailor," Chris Crutcher
uses the cycle of child abuse to reveal that secrets tend to rear their hideous heads--no matter how firmly they are pushed aside. M.E. Kerr
artfully explores the haunting of a teenage girl by her dead adoptive brother in "I Will Not Think of Maine," and in "Passport," Laurie Halse Anderson
takes an amusing look at a young person torn between divorced parents and struggling to create a reality all his own. Diverse as they are, the stories share the quality of compelling, solid writing, as well as the message that no matter how normal or perfect a family appears, secrets are sure to lurk just beneath the surface. --Brangien Davis
From Publishers Weekly
Fraustino's (Grass and Sky; Ash) provocative title and subject matter are enough to reel readers into this eclectic collection of original stories. Here 11 popular YA authors portray young people discovering, hiding, exposing or coping with disturbing truths. For example, in Fraustino's own contribution, "FRESh PAINt," a high school senior stumbles onto the hidden history of her great-grandmother while befriending an elderly patient at a local mental institution. Randy, the hero of Bruce Coville's "The Secret of Life, According to Aunt Gladys," learns about a closely guarded family secret when his never-before-mentioned Uncle George, a transvestite undergoing sex-change surgery, arrives for an extended visit. Other entries convey the burden of carrying a secret. Harboring guilt for abusing his little brother and his infant daughter, the protagonist of Chris Crutcher's "Popeye the Sailor," mistakenly thinks he can bury the past by devoting his future to aiding victimized children. Not all stories are realistic: both Richard Peck and M.E. Kerr serve up flavorful ghost stories. Offering both escapism and insight into the long-range effects of deception, these stories will satisfy a wide range of tastes. Ages 12-up.
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