From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–This title bills itself as neither a magazine nor a book, but a cutting-edge literary journal of contemporary voices to be published twice yearly. Contributors include authors who have distinguished themselves in young adult literature. Forms include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and include contemporary and historical accounts that somehow touch on the broad topic of sin. Some pieces stand alone without any difficulty. A summer intern at a public relations firm learns firsthand an unappealing truth about marketing in Joan Bauer's story, "Smoke." The memory of an ever-advancing sexual experience is re-created in Sonya Sones's poem, "Massage." The witch-hunts of Salem are discussed in Marc Aronson's essay, "The Sins of Salem." Other examples of inhumanity against humans are revealed in Hazel Rochman's "What Would I Have Done?" While many of the selections, particularly the nonfiction, are well done, the book is likely to have difficulty finding an audience. The back cover copy is provocative, leading teens to believe what lies within will be entertaining and a bit "over the edge." While that's true of some of the selections, readers who expect pure and even provocative entertainment will be disappointed. The novel excerpts, most of which don't read well out of context, will be lost on everyone. In the end, the thread that unites the pieces is just too tenuous to make a satisfying whole.–Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID
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Gr. 9-12. For the debut issue of a literary journal more than a decade in the making, YA author and anthologist Cart has chosen a theme as provocative as it is broad. Most entries (there are 18, including short stories, poems, nonfiction essays, and several pieces of black-and-white artwork) wear their thematic connections lightly. What unites them is the sense of the definition of YA being stretched beyond its traditional upper limit. Several characters are beyond high school (one even has an MBA), and the longest contribution, Terry Davis' "The Silk Ball," set in a war-ravaged Cambodia of the 1970s, dwells on the violence so pointedly that the result is closer to Apocalypse Now
than to the edgiest of existing YA fare. It's a mixed bag, with contributions by Brock Cole, Joan Bauer, and Sonya Sones likely to appeal to the broadest audience. Will Rush Hour
assume a hallowed place among sophisticated teen readers, similar to the literary magazine GRANTA
in the adult literary world? Probably not right away, but one hopes that the publisher will give this ambitious project plenty of time to find its audience. V.2, Bad Boys
, will follow in September; each installment of the journal will be published simultaneously in hard- and softcover. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved