No Such Thing as the Real World: Stories about Growing Up and Getting a Life

An Na, M.T. Anderson, K.L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, and Jacqueline Woodson, April 2009.   Six stories by six award-winning YA authors, and I can’t decide which I like best.  It’s not Going’s tale of a girl living in her sister’s shadow, and it’s not Kephart’s tearjerker about a dead best friend, although both of these would have shone on their own.  It’s definitely not Lynch’s contribution about a young man who takes over his father’s pawnshop, the only story to fall flat, mostly because the format doesn’t give us enough time to get to know the narrator.  No, it’s one of the other three.  An writes harshly and poetically about a young woman abandoned by her baby’s father and seeking money for sex, and we think we know why until the end.  Woodson invites us into the mind of a troubled dancer in the black gay ballet scene, a corner of the world I never knew existed.  I think that one might be my favorite, partly because Anderson’s story just makes me feel stupid. Am I supposed to understand whether this scripted dialogue really takes place between two high school seniors — and if it does, the girl is out of her mind — or is it really an elderly couple but one is…really dead?  Just a projection and some memories?  Or am I the crazy one?

This entry was posted in 2009, An Na, Beth Kephart, biracial, black, Chris Lynch, fat, gay male, gay-bashing, gaytopia, high school, Jacqueline Woodson, K.L. Going, M.T. Anderson, problem novel, prostitution, queer adult, queer protagonist, realistic, romance, secondary queer character, short stories. Bookmark the permalink.

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