October 3, 2015 at 3:36 pm #634
Exciting Announcement (Click here for more information about Edge.)
School Library Journal
Kerr, M.E. Edge: Collected Stories. 200p. ebook available. Open Road. Sept. 2015. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781504009911.
Gr 8 Up–This collection of 15 short stories is intriguing, thought-provoking, and surprising. Each tale is written from a teen’s perspective, and the settings range from the recent past to modern-day to both the near and distant future. Taken together, the selections address almost every area of a young person’s life, including dating, siblings, parental expectations, sexuality, and planning for the future. But they go beyond teen issues, exploring larger truths about loss, cruelty, race, bigotry, and war. The book ends with a personal history of the author and her own struggles, not only as an author but also as a gay woman. These tales are written in a compelling and readable style. VERDICT Although short story collections do not currently enjoy the popularity that full-length novels or series do, this book is one that almost any teen will connect with.–Tara Hixon, Piedmont High School, OK
“Expertly crafted, with enduring relevance.”
Family, honesty, and status emerge as themes in a collection of prolific author Kerr’s short stories for teens. A girl’s ne’er-do-well adopted brother returns to her as a ghost. A Holocaust survivor understands her lesbian granddaughter better than the girl’s mother fears. A school outcast visits an inmate at the town prison, pretending to be his son, and thinks he’s lucked into a fortune. Most stories here wer e originally published in the 1990s, but despite occasional dated preoccupations, the subject matter still feels fresh and the telling, crisp. Each piece is tautly constructed and economical, the longest clocking in at 16 pages. A couple are gently speculative, like wry opener “Do You Want My Opinion?” in which kissing and sex are engaged in casually, but philosophical conversation is intimate and risqué. Most, however, draw out subtle, everyday conflicts and experiences. As it’s been many years since Kerr has written actively for teens, more introductory material than the current plot-based teasers would have provided valuable context for readers new to her work. A biographical note at the end, however, complete with black-and-white photographs, gives readers background on Kerr’s life, career, and multiple pseudonyms. Expertly crafted, with enduring relevance. (Short stories. 12-18)
Issue: October 15, 2015
Edge: Collected Stories.
Kerr, M. E. (Author)
Sep 2015. 172 p. Open Road, paperback, $11.99. (9781504009911). Open Road, e-book,
Teens will find much in common with the characters in this collection of stories spanning back to 1984. Kerr’s finely crafted tales capture both real-life and otherworldly dilemmas in tones both earnest and satirical. The traditional teen love story is turned on its head in “Do You Want My Opinion?,” where sex is practically mandatory and sharing one’s innermost feelings taboo. Deep questions of inheritance plague the protagonist of “Like Father, Like Son” when a foul-mouthed kid comes to live with a family who doesn’t share his proclivities. Perhaps most haunting of all, “I Will Not Think of Maine” addresses the aftermath of love and death. Stories are told with the immediacy of youth but also with a slight cushion of reflection, just enough so that young readers can begin to appreciate the insight that distance brings. Educators should take careful note of this collection, as the issues raised by the resolution of their situations (or lack thereof) will get even the most reluctant readers chatting. Kerr’s unique characters are not easily left behind.
— Erin Downey Howerton
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