Visions ed by Donald R. Gallo.
Delacorte Press/Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group: NY, 1987.

One of the things interesting about the book is that it includes some of the earliest YA writers. There was a prior book, Sixteen, also short stories specifically for teens, a new concept at the time. Like the previous book, this collection portrays a variety of topics and concerns. There are nineteen stories, and I couldn't help noticing they are all considerably shorter than stories tend to be these days.

I did not like all of the stories in this collection, but many are quite good. I thoroughly enjoyed Lensey Namioka's The All-American Slurp in which a Chinese family is trying hard to fit into American customs, with the dinner party being the ultimate test. In Jason Kovak, the Quick and the Brave by Jean Davies Okimoto, Jason is kicking himself for being a wimp, covering for a coworker at Wendy's. An armed robbery occurs, and he must find the courage to identify the culprit. Norma Fox Mazer's What Happened in the Cemetary deals with sexual discussion and experimentation (or not) and a dad recuperating from heart failure. Amanda and the Wounded Birds by Colby Rodowsky portrays a single mother who councils her radio audience but is finding little time to talk to her own daughter. Playing God by Ouida Sebestyen describes a boy who is contemplating running away. He's ready to leave town when he finds a box of puppies by the river waiting for a savior. In the process of finding them homes, an unexpected remembrance catches him. In The Good Girls by Fran Arrick, Mary Louise saves a young dance student from an abusive fate similar to her own situation. In On the Bridge by Todd Strasser, Seth basks in Adam's shadow, whom Seth thinks is a cool, tough guy. When Adam's disdainful attitude provokes a battle scene, he lets Seth be pulverized for his actions. One of my favorites of the collection is A Hundred Bucks of Happy by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I don't know why exactly. I just like the way she writes. Her protagonist finds a hundred dollar bill, and the story is a lesson on the value of money as she decides how to spend the money. Cousin Alice by Joan Aiken is an odd selection about a family feud. Fern lives with her aunt during the feud and is a factor in the settling. Walter Dean Myer's Jeremiah's Song is about the passing of an old man with stories to leave to the next generation. Cousin Ellie tries to stop the stories until Grandpa explains their significance. The Boy With Yellow Eyes by Gloria Gonzalez is another I really liked. Two opposite boys stop a spy. Willie, playing baseball by himself, comes across Norman, reading in an abandoned railroad car. Norman introduces Willie to the joy of reading (Dracula), and they are interrupted by the spy. In The Beginning of Something Roseanne's family comes to comfort Cousin Melissa and her father when Melissa's mother dies. Roseanne shadows Melissa in case she's needed and ends up on a double date, her first date.

related-teens, teenagers, short stories

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