Close-Ups: Best Stories for Teens

Close-Ups: Best Stories for Teens

by Peter Carver

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
There are at least two excellent reasons for reading this book. One is that American readers may discover several notable Canadian authors they haven't encountered before. The other is that all the stories are first-rate. It's Hot Today is just one example in which voice and sense of place excel. Brian Doyle masterfully juxtaposes the relatively carefree daily life of a young person on the home front during World War II with the sobering consequences of warfare, as seen through the eyes of one memorably entertaining boy. Budge Wilson's The Metaphor brings to life a student's conflict over whether to place her own popularity at risk by supporting an exemplary teacher. The unpredictable resolution in this story, and others, may surprise readers. There are no pat endings, only real ones. The protagonists, whether making room for someone they don't like, breaking up with the guy that everyone wants, or giving birth to an out-of-wedlock baby, all experience critical moments of awareness that require doing something difficult. Not only will young readers relate to the pitfalls inherent in becoming adults, they will appreciate the originality in this satisfying collection. 2000, Red Deer Press, $9.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
This collection of previously published stories by Canadian authors features high-quality fiction that should engage teen readers. Writing styles are accessible but nicely varied, ranging from Brian Doyle's vivid stream of consciousness in It's Hot Today to the restrained elegance of Jillian Horton's The Bicycle. Starting with a teenager giving birth in Beginnings by Alison Lohaus and finishing with a boy coming to terms with his grandfather's death in Saying Good-Bye to the Tall Man by Rich Book, the stories represent a wide range of adolescent experience. United by the common thread of young people making crucial choices in their lives in a variety of circumstances, the collection succeeds. The title character in Shelley Leedahl's Jesse's Girl, for example, dumps her boyfriend after seeing his cruelty to a cat, and in Horton's The Bicycle, a piano prodigy asserts her individuality by defying her instructor. Most stories feature teen and sometimes child protagonists, but many involve important interactions with adults as well, from an eccentric English teacher in Budge Wilson's bittersweet The Metaphor, to the trusting old man who befriends a runaway in The Kindness of Strangers by Martha Brooks. In many cases, characters interact with people outside their normal range of experience, learning and growing in the process. There is plenty of thought-provoking material here, both in the individual stories and in the common themes that several share. The collection also serves as an excellent introduction to some talented Canadian authors. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Red Deer Press, 224p, Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Steven Engelfried SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)

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Product Details

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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