On the Fringeby Chris Crutcher, Ron Koertge, Graham Salisbury, Nancy Werlin, Francess Lin Lantz
In every school at every grade, there's a pecking order among students-an in crowd and those outside it, who are often ridiculed mercilessly for the "crime" of being different. This powerful anthology explores the teen outsider experience in electrifying, never-before-published stories by eleven of today's most acclaimed YA authors. A tomboy finds the relief of self-expression through her music, while in another tale a relentless bully tests the faith of an intensely religious girl. A cheerleader discovers that the true soul of her school can't be found within the cool clique; a football player finally stands up for a harassed fellow student; and a boy watches in horror as the school "freak" marches into his classroom with a loaded rifle.
Offering insights into popularity and peer pressure, nonconformity and persecution, acceptance and hate, these riveting, provocative tales will leave readers thinking and start them talking.
Alden R. Carter
Jack GantosAngela Johnson
M. E. Kerr
Meet the Author
New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award Finalist, and Edgar Award winner. She lives with her husband near Boston.
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I never thought about the differnt social groups within a school until I began to teach. Even though I have begun to see the differnt groups unfold as a year progresses, I didn't realize the impact of these groups until I read On The Fringe. This book explores through short stories the lives students experience as they are trying to grow up in the judgemental atmosphere called high school. Within the book is a young girl who realizes her social group may not be for her, a young man dealing with growing up without a father figure, a young woman dealing with sexual identiy, and a young man with a drug problem, amoung others. The book explores the problems of these teens and how each have found a way to live with the reality that they are "outsiders". I recommend this book to all young adult readers and all adults; especially parents and those going into a field where they spend much of there time amoung teens. However due to the graphic language and some of the events that happen within the stories, I do not recommend this book for children under twelve.
On the Fringe proved to be an engaging read. There are many aspects to this book that make it appealing to young adults. The first that jumped out at me was getting to connect with many different types of characters. Each story addresses a unique personality and allows the reader to appreciate their individuality. The reader meets wallflowers, in-crowds, strong and not so strong characters. I enjoyed getting to see so many different personality types and how each is effected differently by society. I also feel this type of book would be a plus for relunctant readers. It's short story format may not be as intimidating as a long novel might be. Another strong point to this book for young adults, is allowing them to be exposed to many different authors in one resource. It would enable to reader to find new writing styles they enjoy and may allow them to find a "new" favorite author. Reading On The Fringe was an enlightening experience for me and I think any reader would find that true as well. I truly enjoyed getting to see so many different personality types and getting exposed to several different authors that were new to me.
There isn't a clunker among these eleven stories dealing with the 'outsider' topic. Jack Gantos's story, Muzak For Prozac, was my favorite; his prose just sings. Will Weaver's WWJD was refreshingly daring and thought provoking. I would think this book would be a comfort to so many kids who feel ostrasized for one reason or another. Some of the stories, like Joan Bauer's A Letter From The Fringe, are more overtly preachy than others but who cares? Each story brings to light in its own unique fashion what its like to experience the perks and perils of being singled out as different. Adults should read this book as well, not only to keep in touch with the pressures kids will always face but maybe realize as I did some of these issues are not just unique to teenagers but all age groups. We all know some adults can be just as cruel as some teens. Congratulations to the writers and the editor, Don Gallo, for a job well done.