What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias

Overview

Renowned anthologist Donald R. Gallo calls on eleven top authors to explore what happens when fear takes on a mind of its own.

Everyone is afraid of something. But for those who have phobias, that fear is exaggerated and their reactions are extreme: the heart races, sweat beads up on skin, the eyes narrow, and the throat tightens. The ten stories in this fascinating anthology all present people with debilitating anxiety — from Alex Flinn's gripping psychological portrait of a ...

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Overview

Renowned anthologist Donald R. Gallo calls on eleven top authors to explore what happens when fear takes on a mind of its own.

Everyone is afraid of something. But for those who have phobias, that fear is exaggerated and their reactions are extreme: the heart races, sweat beads up on skin, the eyes narrow, and the throat tightens. The ten stories in this fascinating anthology all present people with debilitating anxiety — from Alex Flinn's gripping psychological portrait of a teen with agoraphobia to David Lubar's humorous tale of a boy faced with dread incarnate in the form of his girlfriend's cat. Whether the trigger is clowns, knives, string, or crossing the street, the characters in these riveting stories confront, are confronted by, and, in some cases, ultimately succeed in overcoming their worst fears.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
(Taken from Introduction by Donald R. Gallo)

"I invited several well-known authors to write stories with teenagers as the main characters. Each writer got to chose his or her phobia. The results were surprising as well as satisfying. While a few authors looked inside themselves at their own fears, others looked outside for situations that would result in an interesting story. They looked at how fear affects their teenage characters, what may have caused that fear, how the characters try to deal with their fear, and in some cases, how that fear is eventually overcome.

I was surprised to see that no one in these stories is terrified of spiders (arachnophobia) or snakes and other reptiles (herpetophobia). And no one has some of the other common fears: fear of strangers (xenophobia), fear of thunder (ceraunophobia), or fear of flying (aviophobia). But as you will soon see, in addition to Alex Flinn's tense story about a boy with agoraphobia, there are stories about nine other phobias: Joan Bauer tells us about a young woman's' fear of gaining weight. Kelly Easton's character is claustrophobic. Gail Gils takes a humorous approach to a teen's lifetime fear of clowns. Angela Johnson looks at the experiences of a boy who is afraid of string. Ron Koertge's character is not just afraid to cross the street; he is unable to even put one foot off the curb. David Lubar takes a humorous look at a boy's fear of cats, but his character isn't laughing. Nancy Springer's character has an aversion to sharp knives. Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, explore a high-school student's fear of speaking in public. And Neal Shusterman's story includes a variety of phobias suffered by students in a special school until one unique student comes along.

What makes these teenage characters so afraid, and how do they deal with their fears? You'll have to read to find out."

__________

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Ed. by Donald R. Gallo. Copyright © 2006 by Donald R. Gallo. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Children's Literature
We are all afraid of something, and most of us learn how to deal with that fear when confronted by it. However, what about those people who cannot? This compilation of phobia short stories created by some of the most famous names in young adult literature and put together by the king of young adult literature, short story collections, allows readers to read about some of the phobias they too may have experienced. Alex Flinn tackles agoraphobia and presents a boy too fearful to leave his home. Joan Bauer delves into the nightmare of a girl who fears gaining weight. David Lubar provides a story based on a boy’s fear of cats and the negative impact it has on his love life. Gail Giles takes on the fear of clowns. Angela Johnson focuses on a boy who is afraid of string. The short stories are all unique in plot, although many share a similar type of ending; for that reason, I do not recommend reading the whole collection at one setting. But this book would be a wonderful way to get students thinking about what people are nervous about in life and why, and this might create empathy for others with whom they come into contact. The individual short stories could also be used to assign research topics on any number of phobias. There are simply myriad uses for this book, and it is a fun and interesting read on top of it! Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Don't let bibliophobia (fear of books, that is) stop you from reading this out-of-the-ordinary collection of ten short stories about teenagers suffering from and coping with irrational and abnormal fears. Clowns, cats, streets, string and knives are just a few of the things that cause these teens to panic. Just walking past his front door leaves Cameron sweaty, breathless, trembling, and numb; how long will it be before he can open the door and go outside? With Olivia's help, will Robert conquer his fear of the street one step at a time? And why would a private school for phobic kids give a scholarship to a boy who fears nothing? Nothing at all. At the end of each story is a short introduction to each author including why he or she chose to write about a particular phobia. The book features a long list of common and uncommon phobias, including such odd ones as arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth! An interesting and informative read.
Carolyn Lott
Excessive fears, debilitating fears that cannot be rationalized away, grip teenagers' lives, causing them to be the brunt of bullying, the focus of jokes, and the cause of nightmares for parents and friends who only want to help. These short stories demonstrate how the fear of string, crossing a road, cats, sharp knives, or clowns can make "normal" life impossible for teens. Most of them get help from a professional or a friend or a parent by learning that they first have to face their fears and then take one day at a time to overcome them. The last story will leave you with a taste of fear in your own mouth as the usual source of fears is reversed. Readers will laugh, shiver, and empathize with phobics who can't control their own thoughts and who can't make their bodies react to seemingly natural events. Anthologist Gallo has collected 11 phobia-ridden stories that hold readers' attention long after they finish reading.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-These 10 short stories present glimpses of what it's like to be considered irrational and to face an invisible fear that disrupts ordinary life. The selections are by notable authors, some of whom explain how their stories came about. Neal Schusterman's eerie "Fear-for-Al" is about a boy who has no compassion for those who are so afflicted. Gavin receives his just deserts when he becomes the community's phobia magnet, absorbing the collective fears like a sin-eater and experiencing the terror that has plagued members of his therapeutic school. In Nancy Springer's "Rutabaga," Lydia avoids knives because of what they can do-or what she might do. She's the quiet, obliging daughter who won't utter a sharp word against her control-freak perfect mother. Only when she stands up to her mother is she free of fear of the kitchen weapons. This is an excellent collection on a topic that holds a strange and fascinating allure.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sufferers of phobophobia (fear of phobias) may want to avoid this solid collection of humorous, eerie, sad short stories. Well-known YA authors contribute absorbing tales of teens suffering from a panoply of phobias. Some are as well-known as claustrophobia, others more unusual, like linonophobia, the fear of string. Some phobias are caused by specific incidents and others suddenly appear without explanation. "Bang Bang You're Dead," by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, tells the haunting tale of how the loss of a loved one causes a teen to conquer his intense fear of public speaking. Ron Koertge's "Calle de Muerte" makes the connection between a wheelchair-bound teen and an agyrophobic (one who fears asphalt). Both would give anything just to set foot on the road upon which they live. The final story by Neal Shusterman is a fascinatingly dark account of a private school for phobic students. In "Fear-For-All" a bully with a penchant for tormenting phobics learns he has a nobler if personally painful purpose in life. A list of common and unusual phobias closes the book. Uniformly engrossing. (Anthology. 12-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763626549
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/11/2006
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 360,646
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.61 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

DONALD R. GALLO is a recipient of the ALAN Award for Outstanding Contributions to Young Adult Literature and the editor of several short story anthologies for teens, including FIRST CROSSING: STORIES ABOUT TEEN IMMIGRANTS and DESTINATION UNEXPECTED.

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Read an Excerpt

(Taken from Introduction by Donald R. Gallo)

"I invited several well-known authors to write stories with teenagers as the main characters. Each writer got to chose his or her phobia. The results were surprising as well as satisfying. While a few authors looked inside themselves at their own fears, others looked outside for situations that would result in an interesting story. They looked at how fear affects their teenage characters, what may have caused that fear, how the characters try to deal with their fear, and in some cases, how that fear is eventually overcome.

I was surprised to see that no one in these stories is terrified of spiders (arachnophobia) or snakes and other reptiles (herpetophobia). And no one has some of the other common fears: fear of strangers (xenophobia), fear of thunder (ceraunophobia), or fear of flying (aviophobia). But as you will soon see, in addition to Alex Flinn's tense story about a boy with agoraphobia, there are stories about nine other phobias: Joan Bauer tells us about a young woman's' fear of gaining weight. Kelly Easton's character is claustrophobic. Gail Gils takes a humorous approach to a teen's lifetime fear of clowns. Angela Johnson looks at the experiences of a boy who is afraid of string. Ron Koertge's character is not just afraid to cross the street; he is unable to even put one foot off the curb. David Lubar takes a humorous look at a boy's fear of cats, but his character isn't laughing. Nancy Springer's character has an aversion to sharp knives. Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, explore a high-school student's fear of speaking in public. And Neal Shusterman's story includes a variety of phobias suffered by students in a special school until one unique student comes along.

What makes these teenage characters so afraid, and how do they deal with their fears? You'll have to read to find out."

__________

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Ed. by Donald R. Gallo. Copyright © 2006 by Donald R. Gallo. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2008

    Don't be scared. . .

    Everyone has them. Fears. Things that intimidate or things that you just plain don¿t like. In a stroke of genius, Donald R. Gallo approached some of the premier authors of teen literature and asked them to write stories about phobias. Contributing authors are such luminaries as Jane Yolen 'with her daughter' and Joan Bauer. In the introduction, Mr. Gallo suggests that the reader skip around. Good advice. The first couple of stories were a little bit tedious, but the last three were thought provoking and felt true to life. Included in this book is a listing of common 'and uncommon' fears. There is a short section on sources, and each story provides a short biography of its author and his/her other work. There are a couple of authors whose work I am now interested in reading as a result of my exposure to their short stories. I suspect students will feel the same way. From the story of a young man who is deathly afraid of speaking in public 'a short story I would be inclined to share with Forensics students or ANY students who fear the same thing' to the story of someone who absorbs phobias 'in the vein of The Giver or some of Stephen King¿s works', this book will provide ample opportunities to discuss fears or will provide an intriguing treatise on the techniques of some of the authors. Instructions for Tight Places is an excellent example of such writing since it is written in second person, and is one of the best examples I have encountered of that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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