13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen
edited by James Howe
YA fiction. 280 pp.
Atheneum. 2003.

Thirteen, as indicated by the subtitle, is a collection of stories about being thirteen. By and large, it's a rather good collection. It has contributions from Bruce Coville, Meg Cabot, Alex Sanchez, Rachel Vail, James Howe, Lori Aurelia Williams, Stephen Roos, Maureen Ryan Griffin, Ellen Wittlinger, Todd Strasser, Ron Koertge, Carolyn Mackler, and Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin.

I realize the premise is that you should experience a bit of what it's like to be thirteen. Mostly, I experienced the realization that some authors should not write short stories and some should not write extended fiction.

For example, the book ended with "Tina the Teen Fairy" by Martin and Godwin. I like the premise for the story, but it really didn't work. I don't know who or what to blame, but I know that I loved Martin's A Corner of the Universe. She is capable of building amazing characters, but that didn't happen here.

On the other end of the stick is "Jeremy Goldblatt Is So Not Moses" by Howe. I'm not a fan of his extended fiction, even if it has a great premise, but his short stories are delightful and powerful, and he's a brilliant editor in pulling together various authors. (I highly recommend The Color of Absence.)

In the end, this is a good compilation of stories that are worth reading. Unlike the next book I'm going to post.


editorgirl said...

Martin may have blown you away with A Corner of the Universe, but you really can't expect much from the author of The Baby-Sitters Club. (Which I read and still own, boxed up, at my parents'.)

editorgirl said...

PS. Is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants really at the top of your list? We must discuss soon.

Edgy said...

Okay. Point taken on Martin.

Where did I put Sisterhood at the top of my list? If it was the B post, it only appears there because I sometimes have this obsession with the alphabet. Please clarify. Though I look forward to our discussion.

Master Fob said...

Is it time for another admonishment Edgy-wise?

Absent-minded Secretary said...

I think that it might be... unless we count Geese as "G" and move on to "H".

Edgy said...

Pshaw. What. Ev. Er.

editorgirl said...

I know I clarified at the FOP, but for the benefit of everyone else, Sisterhood is listed as one of your favorite books on your profile. And I think we decided it must be alphabetical.