I am amazed at how much authors can pack into a short story. It takes a lot of talent to have well developed characters and interesting storylines in just a chapter length piece. I am drawn to anthologies more and more. Here are two I’ve enjoyed recently and a few more I would like to get to soon. Please share titles in the comments if you know of others we should read.
Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith (Final copy via publisher)
Publisher Summary: A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.
My thoughts: I was excited to see another anthology with so many authors that I enjoy and for it to be about music was also a plus. Short story collections can be all over the place, but this one has stories that blend together well and the authors did a great job weaving in characters from the other stories. Most of the stories seem designed to cause warm fuzzies in the reader or at the very least bring a smile. It’s one I’d definitely hand to someone who wants or needs a bright spot in their day.
Contributer list: Brittany Cavallaro, Preeti Chhibber, Jay Coles, Katie Cotugno, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Smetana, Jenn Marie Thorne, Sarvenaz Taghavian, Jasmine Warga, Ashley Woodfolk, Jeff Zentner, and Justin Courtney Pierre
Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise edited by Laura Silverman (Digital ARC via publisher)
Publisher Summary: When everyone else goes to bed, the ones who stay up feel like they’re the only people in the world. As the hours tick by deeper into the night, the familiar drops away and the unfamiliar beckons. Adults are asleep, and a hush falls over the hum of daily life. Anything is possible.
It’s a time for romance and adventure. For prom night and ghost hunts. It’s a time for breaking up, for falling in love—for finding yourself.
Stay up all night with these thirteen short stories from bestselling and award-winning YA authors like Karen McManus, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nina LaCour, and Brandy Colbert, as they take readers deep into these rarely seen, magical hours.
My Thoughts: This was a fun concept and I was pleased by the variety of stories. There were a few on the scary or chilling side, but there were also some lighter stories featuring friends or romance. Because the storylines and characters aren’t connected to each other, this is a great one to pick up if you know you’ll be reading off and on and can’t commit to an entire novel.
Full contributor list: Brandy Colbert, Kathleen Glasgow, Maurene Goo, Tiffany D. Jackson, Amanda Joy, Nina LaCour, Karen M. McManus, Anna Meriano, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Silverman, Kayla Whaley, Julian Winters, and Francesca Zappia
On My TBR:
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space edited by Zoraida Córdova with contributors Vita Ayala, David Bowles, J.C. Cervantes, Sara Faring, Romin Garber, Isabel Ibañez, and Anna-Marie McLemore
All Signs Point to Yes edited by Cam Montgomery, Adrianne White and g. haron davis with contributors Tehlor Kay Mejia, Mark Oshiro, Eric Smith, Emery Lee and Byron Graves (Coming May 31, 2022)