In case you haven’t heard of it, Begin, End, Begin, is a short story collection by a bunch of Australian Young Adult authors, and I adored it. Each story was excellent, and the authors I hadn’t read made me want to try out their full-length work(Will Kostakis and Alice Pung, I’m coming for you. I like short fiction, because it’s like dipping your toe into a story, and not worrying too much about info dumps or even background info. The story is a perfect capsule in and of itself, and it’s such a joy to have a variety of tales all together. Each author just really got teenagers.
The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.
One Small Step My only critique is that Kaufman seemed to be trying a bit too hard to tick aalllll the diversity boxes? But it was a lot of fun. I loved the setting on Mars, and this one had lots of action. I also liked how it confronted what you do after school, because it’s been something that’s on my mind a lots lately.
I Can See the Ending I definitely didn’t expect this one to have a magical realism twist. It was nicely incorporated into the story without too much spaced wasted on explanations. Anyway, Kostakis has this excellent way of showing what it means to embrace a relationship, and what a struggle that can be.
In a Heartbeat I loved this concept, and how the central tension between the narrator and her mother was resolved–not perfectly, but realistically–as well as dealing iwht what it means to be a good mother and accept responsibility. The flashbacks and format as a letter were also excellent.
First Casualty I have no idea who Michael Pryor is, but this was a really sensitive, galactic way of approaching xenophobia, in society and within ourselves. It’s not easy, but it was lots of fun.
Sundays I’ve read Cinnamon Girl and Outer Space, and I think I liked them more than this? I loved the ‘group friendship/relationships are complicated’ thing, and the movement through the part lent the story a lot of dynamism
Missing Persons Whoops, I accidentally forgot everything about the Every trilogy which I didn’t finish. Anyway, this kind of stands alone, and has friendship and not much crime, which I liked.
Oona Underground I love Lili Wilkinson’s cute contemporary, but this had a darker vibe. I liked the idea of finding your way amidst mystery and silence, and trusting in your relationships.
The Feeling From Over Here I just had to look this one up in my ebook because it’s very forgettable. Again, I appreciated the contained format, and it’s easy to read, but the characters don’t have much nuance. Anyway. Gabrielle Tozer is still great.
Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory This was really fun. I found that it was subtle in all the right ways–the inclusion of a variety of characters was seamless, and it dealt with that central YA concern of figuring out who you are without someone else, in this case an older brother.
Competition Entry #349 Jaclyn Moriarty is WONDERFUL. Her minimalist worldbuilding was EXQUISITE and I liked the way this story looked at how one person’s experience is just one way to view an event–there’s always other things going on, and time travel can reveal that. oh, and it’s really funny!
If you love Australian authors or YA in general, this is a top notch collection that will make you feel so understood. I’m so glad it exists!
have you read many short stories? tell me in the comments!