Friday, June 16, 2017

[Review] Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)24/04/2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 336
Source: Library
Genre: YA - Anthology (12+)

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating: 
Solid collection of #LoveYA short stories 

My thoughts

This anthology makes me proud to be Australian. What a great collection of short stories full of lively and diverse characters and worlds! I had a hard time pulling away from some of these stories, and this was overall just a really great way of showcasing all the awesomeness that some current Aussie authors have to offer!

The publicity for this book has been overwhelming, it seems that no matter where you go in the Aussie bookoverse this book is highly regarded, in high demand, framed in neon lights with blinking words saying "Read me! Read me! Read me!" Honestly, it gradually became impossible not to delve into these pages that I drove 20 minutes to the not-quite-as-local local library (as opposed to some of my other, more local libraries) and borrowed a copy of it (I have since purchased my very own sparkly copy!).

Anyway, let's break it down here, discuss all the short stories and shine a torch on my faves....

*One Small Step... // Amie Kaufman (4/5)*
I couldn't help but fall in love with this short story! This was such a strong opening short story, it's got it all, all the things that make Aussie YA so great! Space! Tension! Teenage issues! But seriously, this story felt original and fresh and lovely in its exploration of female love and identity and belonging, and finding out what you really want in life.

*I Can See The Ending // Will Kostakis (4.5/5)*
I also adored this short story, and it only just confirms the notion that I'm going to fall in love with his storytelling in his full-length novels! Another love story, but with a twist: the protagonist knows that they won't survive "'Til Death Do Us Part". I honestly can't fault this one, this one made me feel the feelings!

*In A Heartbeat // Alice Pung (3.5/5)*
I gave this one extra props because I love the format and concept behind this short story! It's actually told to the unborn child of the protagonist. I found it to be bitter and sweet, all in one. The writing style was also lovely, just lovely. I just felt that the resolution was a tad unrealistic/rushed.

*First Casualty // Michael Pryor (2.5/5)*
I feel kind of mean giving this rating, but I need to because this one dragged on a bit for me and I just didn't care all that much, I felt so much distance from the narrative. That said, I appreciated the world building and liked the writing style. Maybe it was just too sci-fi. I did like the underlying message about refugees though.

*Sundays // Melissa Keil (2/5)*
Makes sense that a short story about what happens during a party isn't one of my favourites (see: I HATE PARTIES). But if I'm being honest, this was just really freaking ridiculous and I could not take any of it seriously. Two of the friends in the group break up and the rest of the group just... falls apart. Maybe I've outgrown these kinds of stories, it felt so overdone and uninspired and immature. And what is up with the responsible, shy guy in the group getting blind drunk? Sorry. Was not a fan.

*Missing Persons // Ellie Marney (3.5/5)*
Not one of the standouts, but I did enjoy this one. The pacing and writing were really well done, and the characters were quite quirky and likeable. This follows a teenage girl as she tries to adapt to city life in Melbourne after moving with her family from the countryside. And since she used to be home-schooled, things are very, VERY different.

*Oona Underground // Lili Wilkinson (4/5)*
Such a cute short story! <3 Is it bad to say that I can totally see this story on It was magical and adventurous and lovely and left me feeling warm and fuzzy feelings at the ending. :) 'Nuff said.

*The Feeling From Over Here // Gabrielle Tozer (4.5/5)*
I love the format of this short story! Every "section" is cut up by the time in which things occur, over the course of one overnight bus ride from Canberra to Melbourne. The tension is real and intense, the writing is witty and funny and so clever, and I adored this one. Even more than her novel.

*Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory (3/5)*
While this one was quite heartwarming and imbued in me a sense of nostalgia, I felt a bit of disconnect. I didn't KNOW these characters. I didn't care enough. But it did make me feel wistful. And the brother/sister relationship is sweet.

*Competition Entry #349 // Jaclyn Moriarty (5/5)*
So much love. Original concepts all around! No words...


AUSTRALIA: A&R | Booktopia | Dymocks


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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