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Sixteen: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults

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Here are sixteen representative stories for the eighties, written especially for this collection by today's best-known writers for teenagers. Their impressions radiate through an emotional prism of hope and hate, love and death, despair and joy, in a diverse yet strikingly unified collection. Here are sixteen representative stories for the eighties, written especially for this collection by today's best-known writers for teenagers. Their impressions radiate through an emotional prism of hope and hate, love and death, despair and joy, in a diverse yet strikingly unified collection.


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Here are sixteen representative stories for the eighties, written especially for this collection by today's best-known writers for teenagers. Their impressions radiate through an emotional prism of hope and hate, love and death, despair and joy, in a diverse yet strikingly unified collection. Here are sixteen representative stories for the eighties, written especially for this collection by today's best-known writers for teenagers. Their impressions radiate through an emotional prism of hope and hate, love and death, despair and joy, in a diverse yet strikingly unified collection.

30 review for Sixteen: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie A.

    I tripped over this at the public library – miraculously still holding on after more than 30 years -- and immediately found it to be a treasure of a literary time capsule. There is a particular cadence to 80s teen writing, edgier and more concerned with social issues than genuinely “vintage” teen books but still a dated far cry from this century's YA, and sometimes it's just kind of nice to immerse yourself in that era's style. A sampler platter is a great way to go about that. The stories thems I tripped over this at the public library – miraculously still holding on after more than 30 years -- and immediately found it to be a treasure of a literary time capsule. There is a particular cadence to 80s teen writing, edgier and more concerned with social issues than genuinely “vintage” teen books but still a dated far cry from this century's YA, and sometimes it's just kind of nice to immerse yourself in that era's style. A sampler platter is a great way to go about that. The stories themselves are not particularly outstanding to me – I lost interest by the second half – but there are a few memorable ones: Diane Duane's Midnight Snack: Let me go cry forever at the thought of unicorns existing in the modern day, but trapped in the subway tunnels and barely surviving on food scraps. Also, apparently this was adapted as a “half hour animated TV special in cooperation with WQED in Pittsburgh.” Harry Mazer's Furlough – 1944: Unremarkable on its own with kinda rapey vibes (dude whines at his girlfriend and tries to convince her to sleep with him so he won't die a virgin if he's KIA), but gains significant value upon the reveal that it is a companion piece to a published novel, The Last Mission. Judie Angell's Turmoil in a Blue and Beige Bedroom: A melodramatic monologue, ironically not included in the “Turmoils” section, about a girl flopping around her room and wondering WHY this BOY won't CALL her!! she is SUFFOCATING and just wants to go to the arcade, but she can't leave because no one else is home to take a message, and if he doesn't call she might have to go STAG to a COUPLES PARTY like some kind of LOSER??, which is exhausting to read the first time but sort of grows on you because of how charmingly dated its issues are. I genuinely want to know how a modern teen would react to this. There are a couple of other funny/ridiculous ones too: May I Have Your Autograph?, which was apparently inspired by the author's son Craig Sharmat, inexplicably sends the message that stalking celebrities is cool as as you're really clever about it and do it out of devotion without publicizing your findings, while Richard Peck's Priscilla and the Wimps portrays the leader of a school bully gang being casually shoved in a locker by someone (a girl, no less) who couldn't care less about his little reign of terror, which is pretty much how I wish everyone could deal with bullies. There aren't any I hated, but I found M.E. Kerr's “Do You Want My Opinion?” an annoying exercise in perspective shift, featuring a dystopia where emotional intimacy is eschewed in favor of the physical (don't challenge my assumptions, lady, just let me be sex-negative in peace). And, while there's nothing wrong with the stories written from adult perspectives, they are mostly dull in comparison* and I am utterly baffled as to why they should interest teenagers. (*Exception: Robert Cormier's “In the Heat” is very solid for me as an adult who wants to cry over a recent widower grieving his wife and worrying about the effect of the loss on his son.) No, the true value in this book lies in the author bios after each story, featuring a snapshot of their personal life / career trajectory as well as as short overview of their contributions to the literary canon. Here I discovered any number of titles that must have been popular once but have sadly faded into obscurity, including the fun fact that Summer of my German Soldier has a sequel, and came away intrigued by dozens of potential reading options. I've been looking them up online and poring over them for hours. I was familiar with most of these authors coming in to the collection – my favorites being Peck, the Mazers, Ouida Sebestyen and Susan Beth Pfeffer – but my knowledge of their work is highly incomplete. Twentieth century books do not have as much of a presence on Goodreads and often lack especially descriptive summaries, if they have them at all, so the bite-sized description and mini-analysis of each author's notable works was quite illuminating. My absolute favorite mention is when Ouida Sebestyn's work is described as always ending on a “warm, upbeat note,” which is at hilarious odds with her eventual legacy, as described on Goodreads: “Her work is noted for its honesty and provocative story lines that do not always provide a conventional happy ending.” I also got a chuckle out of how many novels are referenced as having been turned into TV productions (at least two of which starred Kristy McNichol, it makes sure to point out), a fun reminder that this kind of adaptation was once fairly commonplace and apparently a bragging right. The only authors who did not stand the test of time enough for me to know today are Marjorie Sharmat, Judie Angell/Fran Arrick, Robin F. Brancato, Kevin Major and Rosa Guy, but they all sound like authors I'd like to further explore; the last one in particular sounds like a name the We Need Diverse Books crowd might consider dusting off from the out of print shelf. In conclusion: come for the research, but stay for the stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy Rae

    Have to pause on this because the copy I own is missing pages. It was discouraging to miss the end of a pretty good short story, and it makes me a little worried about reading the rest of it--clearly, the book's a bit delicate. How I wish everything in the world had digital editions. :( I do want to return to it, though, because every story I've read in it has been enjoyable. Silly, maybe, but a pleasant way to get acquainted with authors of the time. And the M.E. Kerr story included (of course Have to pause on this because the copy I own is missing pages. It was discouraging to miss the end of a pretty good short story, and it makes me a little worried about reading the rest of it--clearly, the book's a bit delicate. How I wish everything in the world had digital editions. :( I do want to return to it, though, because every story I've read in it has been enjoyable. Silly, maybe, but a pleasant way to get acquainted with authors of the time. And the M.E. Kerr story included (of course that's why I'm here, of course), about a high-school boy in a world where everyone takes sex for granted but conversation is something that should happen behind closed doors, is still pretty thought-provoking a few decades later.

  3. 5 out of 5

    M. Lee

    Honestly, it only gets three stars because of Diane Duane's story "Midnight Snack". My seventh grade language arts class read some stories from this in the late nineties - apparently only the 'realistic' ones, going through the list - but I flipped through and landed on this story of unicorns in the subway. I remember thinking it was cute, and then putting the book away. Little did I know, that story would haunt me for the next twelve years. I'm absolutely serious. I COULD NOT REMEMBER THE AUTHOR Honestly, it only gets three stars because of Diane Duane's story "Midnight Snack". My seventh grade language arts class read some stories from this in the late nineties - apparently only the 'realistic' ones, going through the list - but I flipped through and landed on this story of unicorns in the subway. I remember thinking it was cute, and then putting the book away. Little did I know, that story would haunt me for the next twelve years. I'm absolutely serious. I COULD NOT REMEMBER THE AUTHOR OR THE STORY TITLE OR THE ANTHOLOGY AT ALL, but I could clearly remember underground unicorns. Finally, the LiveJournal community whatwasthatbook solved it for me, I can devote my brain to some other half-remembered story instead.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Stimpson

    I took a creative writing class in 1989, the summer before 9th grade and my teacher used several of these stories. They had a profound affect on me as a writer. Some of them still hold up pretty well. "Turmoil in a Blue and Beige Bedroom" is my favorite. I took a creative writing class in 1989, the summer before 9th grade and my teacher used several of these stories. They had a profound affect on me as a writer. Some of them still hold up pretty well. "Turmoil in a Blue and Beige Bedroom" is my favorite.

  5. 4 out of 5

    BarbaraW

    Nice little book found at a yard sale. May check out authors to read some of their other works. Like short stories and done if these were good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shaheed Rashid

    Have you ever read one of those books that turned out to be a complete and total waste of your time? That you envisioned yourself summoning mystical powers to take back the lost hours you enslaved a front a palm sized, leaf-paged master? That you endearingly and wholeheartedly tried to conjure up excuses as to why that book was some how beneficial to you in SOME distinct, (possibly extinct), rare oh-look-a-two-dollar-bill kind of way? I have. This book is wack. I'm sure that if I had read this bo Have you ever read one of those books that turned out to be a complete and total waste of your time? That you envisioned yourself summoning mystical powers to take back the lost hours you enslaved a front a palm sized, leaf-paged master? That you endearingly and wholeheartedly tried to conjure up excuses as to why that book was some how beneficial to you in SOME distinct, (possibly extinct), rare oh-look-a-two-dollar-bill kind of way? I have. This book is wack. I'm sure that if I had read this book when I was maybe, oh let's say, 4 years old, then I would like it, maybe even love it. But I wasn't reading novels at 4. I was, however, reading novels in the 5th grade. And one of the short stories in this collection I recognized from my SFA class at Bryn Mawr; back when I wet the bed. I won't completely bash the authors though for the work they did to put together this masterpiece of linguistic art, even if it was made from macaroni noodles. There were times when the plot came together just right and times when the language was grade AA. Cartons of chicken eggs found at Fred Meyer are grade AA too. Often, those eggs have cracks in them. Basically, I absolutely loved this book as it made my heart warm like double scooped vanilla ice cream in an air-conditioned Baskin-Robbins as I read each word. No other diction from any other book is more deserving of the Newbery Medal than this one; except the kids at BIG BAD HIGH SCHOOL who fail remedial English courses and misspell "lemonade" frequently.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sophie E.

    I read "May I Have Your Autograph" by Marjorie Sharmat. This short story was about a fan who wanted to meet this rock singer and get his autograph. Wendy is a crazy fan of Craig the Cat and knows everything about him. She goes to the hotel that he is staying at and follows him to the hotel coffee shop. In the coffee shop they draw attraction to themselves and Wendy shields Craig the Cats face so the paparazzi couldn't get a picture of him when he looks like a regular civilian. In the end Craig i I read "May I Have Your Autograph" by Marjorie Sharmat. This short story was about a fan who wanted to meet this rock singer and get his autograph. Wendy is a crazy fan of Craig the Cat and knows everything about him. She goes to the hotel that he is staying at and follows him to the hotel coffee shop. In the coffee shop they draw attraction to themselves and Wendy shields Craig the Cats face so the paparazzi couldn't get a picture of him when he looks like a regular civilian. In the end Craig is in awe of how much work Wendy put in to getting Craig's autograph. Craig signs the autograph and Wendy is overwhelmed with joy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    I was disappointed. I knew that Peck's "Priscilla and the Wimps" came from this collection, and so I thought the rest of the stories would be of the same caliber. Not so. Some are good, but overall, these stories were just okay. The copyright year (1984) speaks volumes to me about short stories. How 'bout you? I was disappointed. I knew that Peck's "Priscilla and the Wimps" came from this collection, and so I thought the rest of the stories would be of the same caliber. Not so. Some are good, but overall, these stories were just okay. The copyright year (1984) speaks volumes to me about short stories. How 'bout you?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim Lanza

    I can't help read YA literature with my teacher lens. These stories are too dated for today's readers. There is much that deserves to be read by students that is not current, but I do not rank this collection among them. I can't help read YA literature with my teacher lens. These stories are too dated for today's readers. There is much that deserves to be read by students that is not current, but I do not rank this collection among them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samiha

    I only read two of these stories because the others didn't seem interesting. I only read two of these stories because the others didn't seem interesting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Goodman

    I didn’t like this collection. I found the stories to not be satisfying. I often thought, am I just not getting this?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    There were two stand-out stories in this book. I'll let you figure out which ones. There were two stand-out stories in this book. I'll let you figure out which ones.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    Sixteen short stories on a variety of topics by authors who specialize in writing young adult fiction. It was a quick read with a couple of really good stories - I especially enjoyed Diane Duane's. Sixteen short stories on a variety of topics by authors who specialize in writing young adult fiction. It was a quick read with a couple of really good stories - I especially enjoyed Diane Duane's.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    This is a book of short stories. It is funny to read these stories and see how writing for teens has changed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie Gardner

    Too dated to be useful. Bummer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Pricilla & the Wimps & May I Have Your Autograph? good for characterization lesson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  18. 4 out of 5

    usui takumi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Pajerowski

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura Aghata

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tanvir.ubhi

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lordale Benosa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  26. 4 out of 5

    elaine

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ami Meals

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz

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