I recently posted about how much I love the short stories of Ray Bradbury. Short stories are a great way to learn about structure because they generally only contain a single plot twist. They’re also easy to read in one sitting, which is a draw for antsy teens. Here are some short story collections I like (or would like to read):
Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar is probably the first book of short stories I ever read. These stories are wacky and fun, and they’ve got some great twists you don’t see coming–like the fact that there is no 19th floor in the 30-story building.
Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan is a brand new book I’m looking forward to reading. These stories about strange events happening in normal suburban towns are accompanied by lovely illustrations.
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan contains some of the most mystifying strange stories I’ve ever read, including one about a girl who seems to have trained to become a bride, but has a hard time making it to the ceremony.
Love is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz is an upcoming collection that sounds angsty and fun. Teens will be excited to see their favorite authors included here if they’ve read Wicked Lovely or Uglies.
The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block is lyrical and edgy, with ingenious modern-day twists on classic fairy tales. My favorite: “Ice,” (a retelling of “The Ice Queen”) in which a girl loses her angsty rockstar boyfriend to an icy beauty.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov is a great stepping stone for teens into adult fiction, especially since it’s currently being made into a movie. This novel (and its sequels) is made up of short stories about an orchestrated attempt to save mankind from a new Dark Age.
Also, for you librarians and teachers–here’s a great resource for finding short stories and novels that have been made into movies. Might be a good way to find a short story collection that a teen you know will be interested in reading.
Parker Peevyhouse would love to someday write a novel made up of short stories.