Naomi Novik, Melissa Marr, Peter S. Beagle, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Holly Black, even an Alex Award-winner — Kit Reed (Thinner than Thou, 2005). All authors that teen fantasy readers know and love, all represented in this story collection.
I find that when a teenager becomes obsessed with a certain author, he or she often wants to read everything that person ever wrote. Here’s a great chance to lure teens into enjoying short stories, which can be a hard sell.
Adult/High School–Urban fantasy is a hybrid genre, bringing magic, mystical creatures and other fantasy elements into edgy urban settings. Some of this genre’s most popular writers are represented in these original stories, including Holly Black and Patricia Briggs. A highlight is Jim Butcher’s “Curses,” which features Harry Dresden of the “Dresden Files” series (Roc). Harry is a classic noir private investigator and a wizard. In it, readers learn the truth behind the Billy Goat Curse that has plagued the Chicago Cubs baseball team since 1945. In Richard Bowes’s “On the Slide,” readers meet people who imitate the styles and attitudes of different time periods so well that they disappear into them. In Jeffrey Ford’s “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening,” a spider crawls into a young boy’s ear. After setting up a nest in the brain, it uses its webmaking skills to create new neural pathways and a much different life for itself. Teen fantasy enthusiasts will be drawn to this collection by the variety of settings and time frames. Also, having the stories grounded in familiar urban settings make it a good introduction to the genre for teens who may not think of themselves as fantasy readers. Each story is prefaced with information about the writer’s other works, useful for those who are interested in reading more.–Carla Riemer, Berkeley High School, CA