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Fresh Ink: An Anthology

Review

Fresh Ink: An Anthology

In FRESH INK, edited by Lamar Giles, 13 well-known young adult authors put together a collection of short stories. They varied in all different types of stories, from graphic novels to historical fiction. Authors like Melissa de la Cruz, Eric, Walter Dean Myers, Nicola Yoon and more contributed. The goal of these authors were to create stories that defied your stereotypical or average protagonist. There was a sneak peak of the life of a young homeless teen about to join the navy who uses art to steer him from trouble. An anecdote was written about a graffiti incident at Stanford University and how it affects a young Filipino student. Another story describes the life of a young girl with a passion for rock music and the start of a new relationship. There was a short introduction to two girls meeting at a Sci-Fi convention and sparks flying in ways they didn’t expect.

"Considering the variety of authors, storylines, settings and main or side characters, I would say that FRESH INK created quite a collection. The collaboration was very evident and every chapter was charming and inspiring."

What I didn’t expect from FRESH INK was the variety of stories. I would read a “Meet Cute” for two adventurous girls then later read a one-act play about the ghosts of young African-Americans trying to leave their mark on the world. Each story refreshed my brain with something new. All of them together made for a very good anthology. The stories were all also very current to 2018, unless they were, of course, historical fiction. I heard many different references to music, pop culture and today’s issues. For example, there were some high school references to S.A.T.s or Stanford University. I also heard music references to popular, and less popular, music with today’s culture. This was likely my favorite part of the book, the mix between popular references and unpopular heroes.

The idea of unpopular heroes was the main goal of this collection of stories, and I believe that it was, for the most part, achieved. The protagonists of the stories were different and interesting in how the authors would characterize them. I was surprised by how easily I could connect with the characters so quickly, in only about 15 pages a story. However, I also felt like the protagonists or main characters weren’t as different from other stories I’ve read as I thought they would be. I have read stories about bisexual or gay protagonists, the rich-cultured college student trying to live life being proud of her ethnicity, or an unlikely superhero living by his own humanity. I’m not criticizing the value of these stories but I wouldn’t describe this book as the only to have stories like this.

Another part of the book that I enjoyed was the element of change from chapter to chapter. The thorough collection really brought 13 stories together for a real life anthology. Every time I would get to wash a clean slate for a new author with new characters, setting and storyline. This change did make it very difficult to keep track every time I started new. I found that most of the beginnings were somewhat confusing in how the authors tried to pull me in. Once I could understand the place I was at with the book, it became easy to connect with the characters.

Considering the variety of authors, storylines, settings and main or side characters, I would say that FRESH INK created quite a collection. The collaboration was very evident and every chapter was charming and inspiring. Many readers would find their own relatable protagonist in this story, and it is a great pick-me up for readers looking for small inspiration or enlightenment as they go about their daily, yet unordinary, lives.

Reviewed by Lillian B., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2018

Fresh Ink: An Anthology
by Lamar Giles

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2018
  • Genres: Anthology, Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1524766283
  • ISBN-13: 9781524766283