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This is Push: New Stories from the Edge

Review

This is Push: New Stories from the Edge

edited by David Levithan

David Levithan, the founding editor of the edgy Scholastic imprint, PUSH, has put together this anthology of 15 short stories by PUSH authors, including Markus Zusak, Patricia McCormick, Kevin Brooks, Tanuja Desai Hidier and many more.

THIS IS PUSH offers a wide variety of short story selections that range in style from narrative to the duel poem/play format in "My Boyfriend Refuses to Speak in Iambic Pentameter" by Billy Merrell and the poem "Picking" by Samantha Schutz. The collection encompasses teen heartbreaks, missing parents, overbearing parents and teenage experimentation --- all told in engaging stories with raw and edgy characters. Even in the crazy apocalyptic world of Chris Wooding's "People Watching," there are elements of teenage frustrations leading to rebellion.

The short stories that really stand out among the pack include Patricia McCormick's "Smoking Lessons," about a young girl who desperately wants to impress one of the "cool girls" at her new private all-girls school where she aims for "a fresh start." Markus Zusak also mesmerizes readers with his masterfully poetic language in "The First Six Killers." In typical Zusak style, he writes from the point of view of an oddball character, a 16-year-old gravedigger with "a face like darkness" and "a smile like an uncomfortable tide."

Coe Booth's "Halfway" is an invigorating jaunt into the life of an urban teen celebrating his birthday by driving with his learner's permit to visit his father at a halfway house. In the opening lines Booth writes, "I know I ain't s'posed to be driving by myself with nothing but a hour-old permit in my back pocket, but a brotha got places to go Alright, to be honest, I don't got nowhere to go, but this dude from my old building was dumb enough to lend me his car to go to the Motor Vehicles, so why not cruise 'round for awhile?"

This collection also includes stories with tension between teens and their parents. In Matthew Roth's "The Waitress," a Russian immigrant boy gets beaten up on his first day of high school. Roth writes, "That night to celebrate my allegedly victorious first day of school, my parents took me to the same place we went to celebrate virtually every family birthday, anniversary, and good report card ever…I had to try on all three collared shirts in my closet before I found one to cover the bruises that Bates had put there."

And then in Christopher Krovitan's "Ginger," a young Jewish girl falls for a crazy punk kid that comes into her father's music store. Her mother's response: "Gyah! Izzy, you're killing me…Can't you have a weird little teenage crush on some nice Jewish boy who comes into the store…Why does it have to be the freckled Irishman with the homeless-person clothes?"

THIS IS PUSH is the perfect way to sample the fine talents of the PUSH authors. Whether you read it for your old favorites or to learn more about new writers, this anthology will be sure to entertain.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on February 1, 2007

This is Push: New Stories from the Edge
edited by David Levithan

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Push
  • ISBN-10: 0439890284
  • ISBN-13: 9780439890281