Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein (editors), Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction, 2015, Twelfth Planet Press, Sept 2016, 376pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781922101501
Short story compilations are a marvellous way to meet new authors. Reading one is the best way to get a taste of the style and flavour of the writer as it were, before committing yourself to a full- length novel. Plus established novelists often get a bit experimental and playful in the short story which can be a lot of fun.
This book is worth reading even if only for the excellent introduction which provides a thorough review of all that is happening and has happened recently in YA speculative fiction. Genres discussed include film, novels, prize winners, series, magazines and book blogs and range all over the world from the UK and the USA to Australia. The actual selections here come from multiple countries and sources and range from established publishers to more adventurous organisations. It’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy and all things in between.
The strongest story is the first Songs in the Key of You by Sarah Pinsker. It is about an underdog, a girl with musical talent overcoming her doubts and difficulties. A strong and appealing central character is crucial to the success of a short story and we meet plenty here, including Rupali in The Rainbow Flame by Shveta Thakrar. Probably, Definitely by Heather Morris is enjoyable although it does contain some strong language. Grass Girl by Caroline Yoachim is a creative take on accepting who you are. It’s a short story but maintains interest throughout and has a satisfying ending. The final story The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma is not as polished but does have some good moments.
Anyone fond of speculative fiction will find something to enjoy here.
Reviewed by Mia Macrossan