I am a Big Fan of short stories.
This is because I have a short attention span, mostly. The story has a beginning, a middle and an ending, and THEN IT’S DONE. Your emotional investment is over!! *
*Disclaimer: unless you’re reading Ellie Marney’s story, because then you have to read her other books.
I’m hesitant to use absolutes when I’m reviewing, but I’m going to say it…this is the best anthology I’ve read.
Usually in anthologies, there are some stories that are a bit meh, some that are okay, and only a few that are really brilliant. But most of the books in this are brilliant.
(I hope you guys are impressed. I went OUTSIDE to take this picture)
One Small Step by Amie Kaufman was a strong start to the anthology. What’s not to love about the first girl born on Mars, an f/f relationship and space? I loved it. I definitely want a whole book about Keiko and Zaida.
I Can See the Ending by Will Kostakis was excellent as well. It’s about Adam and Nina who work at the same shopping centre but at different stores, and share their respective foods in their lunch breaks. There’s some magical realism in here that I REALLY LOVED.
In a Heartbeat by Alice Pung aka my love. Alice Pung never fails to amaze me with the way she writes, and she’s also very funny in a way that’s a bit off-beat. Great development of characters and relationships in such a short story.
First Casualty by Michael Pryor features ALIENS (actually there is a lot of space for an Australian anthology). I love that the aliens weren’t your average aliens that somehow look exactly like humans. And also I love how it was basically just criticising Australia for our appalling treatment of asylum seekers.
Sundays by Melissa Keil – cute and funny and brilliant, as is Melissa Keil’s style. I also love how invested the friends were in each other’s relationships, and how breaking up is like breaking up with the whole group.
Missing Persons by Ellie Marney OH MY GOSHHHHH ORIGIN STORY. This takes us back to before the events of Every Breath, and it was so good to get back into that space. Also – you need to read the Every series.
Oona Underground by Lili Wilkinson WAS SUCH A GOOD STORY. A bit weird, going underground and looking for a witch, kind of urban fantasy and wacky. But I absolutely adored it – so different. And the ending omg.
The Feeling From Over Here by Gabrielle Tozer takes place over a long bus trip, with a bit of back-and-forth with past and present. I love how it developed over the course of the short story and I love stories over small periods of time, so this was excellent.
Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory by Danielle Binks, aka the editor of this glorious anthology. It was really gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what else Danielle comes out with.
Competition Entry #349 by Jaclyn Moriarty was hands-down my favourite story in the anthology. It is SO FUNNY (hysterical, actually), and the voice is incredible. There’s a bit of time travel, a bit of not knowing what’s going on, a lot of hilarity. A great one to end on.
Begin, End, Begin is an important book that celebrates Australian writing and Australian authors.
There’s something about Aussie writing that’s just different to that in the US – it doesn’t have a lot of the tropes, and it has so much creativity. I highly recommend this anthology and I think it’s a testament to the talent of our writers.
The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.
Where are most of the books you read from? I have to say I DO read a lot of US YA (biggest market, more books, more marketing etc.), but Aussie YA will always have my heart.