"Meg works her way down into her new sleeping bag and smiles to herself. It was a good find. She found it in the Salvos. Someone must have given it to them because the zip broke, but it’s fine. Not as good as the doona on her bed at home, maybe, but fine all the same. She is safe here. She giggles at that thought. Most people would think home would be safer than the streets by a long way. They’d be wrong. Here she has Jack lying beside her, rolled up in his blanket. He won’t let anything bad happen to her, here on the street, in the shop doorway. He’s a barrier between her and the late night crowds. A couple of teenagers stop to look at them, whispering to each other. “Nah,” one says. “Nothing worth taking.” And they move on."
— From "The Scream" by Jackie Tritt
"Did you know that two hundred and seventy eight bacteria are exchanged during a single kiss? The number flashes in my mind like a strobe light at a dance party. When he leans in I taste bubblegum on his breath. Grape, I think, when I shouldn’t be thinking anything. I should just be feeling, but all I can see is the number two hundred and seventy eight in bold print on a page of my magazine and it’s unbearable."
— From "Lucky Number" by Jemma van de Nes
Twenty award-winning short stories from the Stringybark Young Adult Short Fiction Award showcase some of the best contemporary YA authors writing today. From sharks and skateboards to religion and romance, these stories illustrate the breadth and depth of what interests today's teenagers.