From acclaimed and New York Times best-selling YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.
• A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
• Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
• A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).
These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.
But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website www.merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author's comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.
Described in an introduction by editor Andrew Karre as "the public performance of the private act of story craft," this assemblage of more than 30 short stories, many of which first appeared on the authors' joint blog, is akin to an artist's sketchpad. Technique, not story, is often foregrounded. "The Power of Intent," a Yovanoff offering, is a "be careful what you wish for" story with little narrative tension, but along the way it perfectly depicts the emotional undercurrents of a high school dance. And the mysteries of Gratton's brief but potent "Puddles" remain mysteries, though she quickly establishes a chilly atmosphere and fiery antagonism between her protagonists. Garlanding the snippets are handwritten doodles and notes that offer only occasional enlightenment about the authors' writing processes, but abundantly display their mutual admiration. There are lovely stretches of prose and many funny, personable marginal exchanges as an entertainment, an object, the book has its pleasures. Overall, though, the content is better suited to its native milieu, the Web. Ages 12 up.