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Pretty Monsters

New or Used: 2 copies from $31.95
New or Used: 2 copies from $31.95

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Gr 8 Up-Kelly Link's offbeat, quirky collection (Viking, 2008) of nine short stories, ranging from fantasy to horror to sci-fi, features ordinary teens who find themselves in bizarre and unusual situations. Unexpected plot twists, deadpan humor, and magic are abundant. Link, in her first collection for young adults, dances around the edge of reality in each story and leaves the endings wide open. It's almost as if the stories end a beat or two before they should, and many listeners will be left wondering, how did that happen? Listening a second time may lead to buried clues that help explain each tale's conclusion. For example, in "The Wrong Grave," Miles tries to retrieve the only copy of poems he wrote for his now dead girlfriend. Could he really have made a mistake and unearthed the wrong casket? In "Magic for Beginners," Jeremy and his friends are avid fans of the TV series The Library which has no set schedule and runs on different networks. Is the show or Jeremy's life reality? These strange, twisted plots also touch on teen issues of friendship, first love, adolescence, and more. Each unique story has a different narrator who expertly conveys its humor, suspense, and terror. These seasoned readers, including Christina Moore, Andy Paris, and Alyssa Bresnahan, among others, employ skilled pacing and a straightforward tone which adds to the surreal nature of the stories. Fans of macabre tales and works by Neil Gaiman will find much to enjoy.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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