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Something Old, Something New: Loosely Connected Short Story Collections

Short story collections, I have always found, are a hard sell. Unless your name is Stephen King, those seem to circulate well. In theory, it seems like short stories are a good idea of reluctant readers, and a great way to try and find a new author. But nope, a hard sell.

But occasionally, there are books that aren’t true short stories, but a collection of short stories that are connected in some way, usually by a reoccurring device or character. For today’s Something Old, Something New feature, I have a couple of those for you.

Something Old: Whirligig by Paul Fleischman

Brent Bishop is a 17-year-old boy who has just been involved in a terrible accident which results in the death of a girl named Lea. The truth is, he was trying to kill himself, but instead Lea is dead. Lea’s mother asks Brent to drive to four different locations and place a whirligig there in Lea’s honor. What comes next is 4 short stories about the various characters who find the whirligigs:

  • Weeksboro: Two 13-year old girls named Steph and Alexandra.
  • Bellevue: A 10-year old Korean-American boy named Tony.
  • Miami: A Puerto Rican man called Flaco.
  • San Diego: A 16-year old girl named Jenny. (from Wikipedia)

Whirligig was released in 1998, making it 16 years old now. At the time that this came out, I had been a YA librarian roughly 5 years. It was a fairly interesting story, though definitely not a big shelf mover. Fleischman is a classic YA author and new YA readers may want to check out some of his earlier works.

Something New: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
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