Today is the day to eat some chips and cheese dip (and get free spicy guacamole at Moe's, if you're near one), drink some margaritas, and celebrate life! I wish I could say I know what Cinco de Mayo is actually about, but I do not. I should probably Google it. I'm sure it's about more than just cheese dip, but still. Cheese dip.
Anyway, another reason I'm excited about Cinco de Mayo is because, today, I finally get to share my review of Sucker Literary, Volume III, the third in a series of anthologies which includes some pretty spectacular fiction from emerging and established YA authors. So, let's get to it!
Sucker Literary, Volume III: A Summary
Bullied and alone, Ainsley seeks refuge in the arms of a strange boy. Time is slipping away for overachieving Sadie Lin, but reigniting an old flame might help. Scarred by a pressuring ex, Alexandra finally faces the rain. “Pasty and chubby” Charlotte makes a public play for the “Tan and Smooth” king. The beautiful girl in the black, lacy push-up bra says that it’s time for Brenn to stop lying . . . at least to herself. A halfway house is no home for Dawn—or is it? How will Dana survive knowing everyone at school thinks she’s a monster, when they just may be right? JJ and her crush finally get a moment alone—at his girlfriend’s hottest party of the year. Sixteen-year old Sarah prepares for her first day of school by chaining up her Mamí in her bedroom. Alyssa’s life is a well-rehearsed ballet until a tragedy sends her hurtling towards a fall. Loving a boy is as simple as chemistry . . . unless that boy is an unstable element.
Eleven stories that delve into the depths of our experience—driven by fierce and untouched love that makes us seek, lose, fear, desire, long, reflect, survive, steal, protect, fall, and confess.
Sucker Literary, Volume III: What I Think
It's times like this when I would like to remain completely professional and not at all swoony, but I really just can't right now. I've been asked to review books before that, as it turned out, were not well-written or even edited. It can be tough to make it through manuscripts like that because, although it's necessary for me to finish the book in order to write a complete and honest review, I really don't want to turn another page. I expect everyone has felt like that at one time or another. The whole writing/publishing/reading business is a very subjective one.
This, however, was not one of those times.
In Sucker, eleven stories combine to create a whole body of adolescent experience without striving too hard for the angst and drama that sometimes makes reading anything about teenagers difficult. Don't get me wrong; the angst and drama is definitely there (starting with page one!). It just doesn't feel contrived. Piece by piece, Sucker offers me insight into the unique afflictions of young adults, but, thankfully, doesn't leave me there scratching my head, thinking, "I don't remember my teenage years being like that." Of course, I don't believe I'm supposed to see a mirror image of my own adolescent experience on the pages of this anthology...but I should at least be able to make sense of what these characters are telling me. Care about something they care about. Feel something they feel.
And I do.
I'm a sucker (pun not intended) for YA fiction, as a YA author myself, because those are the years that define so much of what we become later in life. And we don't even realize how simple they can be until we're through them. But that's the whole point. That's why we go back and read. So we can have the gift of foresight after we've made it through the whole deliriously wonderful/tragic/embarrassing experience. What I found in this anthology, though, is that sometimes I'm still wrong.
While reading Sucker I kept wondering if I'd be able to guess the ending of each individual story before I got there. Sometimes I could. Sometimes I couldn't. Moments of anxiety, fear, restlessness, insecurity, pride, pain, joy, anticipation, and love are laid bare for all to see...and they aren't nearly as predictable as we, who have successfully escaped being teenagers, might think.
That's what makes Sucker so delicious.
To learn more about Sucker Literary and Volumes I and II, click here to visit their official website, or stop by and say hello on Twitter!
A big thanks to Sucker Literary for asking me to review this book and for sharing these wonderful stories with me. I look forward to reading more in the future!