Monday, February 27, 2012

Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story by Kelly Milner Halls

I received Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls, through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. This short story collection consists of several paired stories, with two celebrated YA authors each telling one side of a love story. When a collection features names like Chris Crutcher, Ellen Wittlinger, Joseph Bruchac, and Rita Williams-Garcia, my expectations run high . . . but in this case, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. Nearly all of the stories in the book feature a high level of teenage angst, but to me, it almost seemed like too much -- it felt like they were trying too hard to be hip, edgy, and relevant. Maybe it's just the normal difficulty of cramming fully-fledged characters and a well-developed plot into the space afforded by a short story, but many of the stories felt a little rushed and disjointed to me. And, though this may sound contradictory, I don't think the book lived up to its premise, either. In the introduction, Halls describes her inspiration for the book as a story of a teenage couple's breakup, in which one person's action was interpreted completely differently by the two halves of the couple. While I wasn't expecting all of these stories to be breakup tales, it seemed like the protagonists in many of the stories were pretty much on the same page -- there was not a lot of dramatic tension created by miscommunication or characters misjudging each others' motives.

Other reviewers seem to have enjoyed this book much more than I did, so perhaps it's just that I wasn't in the mood for teenage angst . . . but, all in all, this is a book that I can't see myself recommending.

(Advance review copy courtesy of the publisher, obtained through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)

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