The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7613-7527-2
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. Agent: (for Stief-vater and Gratton) Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; (for Yovanoff) Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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