The Opposite of Disappearing: Short Stories in Uncertain Times, edited by Laura Norris & R.A Stephen
I am so honoured to have my short story, Between Spaces, included in this collection of contemporary short stories for young adult readers, written by various authors of young adult fiction during the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020.
My story in this anthology is called Between Spaces and is about a teen who has just moved into a run-down apartment complex with his mum. The teen narrator – Tiger – is feeling a sense of disorientation - he’s had to leave his home and his friends behind, and he’s struggling with his sense of belonging and identity. However, when Tiger meets one of the residents of the apartment complex – a dumpster-diving girl named Darcy – he starts to see glimpses of light in the dark, and the possibility of finding a way back to himself.
The editors did a great job of bringing together fourteen short stories which are linked together by themes of loss, searching for identity, resilience and hope - but all in such unique and different ways.
I was thrilled to be published alongside some amazingly talented authors of children's fiction, including Kate Gordon (Aster's Good, Right Things; The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn, and The Ballad of Melodie Rose), whose story in this collection is Izzy's Swing, a beautiful portrayal of a big sister trying to provide comfort and reassurance to her younger sister, who is battling fear and anxiety - set against the background of the pandemic.
Another favourite of mine in this collection is Paper Crowns by Samantha-Ellen Bound (author of the newly released and highly successful Seven Wherewithal Way), a beautifully crafted story about a teenage girl who's been lumped with watching her younger brother while on holiday at the ski lodge. All she really wants is to be noticed, like her beautiful older sister. But her desire to be seen might just come at a cost.
Other stories I loved in this collection included Perennial by Kelly Emmerton, a story of two boys grieving the loss of their friend, and Haunted by Niko Campbell-Ellis, a raw and moving story of navigating loss, guilt, and grief.
I love that teen fiction offers the reader (and writer) so many first experiences – first love, first heartbreak, first successes. These first experiences can be filled with so much emotion and angst, which makes for compelling reading.
This collection has a story to suit every mood - and would make a wonderful gift for a young adult (or adult), as well as being a perfect addition to a school library.
Published by Rhiza Edge (Wombat Books)