LIKE WALLPAPER: New Zealand Short Stories for Teenagers, ed Barbara Else, Random House, 157 pages, paperback, $18.95.
This fresh and exciting collection is very precisely aimed to encourage teenagers to enjoy reading fiction. The writers, all with good records of writing for young people, have created stories that are fresh and often funny. Many are about friendship, a crucial concern for teenagers. In James Norcliffe’s The Meaning of Elephants, a girl is enraptured by a boy’s poem, unaware that it is actually about elephants. David Hill’s hero, Trent, in Just Imagine discovers the power of words as he first impresses, then wounds, a girl who likes him. Carl Nixon’s title story has a young man dreaming of meeting his estranged father and Bill Nagelkerke finds that friendship can extend beyond this world. Each story is brief but powerful, making this a collection that will not only be bought but also read.
This review was first published in The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand on 31st December 2005.