Fresh Ink: An Anthology

208p. Crown. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524766283.
OrangeReviewStarGr 9 Up—This collaboration with We Need Diverse Books features 13 standalone stories from award-winning and best-selling authors including Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Eric Gansworth, Malinda Lo, Daniel José Older, Jason Reynolds, Aminah Mae Safi, Gene Luen Yang, and Nicola Yoon. The stories are distinct in themes, subjects, genres, and formats, creating an inclusive, authentic, and incredible collection. Each entry features realistic, well-rounded characters and plots. The protagonists identify across a spectrum of races, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexualities without being reduced to stereotypes or tokenism. Timely topics such as the U.S. 2016 Presidential election and DACA are addressed, but other stories are historical, comedic, and even include science fiction. The entire anthology is strong, but there are a few showstoppers. Safi perfectly captures the angst and awkwardness of teen crushes and romance. Gansworth demonstrates the power of small acts of rebellion through a young Native American in 1975 taking a stand against "flesh" toned pencil crayons. Yoon's contribution is a heartbreaking, beautiful, and thought-provoking entry about Black Lives Matter. While all readers will benefit from this work, recommend to fans of Yoon, Angie Thomas, or those interested in social justice.
VERDICT This compelling anthology is an excellent choice for YA collections.

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