Half a Creature from the Sea: A Life in Stories

illus. by Eleanor Taylor. 240p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763678777.
Gr 7 Up—A "monster" chained in May Malone's house is not what it seems; God visits a friend's garden; a bullied child commits the ultimate sin; a girl named Annie knows she is truly a mermaid, and has a picture to prove it—Almond's eight short stories, all set in gritty northern England, are about the improbable, the beautiful, and the mysterious. Each story includes an introductory note that details the origins of the story and its impact on Almond. The style and tone of the collection is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's otherworldly works. While these tales are mostly autobiographical, elements of magic, mysticism, and mindfulness are laced throughout. The author delivers realistically magical vignettes for niche readers.
VERDICT A unique contribution to the rather small genre of young adult short stories.

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