Scattered Showers: Stories

Wednesday Bks. Nov. 2022. 288p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781250855411.
Gr 9 Up–Nine romantic short stories set predominantly during the Christmas season will delight fans of Rowell’s previous work. Four stories have been previously published; all are driven by the author’s talent for clever banter and infused with her characteristic tenderness. Common themes include anxiety and opposites-attract romances with overlooked people—in “Winter Songs for Summer,” a college student gets over her breakup with the help of mix CDs from a gym-rat neighbor, while in “Kindred Spirits,” Elena camps out in line for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and falls for a boy her friends bully. Older versions of characters from some of Rowell’s earlier work reappear, including adult Reagan (from Fangirl) coping with PTSD during the Covid-19 pandemic and Beth and Jennifer from Attachments confronting aging and fertility issues. “Snow for Christmas,” a relatable look at the anxieties of enduring family homophobia at the holiday season, catches up with Simon and Baz after the events of Any Way the Wind Blows and offers a rich combination of expanded backstory and emotionally rewarding character development that is sure to satisfy the “Simon Snow” readership. A relatively even mix of adult and teen protagonists across stories makes this collection best suited to high school collections. Most protagonists are white or presumed white; Elena is of Vietnamese descent.
VERDICT A heartwarming collection filled with Rowell’s signature wit and charm that also hits some heavier notes; a must-purchase where the “Simon Snow” trilogy has been popular.

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