The Collectors: Stories

Dutton. Sept. 2023. 272p. ed. by King, A.S, ed. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593620281.
Gr 9 Up–An astonishingly all-star cast of authors take extremely creative interpretations of the idea of collections and collectors in this volume of strange stories. These are 10 of YA’s most beloved writers including King, the anthology’s editor. From Anna-Marie McLemore’s ethereal, quietly violent collection-inspired fairy tale to Jason Reynolds’s heartbreakingly honest, tender, and illuminative entry, which is itself a piece of a larger collection, each of the strong-voiced authors included has distilled the essence of what they do best into something “defiantly creative.” The pieces found here are ones of experiences (G. Neri’s “Pool Bandits”), things that fit in jars (e.E. Charlton-Trujillo’s “La Concha”), things that are created (Reynolds’s “A Recording for Carole Before It All Goes”), and things that are stolen (David Levithan’s “Take It From Me”). The pieces differ in format, as well—other than prose, there is a screenplay (Randy Ribay) and an illustrated, experimental piece (Cory McCarthy); one is set in 1976 (Neri), one in 2021 (M.T. Anderson). The collectors themselves are all searching for something; some of them find it. Though the stories differ in so many ways, each author brings a sense of reverence for the theme to their entry, resulting in brutally heartfelt moments with incredible emotional depth that feel like a cohesive whole. King’s argument in the introduction that all collections are art and collectors are artists certainly holds true here; masterfully collected and worth slowing down to absorb.
VERDICT An anthology for every collection.

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