Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

Edited by Rhoda Belleza

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut. This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred.
Featuring some of the hottest voices in YA literature, both bestselling and on the rise, Cornered includes works from Kirsten Miller (New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones), Jennifer Brown (Hate List), Elizabeth Miles (Fury), Jaime Adoff (The Death of Jayson Porter), Lish McBride (Morris Award finalist Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Matthue Roth (Losers), Sheba Karim (Skunk Girl), Kate Ellison (Butterfly Clues), Zeta Elliot (A Wish After Midnight), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin), and James Lecesne (Absolute Brightness and founder of the Trevor Project).
Review: My mistake in reading these short stories was forgetting the full title: Bullying AND Defiance. I got a bit confused when I reached a story that had nothing to do with bullying. It threw me off for a moment, but not in any way that changed my opinion of the book overall. As for that, I really enjoyed this book, and it's kind of one of those books that it's hard to imagine enjoying, since so many of the stories are upsetting in some way. That doesn't mean it ever felt hopeless though.

I also really enjoyed having short stories. You get to jump into a world for a bit and then go on to the next. It's nice to get a variety of styles in one book too, and I found some authors that I'm curious to read more by, which is also really good. The one complaint about this book (and short stories in general sometimes) is that I wanted more from some of these. I really would have liked a few of these concepts to go beyond and fill up an entire book all on their own.

Since there are 14 stories in all, there is no way I can talk about all of them so I'm going to simply go through a few of the ones that I really enjoyed. Hopefully this will give you a broader look into this great collection of stories! Also, I think it's important to know that there all sorts of stories in this book...meaning, they aren't all realistic. You get some fantasy, paranormal, etc. thrown in here and there too!

Nemesis by Kirsten Miller was the first story in the book and it was also one that I wanted to be an entire novel, because the concept is just so interesting. The narrator seeks to find justice for bullied kids because they know what it's like to not fit in. I don't want to give too much away, but it really is an emotional story that gives you new perspectives on the bullied and the bullies.

The Shift Sticks by Josh Berk is great because it's all about a guy that wasn't the biggest bully, but he did go along with the crowd...and it shows what happens when he runs into the girl he used to help torment years later.

Sweet Sixteen by Zetta Elliott was one surprising story. The main girl sells sex for money, and the girl she meets in custody was just taken away from a cult. Both of them are young and yet have warped views on their own power and sexuality. It's a sad story, and the ending wasn't the most hopeful of the bunch...yet it was still realistic.

How Auto-Tune Saved My Life by Brendan Halpin was kind of an amusing story. It was one about bullying, and the bully is actually a teacher which makes it very unique, yet it still showed the lighter and better side of life.

But Not Forgotten by Jennifer Brown and Still Not Dead by James Lecesne both deal with committing and wanting to commit suicide and how getting to that point affects a person. They were very good stories; emotional, powerful, and highly recommended.

And finally (yeah, I kind of talked about a lot of stories, so I apologize) we have We Should Get Jerseys 'Cause We Make a Good Team by Lish McBride which was actually the last story in the entire book and funnily enough, this book ends like it began for me...with a story that I wished was longer and I'm definitely curious to check out more by this author!


Liviania said...

Lish McBride is terrific!

And I'm currently reading this anthology.

Aylee said...

This sounds great! Though I'm not a big short story reader. Probably for the reason you outlined, that I usually want MORE. But I'm incredibly intrigued that there's some speculative fiction in there instead of all realistic fiction - now THAT's a neat twist. I haven't read any of these authors, but I recognize a few as ones that have been recommended to me before - it's especially nice to hear that you would want to read more from them, too!

Erika said...

I LOVE Kirsten Miller! For her story alone I want this book!! :)

Sam said...

This sounds like a great mix of short stories. I'm quite curious about the few you mentioned, especially the first one. great review! :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I recognize so many of these names.

I read an anthology recently and I've been buying more of them. I'd also love to read this.

Giselle said...

Short stories and a fun way to just get a little 10 mins reading spurts here and there. This one sounds really good, I would have thought they would all be bullying too though regardless of the "Defiance" in the title. Great review!

....Petty Witter said...

Though not a fan of anthologies myself this sounds as if it could be a great resource for schools and youth clubs.

elena said...

ooh this sounds interesting! especially they aren't all realistic but i'm glad it doesn't feel hopeless despite its subject matter. i'm glad you enjoyed this anthology. :D

Candace said...

Bullying books are really getting big, which is good since bullying is such a problem. Lish McBride is great and I would read this even just for her story. I don't generally read anthologies but I might have to make an exception here.

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I recently got a book of short stories (Dear Bully) so this interests me too, though it's interesting that there are non-bullying stories too.