Parents' Guide to

Shining On: 11 Star Authors' Illuminating Stories

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Short stories about coming of age; some sexual references.

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None of these stories is really terrible, but none will knock your socks off -- which, given the pedigree of the writers, is surprising. This collection was first published in the U.K., and most of the authors are British. Lois Lowry contributes an introduction that attempts to draw a common theme from these disparate stories, and, disappointingly, she includes only an excerpt from one of her novels rather than a new story. Many of the authors are first-rate -- Meg Cabot, Anne Fine, Melvin Burgess, Meg Rosoff, among others -- but the stories are just OK.

Meg Cabot comes closest with a lighthearted take on an image-obsessed girl falling for a geek. Most of the rest are deadly serious, and sometimes preachy. These stories are reasonably enjoyable and pass the time pleasantly, for the most part. But these authors can do, and have done, better.

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