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The Color of Absence: 12 Stories About Loss and Hope
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The Color of Absence: 12 Stories About Loss and Hope

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"In adolescence we feel our losses as if for the first time, with a greater depth of pain and drama than we are aware of having experienced ever before," says James Howe in his introduction to this stunning collection of short stories in which some of today's most celebrated authors of fiction for young adults explore the many faces of loss - the common thread they share a...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 2001)
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YA Short Stories & Collections
57th out of 252 books — 84 voters
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YALSA 2002 Best YA Books
6th out of 60 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

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This is a collection of stories about loss and the many different forms that it can take. Some of the stories were very sad and actually made me cry when I read them, but all of the stories rang true to the different losses that people go through and how they feel. At the end of each story, there is a small explanation by the author about how they came up with the idea for the story or what it means to them. This would be a great book for young adults to really illustrate this aspect of human ex...more
Nov 16, 2008 Gineiris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Gineiris by: my sister
This book is very touching and it is interesting to see the wide variety of writing in one book (ecause it is a collection of different authors). It is also very interesting to see what the authors had to say about their stories. The stories themselves were very moving and dealt with many different kinds of losses.
Carol Rizzardi
Marketed as a young adult collection, this brief anthology of short stories has the depth to make it intriguing for readers of all ages. Each story deals with a loss -- the death of a loved one, the death of innocence, etc. Each of the authors is renowned. The individual author's personal notes at the end of each story give further meaning to each story from the author's point-of-view.

Personally, I find it a bit difficult to teach because of that depth -- I see so much more than my 9th graders d...more

A collection of short stories addressing the issue of loss --- sometimes a loss of life, an ability, a feeling --- sometimes experienced first hand or by observing the experience of another --- most times, sharing it. I found myself loving 10 of the 12 included stories --- that is quite the score. The characters ranged in ethnicity, age, cultural background, and each had a different perspective of loss. All felt very sincere, even the one about a vampire and a stray cat --- easy to read, with...more
Wan Ling
The Tin Butterfly is the one I love most. Oh, and Chair: A Story For Voices.
Monica Hernandez
This book I found to be bland. It was a composition of 12 stories of loss and hope and each one was very depressing. I guess I didn’t like the book itself that much because I’m a happy person and books like that don’t interest me much. The content of the stories though weren’t half bad, just not to my liking. It had one or two stories that I liked but I they didn’t really appeal to me. For some reason I’ve read this book twice, I don’t know why, but I’m not reading it again.
There is only one story in this book that I like. And I mean just like. Not even love. *sigh*

Oh well, I kind of find it hard to connect with the characters and the stories. I kind of need the stories' narration to be stronger. To make me really feel their loss. And their hope. But I didn't feel that.

The only story that I liked, is the only story that I feel at least a little connection.

Oh well.

Kelly Moore
Atomic Blue Pieces by Angela Johnson - This is a good one about a boy who's missing his brother.

Enchanted Night by James Howe - In this story a teenage girl is dumped by her boyfriend, and she think this is the worst thing that's happened to her until her father is suddenly killed a week later. The story is about her dealing with the aftermath, told partially through flashbacks and dreams. I didn't completely sink into the world of the story, but I liked it.
Loss comes in so many different shapes and sizes. I love that this book shows a variety of them. I am also glad it didn't leave me sad and unhappy. It really is more about the hope after the loss which is foggy at first, but you know it is there. Teens feel loss more sharply than most and this book/these authors respond to that beautifully.
This book of short stories focuses on characters dealing with loss. Stories by some of my favorite authors, Avi, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Walter Dean Myers compelled me to buy this one. I'm enjoying them (12 in all), however, I'm not being carried away as I often am when reading a novel.
Uneven, of course, but I was thrown off by the pretty terrible leading story and almost put it down but would have missed the good stuff like Avi, Virginia Euwer Wolff and Walter Dean Myers. Wish some new writers that stood up would have been in there.
By far it is my favorite book very emotional and grimalkin teaches us all a very good lesson omg that cat made me cry!! by the way its composed of many stories the first is my favorite one.
Charity J
had a nice quote:
"Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stithed with it's color"
-W.S. Merwin
"Loss" what can I do?
What can I say?
What can I learn from it?
All what I liked from it was the notes from the writers, and a couple of stories.
this is a really sad book. IN each story someone the main characters loved so much dies and in other stories one of his brother run away from home.
Again, no memory of reading this one, but I appear to have gone through a phase of YA short story collections in 2001 while working at Wonderland.
Feb 25, 2012 Rivkah is currently reading it
Oh, such sad stories, I cried over one! But extra sad, I could even relate to the vampire!
Christina Browne
Christina Browne marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2014
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Jul 29, 2014
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Jul 21, 2014
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Jul 14, 2014
Keyue Bao
Keyue Bao is currently reading it
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Howe has written more than eighty books in the thirty-plus years he's been writing for young readers. It sometimes confuses people that the author of the humorous Bunnicula series also wrote the dark young adult novel, The Watcher, or such beginning reader series as Pi...more
More about James Howe...
Bunnicula (Bunnicula, #1) Howliday Inn (Bunnicula, #2) The Celery Stalks at Midnight (Bunnicula, #3) The Misfits (The Misfits, #1) Totally Joe (The Misfits, #2)

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