Liana's Reviews > Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

Cornered by Rhoda Belleza
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Aug 27, 12

Read in August, 2012

This book was great. I read all of the stories in about four hours and the reading went fast. All of the stories handled bullying sensitively and deftly. There were a few common themes like suicidal feelings and people being taunted with the words "fag" and "lesbo" but it never got repetitive. Lots of diversity in this book, in writing style, in characterization, in sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, plot as well as if the story was about the bully or the bullied.

Some stories really stood out. My favorite was The Truest Story There Is by Jaime Adoff. Utterly haunting, hopeless but still full of heart. I loved the voice of the story and the impossible life found in the most unlikely of places. I wish there was a whole book about those characters. Also, I wish there was a novel based on The Ambush by Matthue Roth. Like Adoff's story, it features a character who is sort of forced into a bleak situation and I need to know more. But I find the whole thing about Russian immigrants really interesting and I wanted to read more of their voices and their story. Another story called On Your Own Level by Sheba Karim also stood out to me because it featured a timely issue of growing up seen as being part of that "terrorist" other in America and also because that plot was juxtaposed by the very teenage problem of liking a boy you can't have.

Inside the Inside by Mayra Lazara Dole was a really weird story, very surreal... literally. But I enjoyed it. Most of the other stories stayed pretty contemporary. Like Kicking a Fence by Kate Ellison was quietly powerful. There was such violence in that story, more than any other, but at the same time a strong tug of compassion for the bullies who had been bullied before. Everyone's Nice by David Yoo used the second person which was oddly surreal but I could still feel the frustrations of the character coming to a head right before the sad ending. Sweet Sixteen by Zetta Elliot had a great way of showing two parallels lives that don't look at all similar on first look.

The only clunker in the anthology for me was We Should Get Jerseys 'Cause We Make a Good Team by Lish McBride. I just didn't really get it. There was a ghost & stuff happened and I felt like I was dropped into some world that I should already know, like it was a spin-off of some other book. So I didn't really get it. But that was the only one. The rest I really enjoyed.

I find most YA Short Story anthologies to be surprising robust, entertaining and full of great writing. Check this book out today!
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