Nicholas, Kevin. Age 19. Died at York Hospital, July 19, 2012. Kev's the first kid their age to die. And now, even though he's dead, he's not really gone. Even now his choices are touching the people he left behind. Rita Williams-Garcia follows one aimless teen as he finds a new life in his new job-at the mortuary. Ellen Hopkins reveals what two altar boys (and one altar girl) might get up to at the cemetery at night. Will Weaver turns a lens on Kevin's sister as she collects his surprising effects-and makes good use of them. Here, in nine stories, we meet people who didn't know Kevin, friends from his childhood, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, all dealing with the fallout of his death. Being a teenager is a time for all kinds of firsts-first jobs, first loves, first good-byes, firsts that break your heart and awaken your soul. It's an initiation of sorts, and it can be brutal. But on the other side of it is the rest of your life.
With stories by Chris Barton Nora Raleigh Baskin Marina Budhos Ellen Hopkins A.S. King Torrey Maldonado Charles R. Smith Jr. Will Weaver Rita Williams-Garcia
Aronson has won many awards for his books for young readers and has a doctorate in American history. His lectures cover educational topics such as mysteries and controversies in American history, teenagers and their reading, the literary passions of boys, and always leave audiences asking for more.
One Death, Nine Stories didn’t really scream Christina book, but I couldn’t resist the premise of the anthology. It actually turned out to be much cooler than I was even expecting. I thought they’d be essentially companion stories by different people associated with the deceased. That’s true, but they’re also interlocking and codependent. It’s more of a cohesive novel than I was expecting. It’s a multiple POV novel from nine different authors. One Death, Nine Stories is a really neat idea and I hope to see more collaborations like this one in the future.
Of course, I probably wouldn’t have taken a reading risk like this one had the book not been so short. I started One Death, Nine Stories at 10 PM last night and had two stories left by midnight, even though I wasn’t very focused. It’s only 140 pages of stories, with the rest of the page count being associated material like author bios. It’s an easy risk to take, because, like it or not, it doesn’t take a huge chunk of your reading time. In my case, the risk paid off.
Singularly, the stories mostly aren’t subject matter that I would want to read as a book, but the way they all tie together is amazing. The best example is Ellen Hopkins’ story. I didn’t really like it because the first person POV is this guy Mick, who has really racist and sexist attitudes. He didn’t learn anything and I wasn’t a fan of that. However, at that point, you don’t really know too much about the deceased and, in learning more about Kevin, I had a bit of a new stance on Mick by the end. The stories really do impact one another.
Kevin Nicholas we see first as a body in a bag. He’s tall, but that’s almost all we know. Then we see him as an altar boy, having his first sexual experience. Some of the stories are memories of him in his youth, while others are as recent as a couple of days before he died. Some of the stories really focus on Kevin’s impact on the person’s life, while, in others, his death is merely a launching off point for things that person needs to deal with because they didn’t know Kevin at all. In the beginning, all the reader sees is the mourning family and the expressions of sadness at his loss, but the picture becomes less simplistic with all the new information in each story.
As is not usually the case with anthologies, there wasn’t a single story that dragged. They were all fast-paced and interesting. I will say, though, that I didn’t really get why one story was in there. It’s from the POV of someone whose cousin knew Kevin and he sees about the death on Facebook. He starts thinking about Kevin’s death a bit, sure, but mostly it’s about his football practices. I think the death was supposed to have some strange impact on how he lives his life, but that wasn’t really conveyed effectively to me. It wasn’t a bad story per se, but I didn’t think it fit as well with the others.
If you enjoy novels that experiment with different formats or are interested in author collaborations, I urge you to check out One Death, Nine Stories. It’s different from a lot of YA or, actually, NA, since the characters are 18 and over for the most part and, hey, it’s super short so why not?
One Death, Nine Stories centers around the death of nineteen-year-old Kevin. Each of the stories focuses on a different person who is impacted by Kevin’s death. Some characters are impacted more than others, but the book shows how one death can ripple through a community.
Anthologies are usually hit or miss with me. This one is a bit of a miss. I didn’t hate it or anything, but it’s forgettable. None of the stories really stand out.
If I had to pick a favorite story, I’d go with “Initiation” by Ellen Hopkins. This story takes place when Kevin and his friend, Mick, are kids. They steal a bottle of wine from a church and go to the cemetery. Kevin and Mick are on a mission to see their friend, Candy’s, boobs. This story is different from the others because it adds some desperately-needed humor to the anthology. Ellen Hopkins is also very good at writing believable child characters.
My second-favorite story is “Connections” by Marina Budhos. In this story, Kevin and a college friend go to the mall to pick out suits. The friend has a complicated family life. This story is well-written and has more depth than the others.
My biggest problem with this anthology is that it feels shallow and repetitive. This is a very short book (150 pages), so there isn’t much space for character development. Many of the stories feel very similar, which is odd because they’re written by different people. Almost all of the characters have tragic pasts, and almost all of them had a weird/criminally dangerous/mildly disturbing interaction with Kevin at some point in their lives. Since the characters are so similar, the stories blurred together in my mind.
I do like how this anthology brings attention to some overlooked aspects of death. I’ve never really thought about the people who bring bodies to the morgue or the people who put makeup on the dead. I’ve never wondered what happens to the guns that the police collect after a suspicious shooting. Some of the stories show what happens behind the scenes of a death, which is interesting.
The anthology also has a good message: There is life beyond your teenage years. Your life isn’t over just because something bad happens.
This book has some interesting aspects, but I was mostly underwhelmed by it.
"Are you sorry you succeeded? Was your pain greater than all others?"
A mix of short stories. There were ones that stood out more than others -but all in all, they did flow well together. It was interesting to read how all these side stories gave a good glimpse into the one that was missing in all the stories - the One Death. It was an fascinating way to tell the story - but I didn't love every story.
I liked the idea of this collection of stories, but feel I would have enjoyed it more if maybe some of the stories were a little more connected. But I did like how the stories helped illustrate how one event can impact so many lives, miles apart from each other. I appreciated the creativity of each story, as they all helped me maintain interest in the main event of the book.
This was such a novel concept that I had to read it and see how it worked. And it worked really well! One person's death is told through nine stories by nine separate authors....who they are, how they were impacted, whether or not they even knew the person who died; all of it tied together beautifully.
This was a clever series of stories, all by different authors, all based around the theme of "initiation." The editor writes that one person began with the first story, then each other were told: "their instructions were to link, in some way, to the first story." Each built their section as they wished, moving from section to section, from person to person. The actual main character of the book was Kevin, a boy who died, and each story told about his death and how they heard about it, how it affected them, no matter how close or how loosely connected they were. Each story added to the reader's knowledge, and each built into the framework and added more backstory. It was fascinating. I didn't find it choppy at all, even though each story was only a few pages long, because they all seemed so cohesive and wound around Kevin's life and told us more about him and the ripple effects of his life and his death. This book is described as young adult, and I guess it works. It's pretty intense, but the authors are sensitive to the subject and describe feelings and reactions rather than the gory details. I would suggest it for older teens.
I can't imagine how challenging this project must've been for the authors to write and put their pieces together to create such a tremendous and unforgettable story. The writing was raw, powerful, and I liked how it all centered around one main character and one main theme.
I enjoyed the stories that were told from the various characters, and how they all had a connection, a past, or even just had a simple wonder (Jackson's story was by far my most favorite; a stranger with wonder) of the deceased. Even though there wasn't a story written in the deceased's perspective, the reader still learns so much about them from the stories being told, and I think that right there was the greatest of all about this book.
This book is described as a novel told in stories. Each chapter is a separate short story, but they are all connected around one character's death and the idea of "initiation." This is an interesting concept, but I didn't feel it was as successful as it could have been.
Kevin Nicholas is dead and his death touches the lives of many people. There are the few who only know him in death, such as Morris and Nadira who work at the funeral home or Jackson who learns about his death through a cousin on Facebook. Then there are those who knew him intimately, like his sister Lydia or his first love Candy. There are his best friends and friends who had only just begun to know him. Either way, all of these people came in contact with Kevin in one way or another and they all have a story to tell.
While each character has a story to tell, I didn't feel as if there really was a central story. In the Afterword, the editor says this was a "Pick-Up Game, a cross between an anthology and a novel...individual stories written by different authors shifted character and story lines, making each one both a piece in itself and part of a larger whole" (145). While I can appreciate what they were trying to do, to me it felt too disconnected. The only connection was that Kevin died, nothing else. There were three chapters in a row ("Initiation," "Just Once," and "The Next Next Level") that flowed together as similar characters appeared in each story. In those three chapters you saw a history developing, a story forming. Even the next one, "Running Man," helped to build the damaged character of Kevin. After reading those four in a row, I thought it was building to something, the truth behind whatever happened, but then it just died and went off in another direction. I think that's my problem with this book - things are just disconnected and I don't feel that it goes anyplace. I don't feel as if this book gives any closure, even if the Afterword feels like the last chapter brings it all together. The editor also said there was a continual theme of initiation, and while I saw it strong in some, it didn't feel strong enough in others to say that connects the stories. I've read another book along the "Pick-Up Game" concept where multiple authors work together to write a novel - each chapter is a different author but it continues the story, sometimes taking it into a completely different direction, but all connected. I've also read an anthology where each author writes a different interpretation of the same event. This novel tries to combine those two concepts and isn't, in my eyes, successful.
It's not really a novel, but it's too connected to just be considered an anthology. However you want to classify this, is does open you eyes to see how one person's death can affect multiple people, even if it is in the most minor way, and the different situations in which we are initiated and learn something about ourselves.
I'm giving this book 3 stars, but know it my heart it's closer to 3.75.
At age 19, Kevin Nicholas is found dead from an apparent suicide, just like his daddy. His death affected family, friends, and classmates. What could be so terrible that a 19 year old wants to take his own life? His death, but more importantly, his life is told through the eyes of nine people. They considered him a friend, a lover, a brother. He was an alter boy. He was mischievous. He was Captain of the Cross-Country team. He was a boyfriend, not a good one but he was. He was a leader. He was a business major. He was full of secrets, darkness, but most of all he was damaged. Being a psychology student, reading about Kev and his life really made me angry. He needed help and no one noticed. They offered help after his dad died, but never when he had a bad day. No one could believe Kevin killed himself, but it was so obvious that he wanted to. When someone takes their own life it affects everyone around them, sometimes people they don't even know. That being said, suicide is a big deal and is making its way into the news more often, most recently Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. I bring that up because his death affected so many people. He felt alone in a world that adored him and that should be an eye opener to society. Reading through this book made me realize that unless you are directly affected by suicide, the topic is off the table. Most people don't want to talk about the issue because if they don't then maybe it's not as bad. I connected most with Candy. Not because she also referred to herself as damaged, but because her first love is now dead. If you have EVER been in love, you know your first love will always mean something to you. A few years ago, my very first boyfriend committed suicide as well, along with countless others from my high school. It's hard, especially when that boy isn't exactly embraced by their community. The point is, people are not going to get help. They are not going to reach out. They already feel alone. So make sure you hug your friends and let them know that you understand. Ask them how they're doing. I promise it will help them in the long run.
This review and others like this can be found at A Reader's Diary!
I love short story collections. LOVE them. You don't see too many for the YA market, which is too bad. Fortunately, there's a wonderful new collection out right now. And it's a collection with a fabulous twist, since, despite being written by multiple authors, it pretty much reads like a novel.
In ONE DEATH NINE STORIES, edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith, Jr., authors like Rita Williams-Garcia, Ellen Hopkins, A.S. King, Chris Barton, Nora Raleigh Baskin, and others answer a big what if: What if a teen's death had a ripple effect in ways nobody could have predicted? The book opens with a story about an undertaker's apprentice, bringing in the body of a boy named Kevin. It continues to explore Kevin's death with each story, through the eyes of a different person. Some of these people were close to Kevin -- his ex-girlfriend, a childhood friend. Others only knew him because he died, like the young cosmetologist working on him at the funeral home.
These stories, in an almost surprising way, tell both one story and nine. Each of the vignettes gives as much about the narrator as it does about Kevin. Simultaneously, each story is a piece of the puzzle that was Kevin. And which Kevin was the real Kevin? The troubled boyfriend? The charismatic leader? The loving brother? The wannabe gangster?
ONE DEATH, NINE STORIES is a beautiful collection, a fabulous story both as one and as nine. This will be a great book both for readers of literary fiction and fans of the above authors, as well as for young readers who might be reluctant to pick up a novel, due to the book's short length and the unique format. Readers, find a copy for yourselves; English teachers, put this on your shelves for this fall!
ONE DEATH NINE STORIES is a unique novel comprised of short stories that weave together the story of Kevin Nicholas. Reports of Kevin's death connect his acquaintances as they tell their individual stories and how they are tied to the deceased nineteen year old.
His sister, his best friend, a passing relationship with a fellow community college student, and an ex-girlfriend are just a few of the contributing storytellers that give readers a glimpse into the intertwined relationships of those who knew Kevin. Ghosts from Kevin's own past reveal that his relationships were not the positive ones that most would hope for in the life a young man about to begin his adult life. From the nine different stories, readers will learn about the influences humans have on one another, whether good or bad, and how those experiences combine to shape the players.
This unique collection is the product of two amazing minds, Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith Jr.* They tapped nine of their contemporaries to participate in this literary experiment. Authors Chris Barton, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Marina Budhos, Ellen Hopkins, A.S. King, Torrey Maldonado, Charles R. Smith Jr., Will Weaver, and Rita Williams-Garcia all played a part in creating the cast of characters connected to Kevin Nicholas. In the Afterword Aronson explains the unique process of creating the individual stories and the resulting complex interaction that brought them together in this interesting format.
*Aronson and Smith have another multi-author collaboration piece titled PICK-UP GAME. (I just ordered it and can't wait to read it!)
"Keep running Kev", this is the last thought that Kevin's friend Marco had when hearing about Kevin's death. He is one of many people to reflect on the life that he spent with Kevin, and on the memories that they shared. Overall in this book, the plot structure was odd. Since it was a reflection told from many points of view, there were many small climaxes, which all came when the people found out about Kevin's death. The rising action was usually the tale of how they were close to Kevin, and described with a significant event that represented their relationship. I personally think that the plot structure was very interesting because there were many different stories all put together to reflect on Kevin's life. This form of plot structure had me very engaged and not wanting to put the book down.
I would definitely recommend this book to any teen that is looking for a fun read. While it is sad because Kevin has died, the stories that people that tell him are very relevant to teenage years. There are parts that deal with him and his friends doing stupid teenage things, girl problems, and other things that teens can relate to easily. The author made it very interesting also., so there are rarely and bland parts throughout the book. I would also recommend this book just to anyone that is looking for a quick eye opening read. The story really shows how badly people are impacted by a death, and how so many memories are laid to rest when someone dies.
This book is about death! LOL yes Ms. obvious!! But there are different levels of death in this book. First and foremost, the POV of the people in the story is about a dead guy named Kevin. He committed suicide and he is just 19 years old. In this book “Kevin” has a lot of different roles. He is a friend, a group leader, a brother, an ex-boyfriend, and just another body in a body bag down in the morgue. Kevin is referred to as someone who is “broken” in the book. In fact all of them are broken too, and that’s why they are friends with Kevin. He has this group of friends called the “Suicide Crew”, they are all considered as broken people, they all have problems with family and they can’t seem to find their place in the world. Some came from divorced families, abused children, emotionally unavailable parents and those who are just lost. They see Kevin as their leader and the strongest among them, so they were all shocked when they found out that Kevin took his own life. I like this book, because it shows the reality of what teenagers are really facing today, it’s really deep and dark at the same time. Like you may know someone but you don’t know what they are really going through. Sometimes the people who look composed and brave all the time are the people who are broken and dead inside.
The plot: Readers quickly learn that Kevin Nichols (19), has died. What transpires in these nine stories in an intertwined narrative exploring Nichols' character and just how his death inadvertently affects friends, family, and even those living thousands of miles away.
The characters: Each author artfully explores noteworthy teen themes such as suicide, pregnancy, and coming of age. Often difficult with short stories, each story exhibits excellent character development of its key protagonist while also providing ever more detail into the troubled life of Kevin. Readers of any age will find at least one character with with to identify.
Overall evaluation: I really loved this. It is a quick read but well crafted and edited to be a cohesive, powerful story. The real highlight is 'Initiation' by Ellen Hopkins. I would recommend this to readers interested in fiction about edgy issues.
This was like one of those campfire stories where someone starts the story off and then the next person continues and on to the next person and the next person and the next until you have a whole story. Nine different authors penned a different short story all somehow connected to one dead boy.
There was no conclusion, and very few details. If you want to know what happened to Kevin Nicholas, you won't find much beyond his cause of death and that kind of bothered me. I was hoping one of the stories was told from his point of view. Instead we're treated to only glimpses of a troubled, charming, dangerous boy through the eyes of the people who loved, idolized and feared him.
Despite the different authors the story did flow together quite seamlessly. There were one or two where I felt the writing was very different from the previous author, but then I would get lost in the story and it didn't matter so much anymore. This was a quick, interesting read. A good experiment.
I am not usually a reader of short stories, so I was concerned when it was on my list of books to ready. I always worry that the stories won’t connect, especially when written by several different authors.
One Death Nine Stories was very surprising – it told not only nine different stories but also one larger one. Even though each character/writer has his/her own voice, the book as a whole never felt disjointed. Each character’s story told us a about them just as much as it told us about Kevin. We watch them as they reflect on the life they are leading and the influence that Kevin had on it.
Through each of their stories, we also learned about Kevin – what kind of person he was and what things were important to him. The most important things we learned about Kevin were the things that weren’t explicitly written about – the loneliness, the loss and the lack of true support.
Very unique approach to telling several stories revolving around one character, a 19 year old boy who has died. Some knew him or were related to him, others are only connected with a tenuous link. Each other person has his/her own issues, and the reader must decide if Kevin Nicholas has impacted those in any way, or in what way.
Aronson notes in the afterword that the group of writers started with the first story, then worked on all of the other ones, evolving each as a result of the others. What an exciting process.
There is much food for thought in this book; some stories are intentionally open-ended and vague as to what the reader should conclude. Others are more precise. I think only thought one of the nine was not as good as the others.
This was a really interesting concept for a book, but I feel like it could have been carried out better. The basic premise is that someone dies, and there are nine points of view on this death, everything from close friends and old lovers, to family, to people the deceased didn't even know. All of the stories were very short, and I felt like could have been longer to provide a better point of view or a more interesting read.
Overall it made its point: the web of connections people make is huge, almost limitless, and something like a death can connect people who might have never been connected before.
I don't think I would read it again, but I definitely don't regret reading it in the first place.
This was on the librarian-recommended shelves at our library. It was written and edited by 11 different authors, and as one of my friends had helped write a book like this, I was intrigued. I really liked the way that the nine stories were interwoven, and the themes and individual growth of the characters involved. Some of the chapters were a little more graphic than I like, and the language was strong. For that reason, I gave the book a 3 star--as I can't recommend it. But it was pretty well done, and I like the format. I've read another book like this, it had a camera on the front cover, but I can't remember what it was called. It was better than this one, I think, as it didn't have the offensive material. Oh, the other book was "Click: One Novel, Ten Authors."
Considering I purchased this book thing it was "Thirteen Reasons Why" and upon receiving it, I realized it was not, it was surprisingly good. At times, it was hard to grasp what was going on and throughout the whole book, there were way too many characters and it got extremely confusing. There were nine short stories within this book, but they all focus on the death of a nineteen-year-old male. Some of the stories were much more enjoyable than others, but they were all semi-enjoyable. This was (obviously) not my most favorite book I have ever read, but if you are looking for a book of decent short (10-20 pages) stories, this is the book for you.
In some ways, this book seems experimental. Take a bunch of writers, give them each a section of story that doesn't have to tie too much to anyone else's and see where it goes. In this case, a young man named Kevin has died and each story is told from the point of view of people who knew him, people who didn't know him, people who were affected or not by his death. There's no beginning, middle or end. There's no real conclusion the reader can come to. It's interesting, but ultimately not very satisfying.
I did not care for this book as much as other YA books I've read. I don't really care for short stories though so that could be why. I did like that even though they are short stories they were connected by one event and it does definitely show how one event can affect so many people. I also liked the story the book ended with. However, I really don't think the true messages will be understood by average teens. I think they will gloss over the true messages, but enjoy the brazen heart and shock value...this does not a good book make. 2 out of 5.
it's odd how little books like this can be so satisfying. It's not dramatic, ready to be made into a blockbuster movie or a soapy teenage drama. It's just a collection of stories, some sad, some funny, some angry. But it paints a picture of a dead boy, while telling the stories of people around him, and while sometimes it seems a little stereotypical, the characters hold everything up. They're all in depth, they all have something to say, they're fully realized. It's a nice collection of stories (the first being my favorite), and it deals with grief and death in a fresh way.
This uniquely styled novel that is a collection of short stories tied together by one central theme is a interesting look at suicide and how it affects those close to the person that took their own life. Like 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, it takes a look at teen suicide and the why. However, this book tells the stories from other character's’ perspective. Kevin was a popular football player with dark secrets. With each short story, a little more was revealed. I recommend it for ages 15 and up. There is foul language a plenty. There is also bullying, initiation, drinking, and self mutilation.
I have a connection with this book, with the series 13 reasons why, because they are "trying to figure out in some sort of way why the main person" died. This book talks about different stories of people that some how had a connection to Kev, the first kid their age to die, they are trying to figure out what I impacts it left on him dying. Even though some of the people/stories are a little confusing and I don't get why if they don't really have a connection for Kev, either than that you can tell how everyone had a effect on the death of Kev.
Unique premise and vivid storytelling. I liked how each of the characters were separate individuals but that the story meshed well together. You'd wouldn't know that several different authors wrote each of the chapters. I also liked that it contains a multi cultural cast of protagonists and I liked that they were all over 18. It's still depressing as hell, but it is what it is. Good work here.
Interesting premise, but I would have preferred more connection between the stories and a bit of an arc. My daughter said she wished there had been a chapter from Kevin's POV. I agree that would have helped tie the stories together more and given the reader some sort of resolution or understanding about who Kevin really was. As it is, I was left somewhat dissatisfied at the end of this book.
On the constant look-out for a slim book for my 13yr "non" reader....the book size and premise seemed intriguing - 19yr old Kevin dies - nine different authors take a different angle and make up an anthology/novel about the ripple effect of one young death - PS - so not appropriate for my 13yr old.
I enjoyed this, which is a feat for me! Anthologies usually bother me because I feel like I can't get connected to the story and then it's over too quickly. But with the formatting of this collection following one central event, it felt more like a novel and I could stay with it more easily. Interesting concept executed well. Would recommend.