This volume is comprised of the ten short stories judged best from “hundreds of entries” submitted by high school students at the Global Indian International School in Singapore.
The tales differ significantly, with subject matter ranging from the ethics of war to childhood cancer to technological science fiction to ecological disaster. A common theme is how the young protagonists react to loss in their lives and the effects their decisions have on themselves and the world around them.
Highlights of the collection are Asha Shinde’s “The Storm,” in which a family faces a cyclical loss because of an ancestor’s curse, and the title tale by Shreya Sharma, in which a budding artist finds more than one way to express herself.
The young authors show command of language, attention to detail, evolved imagination and awareness of the human condition. Equally impressive is the layout of the book with unattributed artwork accompanying each story.
The problems are what one might expect from the earliest attempts by young authors. Motivations of the protagonists are overly idealistic. For example, a young soldier bent on vengeance sacrifices herself at the last moment; twin sisters are willing to give up everything for a fish; a boy faces amputation without a negative thought. Most of the stories (averaging about 1,500 words) are too short, merely setting up the situations without enough character background to spark reader empathy.
Young authors tend to overuse adjectives and adverbs, and these writers are no exception. In one story, readers will find the words “ostentatious,” “flamboyant” and “scintillating” in one sentence, along with other more common modifiers. In another story, a single sentence contains “humid,” “dewy” and “sloshing,” as well as “wet mud”—more information than readers need.
All the stories show promise, as these young adults clearly know how to write. With more practice and editing, they are bound to show great progress in future collections.
Also available as an ebook.