That stubborn seed of hope by Brian Falkner

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University of Queensland Press, 2017. ISBN 9780702259289
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. Short stories. This is a fabulous collection of stories that will appeal to a wide range of people. Falkner's tales will scare the readers, make them think, feel good and wonder what is going to happen next.
The first in the collection is 'I am s seventeen' and is very frightening to ponder. Falkner has captured the horror of old age as a seventeen year old boy wakes up to find himself in the body of a very old man. He demands paper and pen and writes down his thoughts. Falkner keeps up the suspense until the twist in the conclusion.
Another that really gripped me was 'Lockdown', where a school bully is convinced that another student is coming for him in revenge for his cruelty. This is a very tense portrayal of what it would be like to hide during a school siege.
'Smile' was heart wrenching as a young medical student tries to find a way to communicate with his brother who is in a vegetative state in hospital. In 'The kiss' a teen discovers that her boyfriend may have a life-threatening virus just after she has kissed him, something that is forbidden in her society because of the fear of contagion. The other stories are all equally as powerful and memorable.
In his introduction Falkner talks about how he was going to write about fear, but that the theme of hope emerged strongly in the stories. Other themes include belonging, resilience, perseverance and acceptance. At the back of the book he has given author's notes about each of the stories that would be a boon for teachers if they were using this in the classroom and are an interesting adjunct for the ordinary reader. Excellent teacher's notes are also available.
This would be an ideal collection for a class set or literature circle text.
Pat Pledger