So ‘home’ is a fairly broad theme and the range of stories and poems in this anthology is pretty eclectic. Apart from anything else, it was really interesting to see how different people interpret the word. There were some authors here whose work I love and some who I’d never heard of and like any anthology, I liked some stories more than others but I can honestly say that there were none that I didn’t enjoy or that I gave up on.
The stories were very British in feel, which was quite nice. I read a lot of books by American authors, which are great and everything, but it was really good to see homegrown talent being highlighted.
And the thing I liked best? Not all the stories had a happy ending. In fact, some of them were worrying and sad. It served as a reminder that actually Christmas isn’t always a happy time, not for everyone (and just as an aside, I think UKYA authors are best at gritty realism).
So, here are the short stories featured and my (brief) thoughts:
Benjamin Zephaniah – Home and Away. Super thought provoking poem to get things started off
Non Pratt – Ghosts of Christmas Past. This was kind of sad and thoughtful.
Marcus Sedgwick – If Only in my Dreams. Completely creeped me out! In a good way.
Cat Clarke – Family You Choose. Some friends and I used to do this on Boxing Day. We weren’t as colourful as the characters in this story, though!
Kevin Brooks – The Associates. I think I was missing something here - it wasn’t my favourite.
Holly Bourne – The Afterschool Club. Killer ending to a great story.
Juno Dawson – Homo for Christmas. This one had me welling up. Such an adorable love story and a happy ending.
Sita Brahmachari – Amir and George. Relevant and so, so sad.
Tracy Darnton – The Letter. This was brilliant - a well-deserved winner - and such a sad ending.
Tom Becker – Claws. Creepy horror story. Good, but really gave me the shivers.
Katy Cannon – Christmas, Take Two. This was kind of sad and sweet - I was glad of a happy ending after the last three stories ...
Melvin Burgess – When Daddy Comes Home. I love Melvin Burgess and this was a fantastic near-future dystopian.
Julie Mayhew – The Bluebird. Couldn’t quite get to grips with this one, but it was very poetically written.
Lisa Williamson – Routes and Wings. Love Lisa Williamson. I’d seriously read a shopping list written by this author and this was a brilliant story.
To find out more about the awesome work Crisis does, go to www.crisis.org.uk
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Stripes Publishing and Netgalley.