Review: Begin Again: An Anthology

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☆☆➹⁀☆4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

 

What it’s about:

There are times when the Earth stops moving and the weight of its gravity pulls you down, deeper than you ever thought possible. You tumble farther than you ever imagined falling…
And when the sun goes black and your heart feels empty, starting over seems like an impossible feat…

You’re not alone.

Twenty-Two Authors have joined together in this collection of short stories about fresh starts and second chances to help illustrate that even when life takes away everything, and when hope is a horizon you think you’ll never catch, it is possible to Begin Again.

*All Proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and NAMI*

Goodreads

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Featuring short stories by:  A.M. Johnson, Stephanie Rose, J.A. DeRouen, Ginger Scott, Anne Jolin, Ariadne Wayne, Emery Jacobs, M. Andrews, K.P. Haigh, Kay Renee, Maria MacDonald, Faith Andrews, K.K. Allen, Mara White, Autumn Grey
Josephine Brierley, Amanda Richardson, Stephie Walls, Jaci Wheeler, Stephanie Alba, L.A. Taylor, Foreword by Rebecca Yarros

Lisha and Jules’ Thoughts:

The start of a new year is the perfect time to release an anthology about starting over.  Begin Again is an anthology of short stories from a fabulous group of YA authors. Each story is very different, but each features a character who is experiencing difficulties. You might not think some of the difficulties are a big deal, but the point is that whatever they’re dealing with, it is a big deal to the main characters.

Each story feels raw and honest. Whether the character is a teen dealing with the divorce of her parents, a friend’s crippling accident, or a cop’s survival of a terrorist attack, I empathized with the characters.

The stories are about beginnings and second chances, and I loved that the characters’ tales weren’t neatly wrapped up at the end of the short story. They did, however, see a new beginning for the continuation of their life’s story.

 

Lisha’s Thoughts on Meet Virginia by Jaci Wheeler

Rating: 5 Stars

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can pick yourself up and begin again. Meet Virginia is a short story about fresh starts. Virginia has spent her whole young life feeling invisible and unnoticed. Malachi has been angry and getting into trouble. He felt like he had no purpose in life but that all changes when he’s working at his father’s parish doing community service when he notices Virginia sitting in her car. She was searching for a sign that she mattered and Malachi was searching for purpose. By being together they were able to form a friendship that looked beyond their problems and gave them both the fresh start they needed.

Meet Virginia is told in an alternating first person point of view. It allowed the reader to get into both of their heads. It was a sweet story that was dealt with a subject matter that could be disturbing to some readers. The author acknowledged the difficult subject matter by giving a warning in the beginning that the story dealt with suicide and could be a trigger for some readers but also assured that there was a happy ending.

 

Jules’ Thoughts on It Started With Summer by Ginger Scott

Rating: 5 Stars

 Megan can’t find anything good in her life right now. Her parents are divorced. Her mom has a new boyfriend. Even worse, her mom expects her and her younger brother to vacation with her at the boyfriend’s cabin. While this problem might not seem monumental to an adult, teenaged Megan views it as an insurmountable life event. Devastation turns to delight when a young local shows some interest in her and gives her a reason to not only like this “family vacation” but to also find a reason to be happy again.

Author Ginger Scott deftly portrays teenage emotional peaks and valleys. With great kindness, she shows how a divorce can topple a teenager’s world. Ms. Scott gives her younger reasons a reason to look for hope and lightness even in the bleakest of situations.

 

Jules’ Thoughts on Waiting For Autumn by J.A. DeRouen

Rating: 4 Stars

Sebastian, Autumn and Brady are an inseparable package until tragedy strikes. In the most unforgiving (and improbable) way, Sebastian loses everything—family, friends, home. His acceptance of blame for something he did not cause impacts his entire life. Although he lives his life with a heavy heart, he finds a modicum of success and happiness.

Author J.A. DeRouen’s story is covered in a layer of sadness that reflects her characters’ deep emotions. The artistic drama mirrors the angst and drama that is heightened by teenage hormones and inexperience. Ms. DeRouen shows her young readers that they can begin again—sometimes on their own—even when the tragedy rocks the structure of their world.

 

Lisha’s Thoughts on Eden’s Goodbye by Faith Andrews

Rating: 4 Stars

Eden is moving to New York and a new beginning but it’s not the beginning that she had planned. Instead of a new life with her long-time boyfriend, Lennox, and her little sister, Violet, Eden is starting a new life without them. She is having a hard time managing the grief of the end of her relationship with Lennox after he cheated on her with her sister. Eden is drowning in her grief and it’s only through her new found friendships with her co-workers that she manages to begin to rebuild her life again. I did want her to focus some of that emotion back to the guilty parties though. I felt she needed to talk with Lennox and her sister and tell them how their behavior had hurt her before she could really move on so that is why I gave the story 4 stars.

 

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