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Nine of the contributors to this story collection are women (Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine, Sue Limb and Jacqueline Wilson among them) with Melvin Burgess making up the numbers. The blurb on the back declares that the stories explore ‘the highs and lows of being a teenager’. Mostly the lows, for we are in Serious Angst country. Boys are often part of the problem, of course, but the plots also concern the difficulty of coming out to your parents, blindness, disfigurement after a bomb explosion, coping with mum having an affair and dealing with the memory of a sanctified deceased sister. Responses to these matters – the ‘highs’, if you like – demand courage, determination and reaching new perspectives. Curiously, given the distinctive styles of these writers as novelists, the narrative voices here seem to blur (eight stories are told in the first person, and seven of these are female). It is as though there were an agreed teenage idiom and attitude; witty, agile, self-aware and street-wise – or at least avenue-wise, for these stories are pretty much confined to the suburbs. Despite this common voice, the writers avoid easy or sentimental endings; and parents and grandparents in these stories turn out to be changing, vulnerable human beings with their own problems too. The authors of these very readable stories have donated their work to support Teenage Cancer Trust, and the publishers have also made over their royalties to the charity. GF