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White Time

by Margo Lanagan

Published by HarperCollins, 2006
216 pages
ISBN: 006074393X

Age 14 and older

As in her award-winning short story Black Juice (HarperCollins, 2005), Lanagan takes advantage of the short story format, its limited and controlled space, to explore different realities, times, places, and existences. Her stories are strange enough to keep readers alert, but move so swiftly from atmosphere to plot that the mysteries are not inscrutable for long. In “The Boy Who Didn’t Yearn,” a teenage psychic meets her dream boyfriend only to learn that his existence is entirely a projection of her own yearnings. In “White Time,” the main character appears to be visiting an industrial site as a part of a career search, but it’s a place where time, space, and life are all relative and all in constant flux. It is as strange to her as it is to the reader, and yet Lanagan provides a logical bridge (in the form of a questionnaire the young woman must fill out, ostensibly for her guidance counselor) from the familiar to places that seem impossible to imagine. These stories are not easy, either individually or as a collection, but will be a delight for the adventurous and open-minded reader.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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