First-Year Orientation

First-Year Orientation cover
First-Year Orientation edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith

Edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith
Candlewick Press, 2023
319 pages

Age 14 and older

A well-rounded anthology of loosely connected short stories explores the excitement, trepidation, and (sometimes literal) magic of first-year orientation at fictional Rolland College. Some protagonists, who are diverse in race and sexual orientation, partake in the scheduled fun—games, live concert, scavenger hunt, student org fair—while others find adventure at parties, off campus, or in the dorms. They say goodbye to overbearing but beloved parents, greet new roommates, join clubs, and form friendships (or more). They bring with them a range of experiences and interests: There are former child actors hoping to reinvent themselves, athletes and marching band members, student workers and those on financial aid, an international student, a “townie” who opts out of college, a queer girl who looks forward to being in community for the first time. While most of the stories are realistic, a few take surprising turns into paranormal fantasy or science fiction, ensuring something for everyone in a collection that captures the chaos and sense of possibility that come with starting college. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center