I received this book for free from Stripes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Title: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Author: Tom Becker, Julie Mayhew, Benjamin Zephaniah, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon, Cat Clarke, Tracy Darnton, Juno Dawson, Lisa Williamson, James Dawson, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
The UK's top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home. Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah. GBP1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk
Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a UKYA Christmas anthology by Stripes (Little Tiger) around the theme of home. £1 from each book sale is also donated to Crisis, the charity for homelessness. Notable UKYA writers such as Juno Dawson, Lisa Williamson, Benjamin Zephaniah and Marcus Sedgewick all contributed stories and a competition was held for an unpublished UKYA voice. Tracey Danton won this with her poignant short story, The Letter.
I was very keen to read this anthology due to the themes and the fact that there aren’t many UK based YA anthologies and this is something I’d like to see more of as the community has some fantastic authors, many of whom don’t get the acclaim they may warrant. Short stories are also a fantastic way to sample an author and see if their style works for you. There are fourteen stories in the anthology and they cover a range of themes and genres from contemporary to horror with a Christmas and home twist, including a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah to open with.
A few particularly memorable stories for me personally were Non Pratt’s ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’, Tracey Darnton’s ‘The Letter’ and Holly Bourne’s ‘The Afterschool Club’ -especially that ending! I am a big YA contemporary fan and they all had a slightly (at least) bittersweet edge to them. However all of the stories stand on their own and offer insight into the many things ‘home’ can mean.
The anthology also explores the idea of home for refugees in ‘Amir and George’ by Sita Brahmachari and in recent days it feels, more than ever, timely and important that we tell and support these stories.
Overall, I’ll Be Home for Christmas offers something for every YA reader, a perfect Christmas smorgasbord. It represents just some of what makes YA such a great community and the talent writing today. I definitely recommend it not just as a Christmas read but as a book to read anyway as there are beautifully written stories that are thought provoking, moving, festive and examine what home exactly is and can be, for better or worse.
I hope Stripes publish more of these anthologies. They have just announced a similar BAME anthology for 2017 I will most definitely be checking out.