A multiple author short story collection.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebooks
Publisher: WMG Publishing
Page count: 273 (at GoodReads)

All of the main characters in this collection are young, high school age or younger. They all feel like they’re the underdog: powerless in their lives and often also unattractive. Almost all of the stories are written from first person POV.

“Villainous Aspirations” by Stefon Mears is a story about young man who is waiting to get his superpowers. You see, he’s the son of two famous superheroes. He’s writing essays at school so this is all in first person. However, he thinks that his parents are stupid for helping other people for free, so he’s going to use his powers for personal gains.

“A Kiss Too Sweet” by Eric Kent Edstrom: Monica is a high school girl who finds out that she has diabetes. Soon after, when she kisses a girl she doesn’t like on the cheek she finds out that she also has a superpower: anyone she kisses becomes devoted to her. However, that’s not just a good thing.

“The Clunkety” by Brenda Carre: Gretti’s mother was a great hedge-witch so it was not surprise that Gretti is a witch, too. After a hard childhood, Gretti gets together with the young man she loves and even his kin grudgingly accepts her. But then her past comes back to haunt them both.

“Power Trip” by Lee Allred: in this world, enough people get superpowers in high school that there are whole training programs for superpowered people. Sammy is a nerd but gets powers so powerful that he can’t show them, so he’s still bullied. The POV character is envious but still hopeful that he’ll get powers, too. However, he doesn’t want to use them for good, or evil for that matter. He would just want to continue with his life rather than going to the Supers Training Program and serving the government the rest of his life.

“Pocket Full of Ashes” by Anthea Sharp: Kit is one of Victorian London’s street urchins. She steals for Old Nellie who keeps everyone in a tight leash. Kit was sick for three days but is now pickpocketing again. Only now, she finds out to her amazement that she can shoot fire from her fingertips. However, Kit is growing up and Old Nellie has noticed it – and Kit is in danger of become a scarlet woman of the streets. Kit must get away and her new power could help her.

“The Ordinary” by Valerie Brook: The black monk has kidnapped boys from nearby villages. He forces them to learn how to manifest their inner spiritman and telekinetic powers. Tomas is the only one who can’t do that. If he can’t do it tomorrow, the monk will kill him and his parents.

“Dawn” by Jody Lynn Nye & Rebecca Moesta: Aurora, the young goddess of dawn, is late to her duties for the fifth morning in row. That’s because she loves to stay up late to listen to the poets which is far more exciting than her dull duties. But inspiration is the arena of her friends, the muses, and her siblings Apollo and Artemis expect Aurora to do her job well.

“Fatty Boombalatty” by Kerrie L. Hughes: Matilda Bloom is at a summer camp and it’s awful. Her former best friend Kiley has abandoned her for two rich, mean girls and even started the horrible nickname, Fatty Boombalatty. She doesn’t have any friends and must see the camp counselor. But then the counselor gives her a friendship bracelet and tells her that with it she can hear other people’s thoughts.

“Passion for the Game” by Brigid Collins: Jimmy has superpowers and he’s using them to play baseball. However, he’s starting to think that he should be helping people instead of just playing a game. But for his older brother Jimmy’s games are a path to freedom for both of them, and their mother who’s in rehab. Then Jimmy’s powers disappear.

“Just Stop It!” by David H. Hendrickson: Amy’s parents are arguing again. She tries to ignore it but finally they say so hurtful things that she yells at them to stop it. Incredibly, they do that. In fact, they’re quite civil after that. Amy decides to try this new power at her school.

“Normal Boy” by Rebecca M. Senese: Ellis and Miguel are the only two normal people in Super High where everyone else has powers. But some of the most powerful supers are bullying them. So, Ellis decides to do something about it.

“Sophie Rosenblatt, Hero At Large” by Annie Reed: Sophie in an unassuming, normal girl in a world were solar radiation has given some kids powers. For a while, Sophie was sure that her beautiful best friend would get powers but she didn’t. However, when Sophie has been home sick for three days, something unexpected happens.

“Flowers in Winter” by Kelly Washington: In this world, everyone has powers, usually inherited from their parents. Mattie is a systemizer; she can organize small things very quickly. However, her mother and sister can control water. Her sister, Justine, has started to tease Mattie mercilessly about her lack of impressive powers and also about Mattie’s bum leg.

“Hidden Talents” by Dayle A. Dermatis: Tilly has enough magical talents to be accepted to Miss Rosina Wakenshaw’s School for Talented Girls. Unfortunately, her own particular talent hasn’t surfaced and in two days time, the whole class will be represented to Queen Mary so that their magical talents can be put to proper use. Tilly is seriously considering leaving behind, especially because she’s become so clumsy lately. But her best friend Gwendolyn won’t let her.
I’d love to read more of Tilly and Gwen’s adventures!

“The Ballad of Osmosis McGuire” by Travis Heerman: Oswin McGuire is terribly bullied at school by the stars of the wrestling team so he can’t do anything about it. But one day, he feels an electric snap go through him and everything changes.

These are all uplifting stories about teens overcoming bullies, their own low self-esteem or finding their inborn talents. None of the powers are overwhelming; they all are limited or have down sides.

However, they also highlight the bad sides of Western school system, namely that it seems that people don’t want to put an end to bullying.

It’s more YA focused than I expected. Otherwise this is a fine collection with superpowers and some magic thrown in, as well.

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