Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson


At Zeppelin Bend, an outdoor education program designed to teach troubled youth the value of hard work, cooperation, and compassion, ten teens are left alone in the wild. The teens are a diverse group who come from all walks of life, and they were all sent to Zeppelin Bend as a last chance to get them to turn their lives around. They’ve just spent nearly two weeks learning to survive in the wilderness, and now their instructors have dropped them off eighteen miles from camp with no food, no water, and only their packs, and they’ll have to struggle to overcome their vast differences if they hope to survive.

Inspired by The Canterbury Tales, Feral Youth features characters, each complex and damaged in their own ways, who are enticed to tell a story (or two) with the promise of a cash prize. The stories range from noir-inspired revenge tales to mythological stories of fierce heroines and angry gods. And while few of the stories are claimed to be based in truth, they ultimately reveal more about the teller than the truth ever could.

This was a really good collection. Shaun David Hutchinson can seriously do no wrong in my opinion, and this was no exception. His narration fit perfectly with the full length stories, and tied everything together. The stories themselves...like always, there were some that I liked more than others. Here is my breakdown:

The Butterfly Effect and The Chaos Effect by Marieke Nijkamp: 4 Stars I liked The Chaos Effect better than The Butterfly Effect, but they were both pretty good. There's something about Nijkamp's writing that I don't love, but I'm not sure what it is--I noticed it when I read This is Where it Ends. But overall, very solid and heart-wrenching.

A Duthless Dame by Tim Floreen: 5 Stars This was one of my favorites! It was funny and amusing and dramatic. It definitely reinforced that I need to read some Tim Floreen.

Look Down by Robin Talley: 4 Stars This was super creepy. There was a great build-up to the end and I was quaking it my boots a little bit. I regretted reading it late at night.

Big Brother, Part 1 & 2 by E.C. Myers: 4 Stars This was a strange one, and I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, but I ended up liking it. It's a little gross, but still interesting? I'm confused about why I like it, but I do.

The Subjunctive by Alaya Dawn Johnson: 2 Stars This was my least favorite story. I was bored and confused, and just wanted it to be over. Maybe I would have liked a longer version of it, but I'm not sure.

A Cautionary Tale by Stephanie Kuehn: 3 1/2 Stars Talk about a surprising tale! I loved most of the story, but the ending shocked me a little too much--I'm not sure if it matched the rest of it. But overall, really enjoyable.

Jackie's Story by Justina Ireland: 2 Stars I was a little bored by this one as well, though it did have some good quotes. I just feel like it was extremely forgettable.

Self-Portrait by Brandy Colbert: 5 Stars This was my other favorite. I would die of happiness if this was a full novel. I just wanted to know these characters more and live their lives. I think Brandy Colbert is a phenomenal writer.

A Violation of Rule 16 by Suzanne Young: 4 Stars A story of female empowerment and equality is always going to be my jam. It was a good story of justice against the ridiculous dress codes many teens have to deal with every day.

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