Anna Begins

Anna Begins is a pair of novellas, each about a girl and a boy, both seventeen years old. In the title story, Melissa has an eating disorder, an absent best friend, a disconnected mother, her first kiss, and is writing a story about all of it. The second story, “A Million Miles Up,” is an upside-down accounting of teenage love. Scott and Elly try to navigate their junior year in high school. Scott wants to be famous and takes up celebrity-scale drinking. Elly just wants to be happy, but must deal with a family secret. As both of them fall through the cracks at their school, they approach an ending neither of them can return from. The two stories in this book explore the humor, frustration, and depth of pain that come with the most awkward years of life: the teens. Anna Begins won the 2008 Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction. From the announcement of that award: “The stories in this fine book are concerned, in part, with the affects of a neglectful or abusive parent on her or his child. The teenagers respond in different ways. One assaults her own body; another her father. Yet, despite the self-loathing and rage, they search for the answers to life’s questions in song lyrics, they test the limits of friendship, they are funny and sarcastic, they make each other laugh, and they open a window to the reader’s past, if he is already an adult, or to insight into her own life, if she is still being tossed about by the storms of adolescence.”

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