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A Review: 'One Teen Story'

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Often in our English classes we hear about literary magazines, but have you actually read any? Well, if you haven't, you're in luck! Now more than ever, there are literary magazines geared towards the young adult genre. (Insert happy dance.) One Teen Story has featured various authors, including ones that have been critically acclaimed, as well as teenagers. Here are a couple of my favorite stories produced by this literary magazine:

Soundproof Your Life by Tara Alterbrando (Roomies, What Happens Here, Dreamland Social Club): After I finished reading this twenty-five page story, I wanted more. It's about a senior named Charlie, who has a wicked case on insomnia. How does he develop it? From his neighbors. They are an elderly couple who stay up well past midnight. Charlie overhears almost everything they say and do. I have to admire someone who can use symbolism in under 30 pages. That was one of the reasons I loved this story. The other is because Charlie's voice is an honest and reliable one.

Passing Each Other in Halls by Matt de la Pena (The Living, I Will Save You, We Were Here): What attracted me to this story was the style of writing. It was unlike many books and short stories I have previously read. The story takes place over a single night, with the past scattered in. Shy and PJ kick off the story by horsing around, and PJ accidentally hitting Shy in the face. To make up for his mistake, PJ takes Shy to a bar. There, they meet Holly, and then their night suddenly amplifies. I enjoyed this story because it felt so genuine and real. The author brought up an intriguing idea about passing each other in halls in one's life, which I had never really thought about before.

Purgatory by Alexandra Salerno (Her fiction has been published in Harpur Palate, The Gettysburg Review, Narrative and many other places.) The story takes place in the summer of 1989. Being a total '80s fan, I loved that this was the setting. Right off the bat, we're exposed to Brian, the main character. One night, as he is working at the bowling alley, he comes across Jack. The 29-page story follows their journey over the span of less than 48 hours. Salerno really hits the reader emotionally. There were times when I cried, times when I laughed and times when I smiled. Despite the page length, I'll hold this story close to my heart.

Learn more about One Teen Story here.