The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, Volume 5, Sean and Corie Weaver, Editors – Book Review

Hello Humans! Today I am reviewing another collection of short stories, I think the last time I did this was with How to Fracture a Fairytale so it was fun to get back into a shorter medium. I haven’t actually read any of the other Young Explorer’s Adventure Guides before, so I can’t speak to how this book compares, but I do have some thoughts on the book in isolation.

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NetGalley Summary:

Join us for the fifth year of the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthology.

“This anthology offers new, vividly futuristic adventures featuring diverse characters, including humans from all over Earth as well as ET kids from other planets. One of the qualities that makes this yearly anthology such a treat to read is the wide range of futuristic possibilities that planet Earth and its occupants may encounter, realities that will keep readers wondering long after the book is closed. A few stories present poignant discourse about Earth’s sustainability, mixing neatly with adventures that give kids agency to navigate and ponder their own realities in different worlds.

“This stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds.”  Kirkus Review of Books, for the 2018 Young Explorer’s Explorer’s Guide

Last year’s collection gathered rave reviews. Come along for the adventure with this all new collection of twenty-four amazing science fiction stories for middle grade readers!

Short stories are often a bit hit or miss, at least that is what I’ve found, and I felt that this did reflect that. Some of the stories were great, and all of them were at least interesting in concept. I loved that there were inclusions of children with a variety of disabilities –  more than just the usual prosthetic limb that features quite often in middle-grade fiction. Obviously, I can’t speak to how well those representations were handled, but I thought that it was good that they were there.

My problem was that a number of these read less like stories and more like the opening chapters to a longer book. In some ways, I can see that as a benefit, I like to be left wanting to read more, but in a collection of short stories like this, I would prefer them to feel a bit more finished than some of them did. There were some stories that had the right balance between leaving the ending open and not finishing.

There is a good balance between the kind of short story that is also a moral lesson and stories that felt like an adventure for adventure’s sake. I don’t favour one kind of story over another, but I did appreciate the mixture.

I particularly enjoyed one story that features a girl who is having to pilot her spacecraft home in order to get medical assistance for her sister who is in stasis to prevent her from dying. That was perhaps the upper end of the age range I might expect to read this.

I don’t think that a young me would necessarily pick up this book, I was far too focused on a)fantasy and b)reading full books. But for a child who might want to explore different types of stories to find what they like I think this would be really great. I personally didn’t love every story but I think there is something in there to cater to a variety of different readers.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? What kind of short story do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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