Sunday 8 March 2015

The Zone by Morag Macrae

Published by Completely Novel, February 2015
100 pages in proof copy
Cover art by Karen Ronan
Teenage Drama, Teenage Lives
Zac runs away from home to his escape his mother’s abusive partner, Lucas is challenged to jump off a cliff, and Josh learns his girlfriend is seriously ill.
Reviewed by K. M .Lockwood
This collection of nine short stories is linked by characters who each belong to The Zone, a youth drama group. The author’s experience in similar settings comes through: these stories are full of the reality of many teenagers’ lives. That doesn’t mean they are either preachy or unremittingly bleak – there is warmth, humour and enough deliberate ambiguity to let readers make their own minds up.
The cover refers to the first story – and leaves it to the viewer to decide who is in the picture. This makes it plain that the stories invite a range of readers – not just the Hollywood-perfect.
Although difficult issues with complex choices are at the core of the stories, the writing style is simple and easy-to-read. The drama is often driven by dialogue and would make ideal source material for creating play-scripts or improvisation. 
I would recommend this collection for groups working with young people, including as a classroom resource. It would also suit those wanting a quick read with plenty of naturalistic drama and topics well worth discussing.

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