Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
Late Lights - Kara Weiss This slim volume of five interconnected vignettes offers a portrait of Boston teens that is heartbreaking, disturbing, and impossible to ignore.Weiss' stories follow three friends -- Monty, who opens the volume with his stay at a juvenile detention center; followed by B.J., a young woman struggling with her body's change and the implications of it; and Erin, who escaped to boarding school but yearns for the easy friendship she used to have with Monty and B.J.As I started, I was apprehensive these stories would be horrible for horror's sake; that Weiss would pull out every stereotype to offer shorthand to mood. Instead, I found her characters to be real, complicated teenagers, who stumble and trip over their emotions, their relationships. My heart broke over and over again as Monty, B.J., and Erin collided, moved by their past friendship but unsure now that adolescence and adult experiences push them past childhood, each nursing real hurts and injuries, physical and emotional. While there's an urban feel to the stories, they aren't particularly 'Boston' in feel, which is fine. Place in this case isn't what shapes these teenagers and their lives. It's the adult who've failed them, the hard lessons learned against their will, the mistakes they keep making. Weiss' writing style is brisk but evocative; her description of life in a juvenile detention center made my skin crawl and my stomach heave. Without spelling things out, she evokes the tension and drama of teenage desire and fear as well as the heavy weight of what is unsaid. There's only 120 pages or so to this book but the stories have heft and weight.I was reminded a bit of Skins, the British show about teenagers -- both make me so uncomfortable having to acknowledge the realities so many teens face! Those who enjoy stories about young adults that aren't all insta-love and dystopias will enjoy this volume.