I honestly don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. The word short is on the cover for everyone to see and yet I find myself expecting these tales to be endless. I guess that says something about Julie Anne Peters and her character writing skills. One has to open oneself to them, but she makes them extremely easy to bond with. You are already way too invested and you have yet to start reading the second sentence. Sigh. Anyway…
I must confess that until I read Boi I thought there was a recurring theme to these stories: hope. The open endings seemed full of possibility for their characters. I found them refreshing. Then I reached Boi and I felt my heart break. All of these stories have their emotional rawness in common, but Boi was… different. The main character seems to give up. It’s understandable once you read it, but still… I was rooting for this character (and I still am).
I think grl2grl is a collection of short stories about young people who are trying to find their place in the world, who are trying to accept said place, even when others don’t make it necessarily easy. That’s also explored in these stories: choice. Even though other people can indeed make your life more complicated, at the end of the day you are the one classifying these moments as positive, negative or indifferent, you are the one giving them meaning. It’s not easy to exercise this power when people’s harsh and mean words seem so loud inside our heads, but we have to believe that we have indeed the power to choose whether to listen to them or not, and whether to give them importance or not.
Someone once said that we should be kind for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle. With grl2grl, Julie Anne Peters opens windows to some of these usually silent battles. I believe these stories are important and should be read, these battles should be recognized and respected. It’s not just a phase, it’s life.