10 Must Read YA Short Stories

10 Must Read YA Short Stories

Why is it so hard to find YA Fantasy Short Stories?

So I’m taking a class in Fiction Fundamentals this term as part of my course plan to get my Master’s in Creative Writing and one of the final projects is to submit a short story between 1500 and 2500 words.

At first glance of the assignment, I thought to myself something far too arrogant and cocky to ever reproduce in print form. Suffice to say, though, that I thought I’d have no problem churning out a story so short. I mean, what is 1500 to 2500 words compared to a 100,000-word manuscript that I’ve scraped at least four times? (Cue the nervous laughter.)

However, as I got to thinking, I realized that the last time I wrote short fiction was back during undergrad at USC. Suddenly, my current class was presenting an even bigger challenge to me than I had anticipated.

Usually, I have an abundance of story ideas. But those ideas are always meant for longer fiction. Moreover, those ideas are always meant to fall into the science fiction and fantasy genres. Meanwhile, any ideas I have for shorter fiction are always more Contemporary YA, which is weird to me, but also kind of not really considering that while going to school at USC the only fiction I ever submitted was contemporary fiction.

With all of that said, I decided that it would be a challenge worth pursuing if I branched out by writing a YA Fantasy short.

However I had one problem because I am so used to reading fantasy novels and not fantasy short stories, I didn’t know really how to begin a short story anymore.

My solution was to look for YA Fantasy short story collections and I just want to know why finding short YA Fantasy is so hard? I’ll admit that I didn’t scour the internet, but there weren’t too many resources out there with the answer to my particular query.

Branching Out of the Comfort Zone

So, in the hopes that this is useful to someone else also looking to write short-form YA Fantasy or Contemporary, or someone who just wants to branch out from their usual reading schedule, below are the collections I found so far. I’m currently working through both My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins and Pretty Monsters by the amazing Kelly Link (who also authors a story in My True Love Gave to Me and it’s by far my favorite story so far).

YA Fantasy and Contemporary Short Stories

1. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

2. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu

3. Under My Hat edited by Diana Peterfreund

4. The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Breena Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton

5. Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

6. Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

7. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

8. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

9. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

10. Sixteen edited by Sarah Dessen

Let’s Chat

Have you read any great short stories lately? What about short stories do you like or not like? Are there any short stories that you’ve loved that I just have to read? Please share in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “10 Must Read YA Short Stories

  1. I have to admit that I am not too much of a fan of short stories or companion novellas either while we are at it. I think it has a lot to do with me also loving TV shows over movies. There is something inherently greedy in my consumption of fiction, I just always want more. As much as I loved Kindred Spirits for example, I couldn’t help but remark that it would also be a great start to a book or that there is so much more that could be told.

    1. I totally understand where you’re coming from! I also thought that by the end of Kindred Spirits there could be a whole novel to follow. There are some stories out there that I think only need to take up the span of the pages they consume. Not all, there are definitely some short stories I can’t help but feel like are incomplete. The entire collection by Kelly Link though is one of those that does short stories right. They’re not all that short and they are pretty epic in scope. The one I’m reading right now, The Paper Menagerie, is ridiculously good too. Some of Ken Lui’s stories are super short but those too feel like they end right where they should. I highly reccommend Link’s or Lui’s collections.

      1. Those authors are definitely noted. I am not against all things short. The fairy tale anthology (Language of Thorns) by Leigh Bardugo was fantastic for example, but it really depends on the story, I suppose.

      2. I totally got Language of Thorns for Christmas this year!! I’ve been trying to work through the books I already checked out of the library so I can get to it!

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