Places I Never Meant To Be : Original Stories by Censored Writers (Edited by Judy Blume)

Paul Zindel's short story is: "Love and Centipedes"

In this provocative collection, Judy Blume, the censors' favorite target, assembles an all-star cast of young adult writers who have themselves felt the pain of censorship. Each contributes an original short story and some highly quotable observations on their own experiences and feelings when under attack. "Where once I went to my writing without a backward glance," writes Norma Fox Mazer, "now I sometimes have to consciously clear my mind of those shadowy censorious presences." The entries range from Jacqueline Woodson's ironic story of a neighborhood's casual acceptance of arson, to Harry Mazer's touching tale of a tough kid redeemed by a little boy's adoration. Two stories are especially intriguing to connoisseurs of teen fiction: Chris Lynch's "Lie, No Lie"--a selection that appears not to have made the cut for his novel Whitechurch--in which Pauly sets his friend up for embarrassment in a gay bath house; and the late Norma Klein's "Something Which Is Non-Existent," a previously unpublished story written in 1959 when this much-censored author was in college. Other stories by Katherine Paterson, Rachel Vail, Julius Lester, Walter Dean Myers, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Paul Zindel, Norma Fox Mazer, and David Klass contribute to this showcase of stellar talent. (Ages 11 to 16)

I loved these short stories. In some of them, I had difficulty understanding why they would be censored. So, okay, my favorite, Paul Zindel's "Love and Centipedes," is a little insane. It was also utterly perverse and simultaneously sickening and hilarious. This one is a real treat and focuses on one girl's infatuation with a popular high school jock with a cheerleader girlfriend. I also enjoyed Walter Dean Myer's "The Beast is in the Labyrinth," a look at the damaging effects of drug abuse (why would anyone have a problem with this story??) Other goodies include Julian Lester's "Spear" and another story called "Ashes," but just about every single one of these stories has something to offer. This book doesn't insult the reader's intelligence by hiding away subjects that it deems you are too immature to handle that exist out there in the world. I highly recommend it.