Bordertown edited by Holly Black

Lynn: The amazing Terri Windling conceived the idea of Bordertown in 1986, invited some amazing writers to contribute stories and together they created a place that took on a life of its own in the imagination of scores of readers.   The 4 anthologies and 3 novels about that world included the work of writers such as Charles De Lint, Emma Bull, Ellen Kushner and Will Shetterly and gave the newborn subgenre, urban fantasy, a mega push.

For the “noobs” out there, Bordertown exists in the Borderlands or the Nevernever – between the Elflands and the World.  Both humans and elves live there and it is the refuge of disenchanted runaways from both worlds.  Make no mistake though, life is tricky there as neither magic nor technology works reliably, the drug trade to both sides is centered there, run by some really nasty folks, and even the river water is addictive.  I read the first book when it came out and I was captivated and adored the stories.  Later I  shared them with a devoted group of teen readers who loved the stories as much as did.  Like so many, I treasured my out-of-print books as the years went by.  So I was totally geeked when I heard about Welcome to Bordertown:  New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands (Random 2011).   Holly Black and Ellen Kushner were bringing out a NEW anthology of stories from my favorite place!  I was a little worried too.  Could it live up to the canon?  Then I was lucky enough to be sent a galley.  I’m reading for Newbery this year so it has been a guilty pleasure but I have doled out the stories to myself, like forbidden slices of fabulous bread on a South Beach diet.  Glorious!  Folks, there isn’t a weak story in the book.  I was back in that amazing world as if I’d never left it.  Many of the original authors are joined by new contributors including Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare and Cory Doctorow.  The stories are all wonderful but Charles De Lint’s A Tangle of Green Men is the perfect finish to a splendid reading experience.  An introductory section “Bordertown Basics” will bring new visitors quickly up to speed.  Thanks to Holly and Ellen, the Way is open again.  Help your fantasy-loving teens to find the road!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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