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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
Young People of the Pandemic: An Anthology of Stories, Anecdotes, and Poems by 10- to 21-year-old Americans, edited by Nancy S. Nelson, is a fascinating collection of tales and poetry from tweens, teenagers, and young adults from across the United States. Here they share their experiences, losses, and gains of 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. How they endured the stringent and socially isolating conditions of a government-imposed lockdown reads as engrossingly as does Anne Frank’s diary, written when she and her family were sheltering in a Dutch attic from the depredations of the Nazi regime of the last century.
With the compilers for the anthology being themselves contributors to the work, along with their friends, the approach is fresh and lively. Each contributor was specifically tasked by Nancy Nelson with writing two pieces within the space of three months. In order to retain the authenticity of the individual contributions, minimal editing was done, and the result is both intriguing and, at times, heart-wrenching. In addition to the submissions themselves, a short profile is given of each writer, which enables the reader to gain an idea of the social setting and context in each case. The few photos given of each contributor interacting with the environment around them enable us to gain insight into the lifestyles of the youngsters involved, broadening the target market to a worldwide audience. With some tales resembling the contents of a Stephen King novel and others being emotionally moving and poignant, a vast range of sentiments is covered in Young People of the Pandemic, which should have you riveted to the edge of your seat―I was!