Today is the final day of the blog tour for A Single Drop of Perfect & other stories by Jessikah Stenson. I’ll be honest that I was a teeny bit worried when Jessikah invited me to take part. I’m a pensioner who rarely reads short stories – and Jessikah is 20, listens to Paramore (gap in my education, I’m afraid…) and enjoys “slam poetry” (er, yes, another gap…). I really did wonder what common ground we could possibly have.
But Jessikah is also a reader and book blogger, writing intelligent and well-rounded reviews on her blog Read By Jess – and I’m filled with real admiration that she has achieved something that I could never have managed to do, by publishing a short story collection which is receiving excellent reviews from a range of readers.
I’ve read the collection – published by Excalibur Press in February 2016, available for kindle (free through Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback from Amazon. It’s a relatively quick read because the stories are quite short, but every one of the five is beautifully constructed and very original, well written and every one with elements of the unexpected.
This is the collection:
A Single Drop Of Perfect
Carla’s on the cusp of adulthood. As her final weeks in the family home draw to a close she struggles to keep a grip on her true self. With her boyfriend hundreds of miles away, Carla battles with loneliness, finding comfort in unexpected places and experiencing moments of perfection that can never be replicated.
What Isla Did
Isla was young, brave and creative. She is remembered as a golden girl and their beloved daughter, but no one can be perfect.
The Lemon And The Lake
June and Max are exploring the gorgeous countryside of Granada. However, where there’s perfection, there’s horror.
Helen’s new husband Steven brings his dog Wilf into the family home. When Helen’s eight year old daughter Maisie finds herself in hospital, suffering from a vicious dog attack, Steven has a lot to answer for. Moral and ethical questions arise when Helen is determined to have Wilf put down in spite of Steven’s desire to keep is beloved pet alive.
The Edge Of A Smile
Walking home at night, university student Heidi is accompanied by a stranger named Bryony. Both of them have secrets which will destroy the other.
My personal favourite was What Isla Did, which deals really well with the way in which people – after death – are sometimes remembered as perfect, whereas the reality can be very different.
The joy of this collection is to see a young writer who has confidence in her writing and is willing to push the boundaries a little in developing and displaying her talent. When she produces a prize winning novel in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be proud to say I was able to play a small part in supporting her work at the very start.
Jessikah is a 20 year old author and journalist. She currently studies English at the University of Exeter where she is also the Assistant Editor of PearShaped Music Magazine and a literature columnist for Razz Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys slam poetry, listening to Paramore and curling up with a good book.
Follow Jessikah on Twitter and Facebook, and via her blog Read By Jess.