Sunday, March 19, 2006

Review: Odds are Good by Bruce Coville

Odds are Good by Bruce Coville. Harcourt/Magic Carpet, 2006
(0-150-205716-1) $6.95 pb

Previously published as the two books Oddly Enough and Odder than Ever, this collections gathers together some of Coville's most thoughtful and resonant fantasy stories, in which humans can become mythical beings, and mythical beings can be strangely human. Themes of duty and responsibility, bereavement and compassion abound, as Coville strips away the border between fantasy and reality to express troubled yet generally hopeful perceptions of the world. Underlying almost all of the stories is the theme of becoming one's true self, whatever form it may take and whatever the price may be, whether in a humorous form as in "Am I Blue?," in which a confused boy gets a highly satisfying revenge on a world of homophobes, or a heartrending one like "The Japanese Mirror," in which a young man must learn to accept and conquer the ugliest part of himself. (13 & up)