It seems strange that Brian Falkner, award winning, bestselling author of seventeen books for young adults, should write a collection for teenagers about fear. Young adult literature is so often about overcoming adversity, making it through the other side of the battle – but That Stubborn Seed of Hope does something very different.
They don’t always make it out the other side.
In this collection, Falkner weaves tales about fear, death, and loneliness, over ten brilliantly crafted short stories. Each has a different character, with a different world, and different fears. There’s a boy who wakes up in the body of an eighty eight year old; a kid in rural NSW who is forever changed by something that his gang sees; a girl who lives in a world where an epidemic virus has changed how human contact works.
The stories are harrowing and sad, but wonderfully crafted and engaging. Even in moments where you’ll feel like your heart is being ripped out, you can’t seem to stop turning the pages. And that’s because it’s not just about fear, about death, about loneliness. It is, as the title suggests, about that stubborn seed of hope that lives inside all of us.
In the introduction, Falkner poignantly says, “These are stories of fear, heartbreak, and tragedy, but they are also stories of endurance, of coping, and overcoming.” While they are undoubtedly quite sad, Falkner deftly handles such complex topics in a language accessible and relatable to young adults.
Falkner writes in ‘Santa’s Little Helper’, one of the stories, “I get worried about the world and then I get you on the line. And now I’m not worried so much.” While about hope and fear and the complex relationship between the two, That Stubborn Seed of Hope is ultimately about connection.
Whether it’s allowing yourself an illegal kiss, painting a strawberry on your sister’s face, or talking to a little girl who just wants a brother for Christmas, That Stubborn Seed of Hope will leave you sad, scared, but ultimately hopeful – for the world around us and those in it.
We recommend That Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner for ages 15+.