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  • Little, Brown Young Readers US

Pity Party

Kathleen Lane

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General fiction (Children's / Teenage)

For any kid who has ever felt worried, woeful, or weird, a collection of joyfully tragic stories that ultimately offers a life-affirming reminder of just how much misery loves company.

Dear weird toes, crooked nose, stressed out, left out, freaked out

Dear missing parts, broken hearts, picked-on, passed up, misunderstood, sitting alone

Dear everyone, you are cordially invited. This party is for you.

Welcome to Pity Party, an uproarious grab bag of short fiction. Like Black Mirror for middle graders, it mines and exaggerates the social anxieties that plague us all and twists them into funny, deeply resonant, and ultimately reassuring psychological thrills.

There's a story about a mood ring that tells the absolute truth. One about social media followers who literally follow you around. And one about a kid whose wish for a new, improved self is answered when a mysterious box arrives in the mail. There's also a sprinkling of micro-fiction: a personality test (to find out if you have a personality), a fortune teller (that 100% accurately predicts the future), a letter from the Department of Insecurity, and an interactive Choose Your Own Catastrophe.

Here is a modern-day middle-grade Twilight Zone targeted squarely at middle schoolers who delight in disdaining their own seemingly miserable lives.

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