Congeniality reigns among action figures (i.e., Star Wars, Micronauts, Shogun Warriors) within William’s fictional and solitary realm in “The Great and Powerful, Brave Raideen.” Through an imaginary conversation with William, Brave Raideen—a Shogun Warrior action figure—comes up with a solution to scare Randy, the bully at William’s school, “real good.” What follows is entirely unexpected.
During the summer of 1986 in “Good Night, Jerk Face,” Sam wants a 1980 Mazda RX7 for his 16th birthday, even though he has no cash and doesn’t know how to drive. Taking a job working at a Greek restaurant appears to be a good thing until his boss asks him to make deliveries.
In “The Discarded Feast,” Seff and his friend Alfonso make piddly as restaurant servers. Barely making ends meet, the two friends have no idea how they’ll be able to bring in enough money to pay the monthly rent. When the restaurant’s corporate headquarters introduce some changes, Seff and Alfonso end up making their own decisions, which eventually lead them onto different paths.
Semegran adds verisimilitude to his latest collection of stories by employing very relatable human-interest scenarios. In “The Great and Powerful, Brave Raideen,” both William and Randy seek love, acceptance, and friendship amid undesirable circumstances. Sam represents the stereotypical teen in “Good Night, Jerk Face” who is aching to spread his wings a bit. The longest story—a novella—will most likely speak the loudest to those readers who have struggled with higher education, student loans, and finding a decent-paying job.
Uniting and enriching Semegran’s human-interest stories is his writing style. Semegran weaves in familiar and even expected dialogue scenes while carefully crafting unexpected nuances to his plots. He also has an ability to draw his readers right into the heart of his well-developed underdog characters and their emotional well being. Amid subtle and not so subtle twists and turns, Semegran leaves his audiences ruminating on his surprising story closures.
With nary a dull moment, Scott Semegran’s BOYS features short stories filled with unexpected nuances which draw readers right into the heart of his well-developed characters.
~Anita Lock for IndieReader