(Taken from Introduction by Donald R. Gallo)
"I invited several well-known authors to write stories with teenagers as the main characters. Each writer got to chose his or her phobia. The results were surprising as well as satisfying. While a few authors looked inside themselves at their own fears, others looked outside for situations that would result in an interesting story. They looked at how fear affects their teenage characters, what may have caused that fear, how the characters try to deal with their fear, and in some cases, how that fear is eventually overcome.
I was surprised to see that no one in these stories is terrified of spiders (arachnophobia) or snakes and other reptiles (herpetophobia). And no one has some of the other common fears: fear of strangers (xenophobia), fear of thunder (ceraunophobia), or fear of flying (aviophobia). But as you will soon see, in addition to Alex Flinn’s tense story about a boy with agoraphobia, there are stories about nine other phobias: Joan Bauer tells us about a young woman’s’ fear of gaining weight. Kelly Easton’s character is claustrophobic. Gail Gils takes a humorous approach to a teen’s lifetime fear of clowns. Angela Johnson looks at the experiences of a boy who is afraid of string. Ron Koertge’s character is not just afraid to cross the street; he is unable to even put one foot off the curb. David Lubar takes a humorous look at a boy’s fear of cats, but his character isn’t laughing. Nancy Springer’s character has an aversion to sharp knives. Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, explore a high-school student’s fear of speaking in public. And Neal Shusterman’s story includes a variety of phobias suffered by students in a special school until one unique student comes along.
What makes these teenage characters so afraid, and how do they deal with their fears? You’ll have to read to find out."
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Ed. by Donald R. Gallo. Copyright © 2006 by Donald R. Gallo. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
From the Trade Paperback edition.