“Losing Camille” by Paul Kilgore (Black Lawrence Press, $16): Short stories are perfect summer reading when you don’t want to commit to a 300-page novel. Too many story collections, though, are filled with grim, pointless tales. Kilgore, who lives in Duluth, doesn’t fall into that category. His 10 stories are gentle slices of young adult life, with several characters in some form of love.
One narrator recalls how his family joined, then left, a religious community in which the leader physically abused children. In the sweet title story, a girl watches her older sister fall in love with, and be rejected by, a popular boy the summer before she leaves for college. A newly married couple attend their senior prom in a story you think is going to end badly but instead offers a note of hope for these young people. And a man suffers through his fiancee’s family’s Christmas celebration in the most touching story.
Kilgore, a graduate of the University of Minnesota law school, has been a Pioneer Press columnist, and his work has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio show.
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