‘If you were born in the 1980s and want to reminisce about “growing up”, are twentysomething and want to show your feelings instead of telling them, or not twentysomething and just want to learn something about the “next wave”, this is the book for you. It definitely captures the spirit of a generation up and coming.‘ – The Bloomsbury Review

‘As someone born in Orwell’s year of ’84, I’ve always been a bit uneasy about being part of ‘a generation’. Growing up in the nineties and noughties, that whole notion of identity is so much more slippery now compared to those halcyon / bad-hair days of the 60s, 70s and 80s. And whereas that generation produced some of the most enduring popular icons ever, my generation is best represented by those novelty T-shirts with the Thundercats or the Transformers on the front… My Generation? They had The Who, and we got Limp Bizkit; say no more.

It’s this same paradoxical feeling of detachment in a never-better-connected world that cuts through Route’s latest short-story collection. These are tales of the re- and de-location that so often follows hitting your twenties, in an age where everything is derivative, and it’s harder and harder to carve out a place in the world.

Many of the stories deal with relationships in their many forms: with love/hate, with car-crash romances and family break-ups, with the helpless, sometimes hopeless cycles of the dating game. We see the full gamut of emotions from that hinterland between child- and adulthood: from the rose-tinted nostalgia for a simpler life left behind, to the spectre of mortality that haunts even so young an age. Most rewardingly, though, there are plenty of flashes of the self-deprecating, ironic humour that a generation weaned on the Spice Girls and social networking does so well.

Of the 10 stories, my personal favourites would be Sally Jenkinson’s ‘Brown Rice’ – a jaunty yet melancholic Polaroid of single, too-much-too-young parenthood – and Sam Duda’s ‘The Things I Learned About Leah Today’, a diary on office flirtation that slowly, almost imperceptibly skews into something far less sweet and innocent.

A provocative, comforting, challenging anthology.’

James Hogg