8 of 8
Palo Alto: Stories
228 pages; Scribner
This edgy collection of stories by James Franco makes you glad you've outgrown all that teenage angst and all the confusion and loss that goes with it. We're partial to "Lockheed," where everything about summer seems about as dull as the protagonist's internship, until violence erupts. In the movie version, director Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford and niece of Sofia, has handpicked the most provocative tales and stitched them into a longer narrative that makes for a compelling film. But reading the stories—and the jarring cuts between various characters' acts of debauchery—gives you the truly unsettling feeling of youthful despair and a glimpse of adulthood that isn't all it's cracked up to be.
— Jordan Foster