Orion, £5.99

'Thicker Than Water' is a collection of short stories contributed by several of today's top Irish and Irish-American writers on the theme of growing up. The collection, commissioned by author Gordon Snell, is inspired by the fact that Ireland is a young country with around half its population under the age of 25. Each of the 12 stories deals with a coming of age, involving emotions such as love, desire, self-loathing, and despair and touching on topics like sex, death, racism, eating disorders and cancer.

Although the stories all explore a central theme, they differ in style and approach. While some of the contributions are humorous and uplifting, others are reflective and tragic but every single one will strike a chord with the reader as we have all been faced with the same problems, the same questions and the same opportunities as the young protagonists of these stories.

With the likes of Maeve Binchy, Vincent Banville, Marita Conlon-McKenna and Ita Daly all contributing to this collection, 'Thicker Than Water' is a book worth checking out, even if you are not usually a short story reader. Although one or two of the stories are somewhat less enjoyable than the others, on the whole, it makes for interesting reading. Look out for 'When Grania Grows Up', 'One Day When We Were Young' and the title story 'Thicker Than Water', as these are the pick of the bunch.

Amanda Fennelly