A novella is a strange animal. Neither short enough to be called a short story, nor long enough to attain novel status, the novella falls into a gray zone between the two. This often leads some readers to discount the value of these tales, but those readers are missing out. Unlike short stories, novellas are long enough for readers to get immersed in a world. On the other hand, they are also short enough that the story does not require the commitment of an epic series like Lord of the Rings.
Many well-known authors have written novellas, which can give readers a chance to experience an author's style of writing and decide whether it is worth picking up their more lengthy works. For example, Stephen King recently published a novella set in a Maine town that he often returns to in his other works. If you want to give Stephen King a try, but are afraid to tackle his lengthier tomes, such as It or The Stand, then you should pick up Gwendy's Button Box, which King co-wrote with Richard Chizmar.
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told...until now. Twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson takes the stairs up the cliffside overlooking Castle Rock every day one summer after being bullied for her weight. Eventually she encounters a mysterious stranger, who calls out to her wanting to talk. What happens next is a chilling new novella that explores how one girl grapples with growing up while also possessing the key to seemingly unlimited power.
Short and sweet, Gwendy's Button Box quickly pulls you into the seemingly normal town of Castle Rock in the 1970s. This novella shows off King's skill at integrating creepiness into the edges of an otherwise ordinary tale, leaving the reader unsettled without displaying gory details common to the horror genre.
And for those readers who are already fans of King, you will appreciate the ties to his Dark Tower series, including a certain infamous character known to some as The Man in Black. But knowledge of King's previous works is not necessary to enjoy this coming-of-age tale with a creepy twist.