Vodnik by Chelsea Bolan
I loved this story. It was recently published in The Kenyon Review, which is awesome, and I'd never read anything by this author prior to reading this. The story has a fairy tale or fable feel to it as it tells of a boy who drowned under mysterious circumstances. The town is sad about it because the boy was a musical genius who would play for the townsfolk and help alleviate their pain. (They live horribly difficult lives so they have pain.) Then you throw in the Vodnik who is a water creature with the body of a human but with gills and a penchant for tobacco, and you have a pretty captivating tale. I don't want to give too much away because there are some twists and surprises.
Story: 9 of 10
I have to admit that this isn't my favorite genre, but Bolan pulls it off quite well. The story has a Secret of Roan Inish feel to it, which I loved. There is magic in this world Bolan creates, as well as magic in Bolan's writing. I want to read more of her work.
Teachability: 10 of 10
Good fables, fairy tales, and magical realism stories have always difficult for me to find so this story is a blessing. There is a ton of literary devices you could teach with this story. When I teach this story, I will spend a lot of time on the gypsies. Bravo!