Every time I picked this book up, that song from Grease started playing in my head. You know what I mean, right?
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo: ★★★★☆
I loved Shadow and Bone and was one of the approximately twelve people in the world who didn’t love Six of Crows, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her short story in this book. Turns out it was pretty good! I was waiting for that extra something I’ve come to expect from her, and it showed up in the last two pages or so. The story was good — it perfectly captured that feeling of a new crush and I loved the atmosphere. I feel like some of the middle could’ve probably been cut out for it to flow better, but still, I really enjoyed it.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour: ★★★★☆
I’ve got a lot of Nina LaCour on my TBR, but at the time I read this book, the only thing of hers I’d ever read was her collaboration with David Levithan in You Know Me Well. Let me tell you, this short story was so sweet. The background of the story isn’t — Flora’s parents are divorcing and she enrolls herself in summer school as an excuse to stay out of the house. When Flora finds that the first girl she ever had a crush on is in her summer math class, cuteness ensues.
Last Stand At the Cinegore by Libba Bray: ★★★★☆
I’ve read nearly everything that Libba Bray has ever written. She was one of my favorite authors when I was in high school and I’ve really enjoyed reading her Diviners series as an adult (even though Before the Devil Breaks You is still sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read). I wasn’t sure that I would really enjoy this short story about a cursed horror film because that’s not really my thing, but of course I did. I love Bray’s writing style. She has some great lines and, as usual, the atmosphere was so spooky and perfect.
“Aw, you pussied out, didn’t you?”
“‘Pussied out’ is sexist. I prefer ‘made a strong choice for cowardice.'”
Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block: ★★☆☆☆
I’d actually never heard of Francesca Lia Block (or any of her books) before starting this short story, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. It’s well-written and I loved that it takes place in the 80s at punk shows, but I’m not sure what it’s doing in a romance anthology! It was so sad and just… disheartening.
In Ninety Minutes Turn North by Stephanie Perkins: ★★★☆☆
After reading about Anna, Lola, and Isla, I’ve come to expect really cute love stories from Stephanie Perkins. And this was a really cute second-chance romance. I just kind of felt like I was missing something, which makes sense, since apparently this is a continuation of her short story from My True Love Gave to Me, which I haven’t yet read.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle: ★★★☆☆
I’ve never read any of Tim Federle’s full-length novels, but I did read his short story Secret Samantha in the Flying Lessons anthology and I thought it was really cute! Souvenirs is less cute, featuring a couple, Matty and Kieth, on their pre-determined break-up day. In a way, I suppose I’m happy that Matty and Kieth are breaking up, because I didn’t really like Kieth. Still, I don’t know what’s going on with this book and all of the unhappy endings.
Inertia by Veronica Roth: ★★★☆☆
Fun fact: I haven’t picked up a single book by Veronica Roth since 2014 when I threw Allegiant across the room in a fit of rage. This was a surprisingly nice story about friends who’ve grown apart. The sci-fi twist on it all was a nice touch and very… Veronica Roth. I’m rating this one three stars because, while it was certainly cute, it was also super predictable.
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron: ★★★☆☆
Jon Skovron is the second author in this anthology that I’d never heard of before. Even looking through his books on Goodreads didn’t do me any good! I went into this one with absolutely zero expectations. It’s a cute matchmaking story that takes place at a fancy resort. The writing style reminded me of someone but I can’t for the life of me figure out who. I liked the diversity but that wow factor was missing, so I’m stuck at three stars.
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert: ★★★☆☆
Someday I’ll find the motivation to read Little & Lion, but it hasn’t happened yet. This short story was my first experience with Brandy Colbert, and it was… fine? I love that Rashida wants to major in linguistics! It’s a super fun program but, honestly, I’m not sure if I’d recommend it as an actual major because what do you even do with it? I work in a doctor’s office. But anyway, the romance is okay but it moves really quickly. There’s one point where Rashida says, “when we finally kissed” and I was just sitting there like… you’ve known each other for like two hours.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare: ★☆☆☆☆
I have such a complicated relationship with Cassandra Clare and I would honestly prefer not to read anything else of hers, but here’s this story and I have this thing about DNFing, so I read it. I just felt like it was… not good.
If I have one major pet peeve when I’m reading, it’s medical stuff being wrong. There’s this one part where she says, “Etta had alopecia which was making her hair fall out” and I just can’t. Alopecia is, quite literally, a medical condition in which your hair falls out. That is the actual definition of the condition. This is like saying, “She had a cough which made her cough,” and then I just couldn’t take the rest of the story seriously. Yes, I am petty.
I’m also not sure what it is with Cassandra Clare and fake incest? First it was the whole Clary and Jace possibly being related thing in TMI and now it’s this girl falling for her stepcousin and trying too hard to justify it. The only thing I liked was the creepy carnival setting.
A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith: ★★★★★
I’ve read one book by Jennifer E. Smith — The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight — and it was so long ago that I don’t really remember anything about it. But this story was so cute! I loved it! The romance, for once in this whole anthology, didn’t feel rushed. I think I’ll have to give this author another try.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman: ★★☆☆☆
I’ve never read The Magicians, nor have I ever really had the desire to, so I went into this story kind of blind. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style (I still didn’t end up a huge fan of that aspect of the story) and I’ve definitely seen this topic done to death before, but it was okay. Not great, just okay.
Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: the colors of summer
Have you read this anthology? Who’s your favorite of the authors?
Let’s talk in the comments!