I was in such a perfect mood for a book like this, but it just didn’t deliver. I didn’t even bother to try to guess which couple is which on the cover. A good thing about it I guess is that this collection of short stories has a very diverse set of characters (LGBT friendly), which I obviously am all for. The only problem for me is that to really enjoy a love story, I have to connect or identify myself with one of the character, and I can’t do that if it’s a boy/boy or girl/girl relationship, but it’s a minor issue. As a warning, this review isn’t very positive. I’ll tell you right now, the only stories I liked were the last 2.
Like I did with My True Love Gave to Me (click the title to see the review) I’ll mini-review each of the short stories and the images you see below are the ones that appear at the beginning of each stories and give you the name of the author.
1. 29 pages // What kind of title is that, you say? It does mean something within the story but what I didn’t really get was that each of these words were headlines/subtitles for a part of the story, but they didn’t really relate to their parts, if that make sense. Also, this is either magical realism or something I’m not sure how to describe, because it sure wasn’t contemporary. I didn’t expect that and was left a bit confused by the end.
2. 27 pages // Not memorable. This story is packed with overused tropes. Dysfunctional family/unhappy teenager, having a crush on someone for YEARS but not saying anything, then realizing that person have had a crush on you that whole time.. I read it 3 days ago and barely remember anything about it.
3. 37 pages // Ooookay.. Zombies? I really somehow got the impression that I was getting a collection of comtemporary summery short stories. This if a sort of horror weirdfest. Also, it’s already hard to buy that a love story can happen in 30 pages, and it’s not going to be more believable because you just mention that the feelings have been there for a while. That’s lazy writing imo.
4. 17 pages // Weeeell. Not getting any better. Naming your characters letters of alphabet, is that supposed to be cool? Does this appeal to teenagers? I find it distracting and annoying. A, L, S, M, new guy called D.. I completely forgot about them already. I don’t understand why the author made that choice, as it really didn’t add anything to the story or made sense, in retrospect. I guess she was trying to make her story unique . Needless to say, I’m not very impressed. Another weird thing is this story was really depressing. A girl has a crush, the guy leaves, she decides to lose her virginity to some random dude at a party, she doesn’t enjoy it, she narrates the story from 10 years in the future and ends the story by telling us how all her friends got a good life but not her. Okay? The point was?
5. 35 pages // In the first line, you learn that the character’s name is Marigold. Right away it sounded familiar so I paused there and grabbed my copy of My True Love Gave to Me, and sure enough, she used the same characters as she had in her previous short story (that I loved) so I had a bit of hope. Right away you learn that they broke up. Damn, another depressing story. I guess it was better than the previous 4 in this book but still not nearly as good as I wanted it to be. Pretty uninspired and predictable actually.
6. 25 pages // Wow, talk about a lame protagonist. Sometimes I think that authors decide to give their characters all the flaws (over sensitive to anything, allergies, pale complexion, acne, no coordination, no strengths at anything, introverted…….) to make them more relatable to readers, but too much is like not enough. I don’t relate to this guy and I don’t enjoy him mentionning a problem or a weakness every paragraph. Also, enough with the ”extraverted and popular funny guy that everybody loves who somehow is in love with the introverted and awkward protagonist. I’m bored with this unrealistic trope.
7. 31 pages // Most of these stories start off with depressed characters. I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING A HAPPY BOOK!! I don’t like nor relate to self harm especially if its not delved into properly, and I don’t think it’s a good think to mention in a short story because you don’t know enough about anything to put it in context. There was an interesting element with the Last Visitation technology, but I wish it was more uplifting.
8. 41 pages // Hmm. People who spend the summer on a resort. I never quite understood the logistics of that. Stories where teenagers go at the ”summer house” with their parents for 2-3 months, do you know a lot of people who can just walk out of work for that long, or afford it? Anyway, in this case we’re talking about the interactions between the rich people that spends the summer and the teenage staff. It was an awfully convenient story and seemed very unlikely. Also, a pet peeve of mine is when the narrator speaks to the reader every so often, and completly gets you out of the story. At first I thought it was the author but at the end you learn it was one of the character.
9. 31 pages // Another MEH story. Obviously at this point I don’t think the book is the problem, I think I might just not be part of the target audience. It almost feels silly now to do this review if I don’t have anything nice to say but we got this far… but honestly I really don’t have any comments about this story. It featured yet another depressed teenager who had a nice ending. No surprises.
10. 29 pages // I usually love what CC writes but I was like okay this book is already doomed to me and I’m going to hate this as well. WELL WHADAYA KNOW I didn’t hate it, but it was seriously weird. It involved a “Dark Carnival” setting run on demon energy (sounds familiar? lol). What threw me off was that at first I thought it was just a regular circus type carnival but at some point you kind of get confused by some stuff until you realize ohh ok the demon is an actual demon? oooooh this is not contemporary either. Also the “love” is ridiculous. The boy ends up telling the girl he think he’s falling in love with her after what, 5 days? -____-
11. 33 pages // OMG OMG OMG, a GOOD STORY! This is everything I want in a short summery love story. Thank you Jennifer E. Smith for delivering as usual (I liked all the books I read from her). This has a very interesting twist that I’ve never read any story use before. The pacing was good, the ending didn’t include a love declaration… I don’t want to say the main reason I loved it not to spoil it but I really loved it.
12. 38 pages // Another good one! I wonder if they purposefully kept the best ones for the end or if it’s just my opinion. This is again a non traditional story, with a day that keeps repeating itself and our 2 protagonists the only one who are aware of it. We get to know why at the end and I thought it was really well done.
Last thoughts : I decided to return the book this morning. 28 $ for 2 good stories out of 12 just isn’t acceptable. I do hope that you’ll love it more than I did!