Love is Hell
November 25, 2008
I'm going to try to break this up by each of the five stories in the anthology, but I'm not going to provide much of a summary of each because with 20 page stories there's not much you can say and not say it all.
Laurie Faria Stolarz: "Sleeping with the Spirit"
After moving to a new house, in a new town and starting a new high school, Brenda begins waking up in the morning with unexplained bruises on her arms. Her family attributes her stress to the usual feelings of being the 'new girl' but her friends Raina and Craig have another theory. One that involves the supernatural.
As with Deadly Little Secret, I really enjoyed Laurie Faria Stolarz's writing in this story but there wasn't anything amazing about this story. It was still written, had a definite beginning, middle, and end/resolution but it just sort of...was. It was good and I liked it (and remember it) but if I had to recommend short stories, it wouldn't be on the list.
Scott Westerfeld: "Stupid Perfect World"
Scott Westerfeld sticks with the Uglies type future/alternate universe where everything has been perfected and/or run by machines (It's not the Uglies universe, just similar in that regard). In this world there is Scarcity class where students learn about all the horrible, dreadful things we experienced in the past (hint: not all of them were so dreadful, some were just annoying) and for a project they have to pick one and live with it for two weeks...even if it interferes with their teleporting to Antarctica for class.
This was written really well and ready quickly and easily and I would gladly read more about the characters or the 'world' and Scarcity class as it was a really intriguing concept. This might have been my favorite story in the book (it's a close call with one other).
Justine Larbalestier: "Thinner Than Water"
"Thinner Than Water" is the tale of Jean and her villages practice of handfasting. A sort of 'practice' marriage, it is a girl's only real chance to get away from their parents and the life they've lived their whole lives up until that point.
Set in what I felt was sort of an indiscriminate time period, it seems to want to focus on Jean's need for independence but the writing didn't really jive for me. Or something. This story was enjoyable but I just didn't love it-and I'm not sure if that's because of the weird time setting (an Amazon review calls the time 'primitive' but there were cars...) or what but it was just that little bit off....
Gabrielle Zevin's "Fan Fictions"
Takes the nobody-can-see-me girl who hides out in the library and has her read The Immortals, a book given to her by the sexy, young librarian. It's a story that pokes fun at all the cliches of both YA fantasies & romances and fan fiction as well. The book brings Paige a hot guy all too ready to talk to her about it, Aaron, but is he all he appears to be?
This story was alright, nothing particularly amazing and honestly, it's the one I have the hardest time remembering-but I think that's because I wasn't terribly satisfied with the ending. It was slightly predictable but I still really liked it as an idea for a story and the characters and I liked it enough to wish it was done better, that says something. I will say that it was the other story that really stuck with the 'Love is Hell' theme most, though.
Melissa Marr: "Love Struck"
Melissa Marr's tale is one featuring selkies which should almost earn it some points right there...only it doesn't need to because it's really, really enjoyable so it doesn't need extra points. Alaina is at a beach bonfire when a mysterious male with kelp colored hair offers her his jacket. She refuses and feels unsettled enough to leave the gathering, but it's during her walk along the beach when things really get started.
After reading this story people should really have no doubt over Melissa Marr's great writing and storytelling and know it's not just limited to the Wicked Lovely series. This was the one that Perfect World was tied with for my favorite.
I believe that all adds up to 8/10 and that's a fair rating for the book, so for the collection as a whole: