Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Young Adult (YA) Anthology Recommendations

Anthologies are great. They're an easy way to discover new authors while reading about fascinating worlds and fun characters. The nature of the short story means that everything has to be compact; every scene must work on multiple levels. I've enjoyed every anthology that I've read, if not every story within them, and I'm glad for these YA anthologies, especially because they helped me discover some of my favorite authors.

** Shards and Ashes edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong & Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

Shards and Ashes features stories by Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Veronica Roth, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder, Beth Revis, and Carrie Ryan. So, from my notes back in the day: You don’t need to have read any of the author’s previous works to understand the stories in this anthology. There was diversity in the stories and their worlds, plus some in the characters. The degree to which the worlds for each of these stories was dystopian and “broken” varied a lot, which gave the anthology an extra edge and challenged the notion I’d had of YA dystopic worlds (i.e. in a novel, it’s often about a society/corporation that needs to be overthrown, but since that’s really hard to pull off in a short story, the authors had to get inventive). And the variety in the plots – the focus on world, characters, plot/romance— was also refreshing. Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for some dystopian shorts!

Enthralled features stories by Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Vincent, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jeri Smith-Ready, Mary E. Pearson, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jessica Verday, Claudia Gray, Jackson Pearce, Carrie Ryan, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Kimberly Derting, and Ally Condie. If you find yourself looking for paranormal romance stories, look no further. There’s a nice variety of the creatures and powers mentioned in the novel, and the writing styles and tones taken are also varying enough that you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll like – whether or not that’s the more humorous story Sarah Rees Brennan wrote or the story with alternating perspectives from Melissa Marr.

I must admit that my memories of Enthralled will always be skewed positively. Enthralled was among the first ARCs I’d ever received. Before I started blogging, I’d been an avid follower of various author blogs, one of which was Ally Condie’s. I’d won a “Breathless Reads” poster back in 2011 from Penguin (the tour name they’d done for Ally Condie, Beth Revis, Kirsten Miller, Brenna Yovanoff, and Andrea Cremer), but it never arrived. I’d asked Ally Condie if she’d heard anything about the poster, and she suggested that I email Penguin, but nothing happened after I did. Fast forward a couple of months, I’m still following Ally Condie’s blog and I enter her giveaway, and I don’t win, but she emails me because she recognizes my name among the other entries. She offers to send me an ARC of Enthralled to make up for the lack of a poster. And you know what, I’m never going to forget that kindness. It wasn’t her fault that I never received that poster, but she took the time to follow up anyway.

** My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories featured stories by Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Kelly Link, Matt de la Peña, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Holly Black, Gayle Forman, Myra McEntire, Kiersten White, Ally Carter, and Laini Taylor. This anthology came on the heels of the call for more diverse books, and I think that showed in part. What I didn’t expect was how the authors would apply the holiday theme – some involved fantastical, almost magical realism elements, Laini Taylor’s was a fantasy story (Jenny Han’s, too, except inventing a new side to Santa Claus & the North Pole, instead of a high fantasy world), and the rest had contemporary romance elements. But all were fantastic at getting at the sort of togetherness that the holidays tend to inspire (at least for me!). I loved this one and the stories inside so much that Stephanie Perkins’s other anthology (Summer Days and Summer Nights) is on my 2016 YA Books on My TBR List.

Now here comes the set of anthologies I don’t remember as well. These I read before I started blogging, so that’s over five years ago. Reading these anthologies was essentially my beginning foray into young adult.

** Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances edited by Trisha Telep & Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love edited by Trisha Telep & The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire edited by Trisha Telep.

Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances features stories by Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, Kiersten White, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Ann Aguirre, and Allan Frewin Jones. Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love features stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Vincent, Karen Mahoney, Diana Peterfreund, Daniel Waters, Carrie Ryan, Justine Musk, Daniel Marks, Sarah Rees Brennan, Michelle Rowen, Michelle Zink, and Caitlin Kittredge. The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire features stories by Rachel Caine, Cecil Castellucci, Cassandra Clare, Melissa de la Cruz, Karen Mahoney, Maria Snyder, Holly Black, Kelley Armstrong, Libba Bray, Sarah Rees Brennan, Nancy Holder, Debbie Viguié, Lilith Saintcrow, and Dina James.

Can I tell you much about these anthologies? Not really—I read them too long ago to remember, but as I said about anthologies in general, I really like them because even if you don’t like ALL of the stories, you’re bound to like some (If you don’t like a single story in an anthology, I might raise my eyebrows at you a little). And I’d recommend those books for people looking for vampire, paranormal, and steampunk tales. I remember really wishing Kiersten White would write more about her heroine in Corsets & Clockwork. I remember discovering A LOT of authors from the Kiss Me Deadly anthology, which I think was the first anthology I’d read. Since I didn’t know where to start in the YA section, I looked at the author bios and marked the books of the authors whose stories I’d enjoyed the most. When I look at this author list, I think that there were only two or three authors here whose books I didn’t buy because of that anthology. And the Eternal Kiss anthology I’d bought, I think, because I’d liked both the steampunk stories and Kiss Me Deadly? Maybe? Vampires, I think, I’ll always be willing to read about.

** Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke features stories by April Genevieve Tucholke, Stefan Bachmann, Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, A.G. Howard, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Danielle Paige, Carrie Ryan, Megan Shepherd, Nova Ren Suma, McCormick Templeman, and Cat Winters. I’ve actually only read the very first story, which is by Nova Ren Suma, and it was deliciously atmospheric and creepy, and I can’t wait to get back into the anthology.

And!!! Of course, here’s an anthology you should get excited about: BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME (goodreads), which is a YA villain-themed anthology, where booktubers write prompts that authors then use as inspiration for the stories they write. It features:
Those are all the anthologies I’ve read and absolutely loved, and would recommend to you all! Have you read any of these? Which stories did you like/dislike? Do you have other anthologies to recommend?

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