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I Belong


Review: Grim Anthology

grimamTitle: Grim

Editor: Christine Johnson

Author: Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Kimberly DertingMyra McEntireMalinda Lo, Sarah Rees BrennanJackson PearceChristine JohnsonJeri Smith-ReadyShaun David HutchinsonSaundra Mitchell, Sonia GenslerTessa Gratton, Jon Skovron

Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 476 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373211082 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373211081 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

Step into a world of dark and twisted fairytales, with stories by Julie Kagawa, Amanda Hocking and more…

In the days when fairytales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairytales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.

Grim features some of today’s best young adult authors, sharing their own, unique retellings of classic fairytales from around the world. These talented writers, many of them New York Times bestsellers or award-winners, have put their own spin on these magical worlds…

Prepare to open a treasure box of the unusual and the macabre.

Quick & Dirty: Overall, I am not a huge fan of anthologies, but this contained so many memorable short stories it would take too long to write a review for every one. I was very impressed and definitely enjoyed myself reading it!

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The Key by Rachel Hawkins 5 Stars

Lana has powers like her mother, powers to look inside a person’s mind. It comes in handy when her mom needs to evaluate what a customer came for, in their little fortune-telling truck. But when Lana has to look inside Skye, the boy she has been secretly dating, she’ll discover something that will change everything.

This story was really short. To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge fan of anthologies, because this shortness usually limits you getting to know the character and understanding them, etc., plus everything goes really fast. But in The Key, I really felt like I was in the story with Lana. Everything was described clearly and at a pace that was easy to follow. I was impressed by the characterization of Skye especially, and I picture him as a brooding, mysterious, sly boy. Altogether, this is probably my favorite YA short story of the book, because of its execution.

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready 4 Stars

Yet another story I was impressed by! Eli is a musician born from a father who never cared, one that had one huge hit, then unexpectedly his career crashed. When dear old papa passes away, Eli is left with nothing from his will . . . except a stuffed cat. But this cat has powers of persuasion and luck, and will be a vital tool in Eli’s life.

Fig was an interesting character. He sees the way it is and he tells it. It’s a blunt way of thinking but one I enjoyed, and a bit of fun humor is added with Fig’s love of boots. That was the only part of the story that clued me in to the origins of the fairy tale it’s based on, Puss in Boots, to tell the truth. And Figment was well-written! I understood everything perfectly and loved the flow of the sentences. Definitely read this one if you pick up Grim.

The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo – 3 Stars

This story was enjoyable with a major plot twist at the end. To be honest, it wasn’t one of my favorites, but I did like reading it. Liv is trying to get into Harley’s group of twelve. These girls flout the rules, sneak out nightly, and never, ever, get caught. But these powers come at a cost, and Liv is the only one strong enough to still break the curse. I could tell within the first pages it was a remake of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it didn’t stray far from the original.

Liv is a well-done character. She has the elements of a solid point of view: inquisitive, clear, and strong imagery as we read.  The one thing I did not feel so strongly about was how she broke the “curse”. It took probably five pages and she figured out the riddle within seconds, taking the point away from it being a riddle in the first place. Also, the pacing of defeating the curse went faster than the rest of the story. Altogether, though, this was a memorable book because of the surprise twist on the last page.

The Brothers Pigget by Julie Kagawa – 5 Stars

Percival Pigget is fat. Not slightly overweight, but fat, with layers of chins. He lives in a bakery with his two very protective brothers, and one day he meets a girl he falls in love with. And unlike others, she is friendly, looks past his appearances . . . might even be falling for Percival. But when he sees Maya and another boy kissing, everything changes.

Even from the title, it’s clear this is a retelling of the Three Little Pigs. All the brothers have names that start with P. They are all fat, with different houses, and at one point are plagued by a monster whose origins are revealed at the end. This story stuck out to me out of all of them because it was well-written and had a shroud of mystery and foreboding I enjoyed.

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson – 5 Stars

Pip isn’t real, she’s been told a hundred times before. Flesh created in a lab, not human, not capable of love, not capable of pain. But Pip falling for Levi seems real. It feels real. And as long as Pip remains a lab mouse and Levi is struck by a stifling, fatal disease, they will never be together. In Better, Levi and Pip fight to defeat that which forces them apart.

This story has everything. It is well-written, has amazing characters, a cute romance, a time limit, a stereotypical community, and a dystopian world built in outer space. From the start, you’re lured into the horrible world Pip lives in. In one line I felt so hopeless for the character, my chest seized up: “You are not real. You can’t hate me, because you can’t feel hate. You won’t ever fall in love because you’ll never know what real love feels like.” I wish the author could elaborate this story into a full, 400 page book, because I would read it. In the short time you know the characters, you feel for them. I highly recommend getting Grim if only to read this (although I loved almost every single one!)

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire – 1 Star

I can’t provide a synopsis for this story, because I didn’t understand it in the slightest. I’m sorry, but I read it twice and still not understanding. Are the antagonists eating their victims? Drinking their blood? Selling their skins? So much happened at once, not a second of clarity was provided. And the romance, the romance made me snort. It happened so quickly, and I didn’t understand either of the character’s personalities. This was probably one of the most gory and confusing stories I’ve read in my life, and trust me, I’ve read a lot.

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Grim. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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