How do you even start reviewing a collection of short stories? Story by story? As a whole? Both? We’re just going to give it a go in The Boring Index!
Who wrote these? The stories in this book were picked by Malorie Blackman, author of the Noughts & Crosses series and many many other YA novels. She gathered stories by the most famous YA authors of today, the likes of Maureen Johnson, Marcus Zusak and E. Lockhart.
How many stories do I need to read? 24. This collection is kind of a biggie. Blackman set out to combine the best stories about love, ranging from the exciting first start to the horrible end. Most of the stories are excerpts from novels, so if you’ve read those you can skip some. There are also 7 original stories that are definitely worth your time. The stories range from 5 to 30 pages.
What was the least boring story? Gentlewoman by Laura Dockrill was definitely my favorite. It’s about a boy who wants to become a girl with the help of modern medicine. His parents are having trouble accepting the change and all the while he is also in love with a girl. Being a transgender lesbian is not an easy thing to admit. Dockrill writes such a powerful story, that it made me want to cry in public. Another good one is David Levithan’s Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat about the denouncement of relationships and monogamy. Kind of interesting to see 16-year olds decide that they don’t need relationships to have love.
What was the most boring story? I was not a fan of The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Johnson. It’s written in a strange narrative and tells the story of a girl and a boy, but mostly their families. The boy’s father went to the West Indies and met the girl’s family and did not so nice things to them. As revenge the mother took her daughter back to London to take revenge on the father with the help of the girl. It lacked feeling and in such a large collection it just couldn’t stand out.
Short Story Boring Index: Personally, I find the collection a bit too long so I would say it scores around medium on the Boring Index. I understand that Blackman wanted to showcase her favorite writers and pieces, but there are just too many for this to be a tight collection. Another problem with the excerpts is that you are thrown into the middle of a book and it really takes a while to find solid ground and get into it. But often the stories will be over by then, so you don’t really feel the feelings Blackman wants you to feel. That’s why the original stories were my favorites, written as self-containing emotional bombs. After a while I did get a bit sick of the whole devotion to romantic love, but I think that as a teenager I would have been swooning all over the place. With this collection Malorie Blackman set out to excite her readers to look up the authors and books and read them. I do think she did a great job at that as my TBR pile expanded quite a bit!
We received an ARC from the publisher Corgi Childrens through Netgalley. Love Hurts will be published on the 29th of January 2015.