There are a few emerald gems in this collection (sorry, but diamonds = meh), but there are also some major bombs that are barely readable. Overall, that makes this collection disappointing. If you want YA short Stories, grab Let it Snow, My True Love Gave to Me, or Geektastic, which are all superior to this collection.
There are a few stories that I really love in here, but the fact that some of the stories are written in 2nd, not because they need to be but for the whole gimmick effect, is infuriating. The stories in 2nd are all pretty poorly written, and it’s very jolting and disruptive to the reader. It’s hard to pull off 2nd in the first place, so when someone writes in 2nd for the purpose of variety or a gimmick, instead of that being what the story truly demands, it’s really unpleasant. After a while, I could barely stomach it anymore, and it almost made me quit the whole anthology. This is the point where I should say that I have read things in 2nd before that I have enjoyed, in case you think I’m just an outright 2nd person hater. I confess, I don’t tend to love it, but I think that’s because people who choose to write in it rarely do so for the correct reasons and/or don’t do it well.
It’s also a bit frustrating, because each story is predicated on the concept of how potential new couple meets, which sounds adorable and fantastic. I was so excited, because I love meet cutes, but you don’t get that in every story. Some of the stories aren’t even remotely “meet cute” worthy, in my opinion. So sometimes this is sweet/ charming/ funny/ fun. Other times, the story ends right where you kind of wish it would begin, and you feel like you wasted all that time waiting to get to the interesting stuff and then were cut short. I guess it’s a concept that is a challenge for writers, because there’s an excellent list of authors tied to this project, authors I typically love, yet I’m still frustrated and disappointed by this one, overall. When meet cutes aren’t handled well, then the reader is left with a constant feeling of dissatisfaction, and what was supposed to be charming or adorable or quirky starts to become irritating.
However, if you are really intrigued by gimmicks, enough to overlook the need for strong storytelling, you might find something of interest here. There’s definitely a ton of diversity, which I appreciate. And I confess I loved a few of the stories so much that I desperately wished the author would go back and write a full story for those characters. Unfortunately, the imbalance was too great between the number of stories I loved vs. the number I just tolerated, which means I don’t recommend this one…or I recommend it with the suggestion that you just skip the stories that aren’t cutting it. You’ll be able to tell right away, with most of them. When you get that terrible pit in your stomach, right at the start, and nothing seems to be going well with the storytelling, just skip ahead. You won’t be missing anything, because the duds were obvious from the start and never got better.
Also, the cover is hideous, which should have probably been a warning sign, but I was hoping it was going to blow me away anyway.
Book 49 read in 2018