Romance, young adult, anthologies, contemporary
29th January 2015
Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.
The popularity of My True Love Gave To Me released for Christmas last year was undeniable and it was an enjoyable collection, so I was expecting the same from Love Hurts.
Like MTLGTM I was expecting it to be a collection of original romance stories, but it wasn’t; the majority of the stories are snippets of books that have already been published. There are a handful of originals, which do stand out and, for the most part, are better than unoriginal stories because they work well.
The majority of the unoriginal stories don’t quite work well because you feel like you’re thrown into the middle of the book, you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t understand relationships and motives and it just doesn’t work.
I had only read two of the unoriginal pieces but I don’t think I’d be happy if I bought this book only to discover I’d read a few stories already.
I’m going to list each book and give you a brief review and let you know if it’s an original story or not.
Humming Through My Fingers – Malorie Blackman – 4 /5 – this short story has been published elsewhere before
This was a really sweet and strong opener. I was drawn in and I wish it was a bit longer so I could found out what happened next.
More Than This – Patrick Ness – 3 /5 – Part of a full story.
This was very, very short but fairly good. It did feel like we were missing a bit of information.
The Infinite Moment of Us – Lauren Myracle – 4 /5 – Part of a full story
I really liked Myracle’s offering and felt like I was sat there next to the characters listening to their conversations. This is probably one of the better snippets from a full-length book in this anthology.
If I Stay – Gayle Forman – 3 /5 – Part of a full story
The inclusion of this kind of annoyed me because I want to read this book and this snippet doesn’t seem to have been taken from the very beginning of the book so I’m a touch annoyed that I’ve already read part of it.
While the content of this snippet was good, the snippet itself didn’t work for me because it felt like too much information was missing.
Tumbling – Susie Day – 2 /5 – Original
This really confused me; Tumbling follows a Sherlock fangirl and there’s a lot of fangirl and Tumblr speak which I didn’t get, despite having watched Sherlock.
I preferred the parts of this story which were based on the main characters real life, the fangirling bit didn’t work for me.
Trouble – Non Pratt – 3.5 / 5 – Part of a full story
The content of this snippet is good and I felt myself being drawn in but it doesn’t quite work because we don’t understand the relationship and history between the two main characters. That being said, it has left me intrigued to read the full story.
Rani and Sukh – Bali Rai – 3 / 5 – Part of a full story
I liked the concept behind this story; I was excited to find out what would happen next for our characters and how their families reacted. The second half of this story though was a friend trying to get Rani and Sukh to meet and I lost interest.
You Against Me – Jenny Downham – 3 / 5 stars – Part of a full story
This was interesting and drew me in quickly but I always felt on the backfoot because I didn’t understand exactly what was going on.
13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson – 1 /5 stars – Part of a full story
This didn’t work for me at all. Ginny is visiting England (we don’t know why) and decides to buy all of the tickets to Keith’s show (again, we don’t know why). The pair go to a pub together and have an awkward conversation.
Nothing really happened and there was so much information missing that I couldn’t get into this story at all.
Junk – Melvin Burgess – 1 /5 – Part of a full story
14 year-old Gemma finds herself running away from home and squatting in a house with her boyfriend, Tar, and his friends. This was another one that I couldn’t get into because there’s too much information missing.
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman – 5 / 5
This is one of the best examples of snippets in this anthology. It drew me in and the snippet told me enough to get on board with what was happening and feel for the characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one and found myself immersed in it and I want to read the full book to find out what happens next.
Gentlewoman – Laura Dockrill – 5 / 5 – original
This was absolutely wonderful, by far the best original piece in the collection.
Gentlewoman drew me in instantly and I really felt for Danni and I could fell her anxiety and nervousness. I wish I was a full story because I would love to read more about Danni.
Heroic – Phil Earle – 3.5 / 5 – Part of a full story
This was another story which pulled me in quickly and I felt myself worrying about the characters and I’d love to know what happens next.
Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith – DNF – Part of a full story
I struggled with this one, I couldn’t get a grip on it and most of it seemed pointless. That being said, I looked it up on Goodreads and it sounds interesting but I don’t remember any of what I read relating to the Goodreads description.
Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat – David Levithan – 3 / 5 – this short has been published in another anthology before
I liked that this short covered the whole length of a relationship and it was more than a story about a relationship; it was also about how Lucy had to hide being a lesbian from her Mother. I felt it was a bit long and dragged out in places but overall it was quite good.
I Am The Messenger – Marcus Zusak – DNF – Part of a full story
I was quite intrigued when I saw this in here because I’ve heard of the book and the author before, but I found it to be so confusing that I couldn’t finish it.
Echo Boy – Matt Haig – DNF – Part of a full story
We’re thrown into a battle scene in Echo Boy and without knowing who is who and what’s going on, it got incredibly confusing, incredibly quickly and I couldn’t figure out what was happening.
Forbidden – Tabitha Suzuma – 5 / 5 – Part of a full story
This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for about a year now and I was worried that it would annoy me as If I Stay did but this snippet worked well.
I was sucked in quickly, I cared about the characters and I really want to read the rest of the book now.
Midwinterblood – Marcus Sedgwick – DNF – Part of a fully story
This really confused me and I couldn’t get into it or finish it. I looked it up on Goodreads and it does actually sound interesting but that particularly snippet didn’t echo that for me.
The Liar’s Girl – Catherine Johnson – 4 / 5 – Original
It took me a few pages to get into this book because the narrative is strange and it uses ‘you’, as if the main character is telling the story to the reader. Once you get about 75% of the way through, you understand why the narrative is that way.
The Unicorn – James Dawnson – 4 / 5 – Original
I thoroughly enjoyed this; it drew me in quickly and I really felt the characters elation, pain and frustration.
Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman – 2 / 5 – Part of a full story
I was a bit baffled about why this was included, to me it seems like including part of the first Harry Potter book because so many people have read it. The snippet that was included didn’t drag me in and I found myself skim reading really.
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart – 3 / 5 – Part of a full story
I squeed when I saw this was included because I love this book. The snippet in here worked fairly well but I think the problem is that you need to know a lot more about the family to fully appreciate what’s happening and I don’t think you’d understand all the little nuances without knowing the background. And I think that’s the case for a lot of the stories in here which are part of a full story.
Overall, I wasn’t thrilled by this. I was expecting something on part with My True Love Gave To Me and it just wasn’t. The originals were brilliant, the problem was taking snippets out of books that already exist and trying to make them work as a short story.
I don’t really know that I would recommend this because I felt disappointed by it and I received a free review copy, so if I’d paid for it – I think I’d be a bit miffed. The shorts are really good though but I don’t think a handful of originals makes up for a higher number of underwhelming snippets.
You know what it feels like though? It feels like the publisher’s, or someone, saw the success of MTLGTM and wanted to try and replicate that for Valentine’s Day and didn’t have enough time to ask authors to submit original short stories. I can’t imagine why else you would pick a book which is mostly made up of snippets from full length books over a book full of original stories.
If this book had been full of originals, it would have worked well.
How do you feel about a collection including books that have already been published?
* I received a free e-copy of Love Hurts via Net Galley from Corgi Children’s in exchange for an honest review.