Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie


Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

What I Liked:

I'm not usually one to read anthologies - short stories make me want more, but there is no more, because that's the point of a short story. Why bother getting worked up about it, when you can just not read short stories (or an anthology). Because when I saw this anthology, with so many of my favorite authors contributing, I threw out my usual logic regarding anthologies and jumped at the chance to take a peek in advance. 

These tales of villainy are masterful and incredible. In thirty or so pages, each author has created an intriguing and captivating story that (you guessed it) left me wanting more. But at the same time, when I got to the end of each story, most of the time I was like "no waaaaaay" or "holy guacamole" or simply "OMG!". Each story tended to have a sneakily surprising ending, and the ending was always satisfying (in a twisted way). These are tales of villainy, centered around the villain, and none of the tales end in a cute happily-ever-after. Which made the stories all the more incredible! 

In general, every story was a fantastic short story, well-written and captivating. Some started a little slowly, but it only took a page or two for me to become hooked. These stories are twisted and strange, and I enjoyed them all. I'm going to talk about some of my favorite ones. No disrespect to the other authors/stories that I don't mention! The following ones were simply too good not to talk about.

The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh: honestly, half the reason why I decided to read this anthology was to read Renée Ahdieh's story. This story is on the shorter side, but it is dense and the ending is shocking (sort of). It is classic Ahdieh, with rich storytelling and immersive writing. 

Jack by Ameriie: woah, I did not see that ending coming! Though I probably should have. This story is sort of based on Jack and the Beanstalk, but it is darker than what we know of that story (the mainstream version, anyway). I was so caught up in the story unfolding that the ending really took me by surprise! In a good way. 

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani: on paper, I hated this story. I never really liked the story of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot - I mean, I hate love triangles. But this short story was fascinating. It is told entirely in texting format (which was so cool!), and it gets dramatic very quickly. Gwen wants to go to prom with Art, but Lance wants to go with her, but Gwen doesn't want to go with him, nor does she want Art (Lance's best friend) to know that she and Lance have been sleeping together... yeah, it's a mess. And I really don't like Gwen. But I was so amused by the story, and definitely by how it was written. It's an interesting retelling.

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard: this one is one of my favorite favorites! At first I was like, ewww, a young man named "Jim"?! I love how Shirley calls him James though. That was adorable. Anyway, this story is told in letter format (Shirley is writing a letter to her friend Jean), and it is so cool. I love how the story is told and how it progresses. By the time you get to the ending, you know what's coming, and yet it still surprises you a little. I loved falling in love with Shirley and James (James! Not Jim!), and I loved seeing how it ended.

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer: this story is a sort-of retelling of The Little Mermaid. Wow it was trippy. I loved it so much. Nerit wants to make a love spell to make the prince fall in love with her, but things go awry. I liked how long this story felt, despite it being only twenty-two pages in length. Meyer does an amazing job of passing time and making it feel like a full story.

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon: this story made me happy and then sad and then mad. I love how Pon made me go through a roller coaster of emotions. This story has everything dark and curious - seduction, betrayal, curses, death. This story is based a little on the story of Medusa. 

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab: of course I loved this story. I love how Schwab tells stories. Pieces are revealed bit by bit, so you are wondering what is going on but at the same time you are caught up in the story, so you're not totally anxious to know everything. Death and a girl named Grace - an unlikely pair. I liked the ending of this one!

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke: I loved this story, because it comes very close to having a happily-ever-after. The love story within this one is beautiful, and the author does it justice. I liked the arrogant, god-like hero who knows how good-looking and good-at-everything he is. He has a good heart, for a villain.

I didn't talk about every story, but I still recommend them. The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni, Marigold by Samantha Shannon, You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera, Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith, and Sera by Nicola Yoon are the remaining stories and believe me, they are worth the read in addition to the ones I already discussed. No story in this anthology was boring or bad!

What I Did Not Like:

I really hope this doesn't come across as too offensive buuuuuuut... I didn't really care for the booktubers' contributions to this anthology. I know, I know, that's part of the appeal of this anthology. Hear me out. There are thirteen short stories, written by thirteen authors. After each short story, there is a one- to two-page commentary written by a booktuber. Thirteen stories, thirteen "commentaries". Each commentary is in a different style, and some aren't specifically commentaries. Some are lists, some are in the form of Instagram posts, a forum. All good stuff. I thought this was going to be an anthology of stories written by authors AND booktubers - like, an author writes one story, a booktuber writes one story, and so on. Twenty-six stories, if you will. Or maybe one author and one booktuber co-wrote a story. That is not the case - the booktubers do not write stories. 

If I'm being honest, after the first booktuber contribution (Christine Riccio's signs that you're a villain - really fun list, by the way), I skipped the rest of them. I didn't read any of the other contributions. I liked Christine's just fine, and I'm sure the other ones were interesting, but I wanted to read stories, and so I moved on to each author's story when I came to the booktuber's part. The booktubers' contributions didn't seem essential to the anthology; therefore, I didn't bother.

Does that make sense? I didn't feel the need to read these one- to two-page contributions, and so I didn't. The idea is neat and maybe if I reread this book, I'll read the booktubers' contributions, but I was more interested in reading the stories, and that's what I did.

Would I Recommend It:

In terms of the short stories, this anthology was phenomenal. I don't even like anthologies and yet I highly recommend this one. These stories were so highly creative, diverse, engrossing, and occasionally bizarre. All of the authors really hit the mark with the theme of this anthology. I wouldn't read this anthology if you're looking for happily-ever-afters and cute romances. Most stories don't have romances and none of them have traditional HEAs. But that's part of the appeal!

Rating:

4 stars. I enjoyed this anthology and I'm glad I broke out of my "no anthologies!" mindset for this one. The contributing authors are so talented and their work is quality. Don't miss out!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

20 comments:

  1. I just put this one on my tbr list today. I'm glad to hear it was good.

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  2. Great review! I absolutely love the look of this book and it sounds amazing, but I'd probably feel the same way about the "commentaries".

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Alyssa :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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  3. Yeah, I'll be honest, I didn't even know about the booktubers until recently. And I wouldn't care for the commentary. Nice attempt, but we are all about the stories!
    @TeacherofYA

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  4. I didn't understand how the booktubers played into any of this until just now. I thought they were writing stuff too. I love the idea of the short stories, but will probably skip the booktube stuff too. It sounds like it takes you out of the element.

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  5. I didn't understand how the booktubers played into any of this until just now. I thought they were writing stuff too. I love the idea of the short stories, but will probably skip the booktube stuff too. It sounds like it takes you out of the element.

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  6. Yep, I definitely need this book in my life. lol! Glad you ended up enjoying it even with the booktubers and shorter style stories. I always love to hear the "bad guy's" version of the story or even just a little more about them. Great review!

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  7. I feel the same about the commentaries, I think it should have been stories as well

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  8. I was pretty skeptical about this book of short stories until your review. Now I want to read it! Honestly, the only reason I was so skeptical was because of the book Uber's role in it. Great review! 😉

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    1. Lol, BookTuber'welcome not Uber. 😂

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  9. I'm not quite sure why the booktubers were added in if they didn't write parts of the story...? I thought there were 2 people to a story. I'm not particularly interested in this one since anthologies really aren't my thing. Maybe I'll pick it up eventually.
    Great review! =D

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  10. I am excited about this anthology because villains are awesome! I recently read A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood- all were historical YA short stories- I liked it- however I did find myself reading the stories really fast because I just wanted to finish the book... lol um I might go back later to reread some of the stories. But I did like it but prepare yourself... its not always a HEA.

    I was excited for book tubers' contributions- (Jesse the Reader and Cuddlebuggery were the people most excited about) but it seems from your review it was more fluff pieces? Maybe I will get this from the library :)

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  11. Ahh, YAY :D Lovely review Alyssa. <3 So glad you loved these stories. Eee. Makes me much more excited about them all :D But ahh. Only around 30 pages for each story? :\ So depressing. I'm really excited for Soman's story, lol, because I love his trilogy books so much ;) And they are sort of about these characters too. So curious. And ahh, Marissa Meyer story :D SO excited for that one. Just, yeah. Glad you loved them all, mostly :D But ugh, I'm disappointed by what you say about the book fans thingy too :\ Sounds a bit awful, tbh. Oh, well. Thank you for sharing Alyssa :)

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  12. I am not a huge fan of short stories, because I often feel like they are incomplete, but the premise of these interest me.

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  13. Haha, I'm glad you broke your anthologies rule and picked this one up! The stories you mentioned sound really fun and twisty. :P

    But omg, the booktubers "contribution" sound like a drag. 2-3 pages of commentary - who even cares at this point? We're reading for stories, not these random people's thoughts. Lol the salt is real with the booktubers getting their names next to these famous authors. :P

    - Aila @ One Way Or An Author

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  14. Amazing review Alyssa, I also don't read anthologies because I want more from the stores. Plus I read a couple anthologies and I didn't like them at all, but after reading your review I want too give this one a try. Thank you so much for the awesome post Alyssa.

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  15. I LOVE anthologies,I can't wait to read this one! To be honest, I thought the booktubers co-wrote each story, so I'm a little shocked to know it wasn't that way... and I wouldn't read their parts either *sorry*

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  16. Loved your review, I'm not really a fan of anthologies either. Usually there's only one author's short story that I want to read when I see an anthology that interests me, (Sarah Enni's - "Blessing of the Little Wants" in this book). As an aspiring writer like most of them, I was surprised that the Book Tubers didn't write short stories, and I'm definitely going to skip their "contributions" if I end up reading this.

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  17. Great review! I'm so bad about actually reading anthologies, I always buy them (of course only when it has authors I like) but I rarely get around to actually reading them. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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  18. Yeah, I don't get the whole booktuber thing. What was the point? :-/ But I'm glad you enjoyed the stories!

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  19. I don't usually read anthologies either but this one definitely appeals to me because of both the subject matter and the authors who are in it. Glad to hear it's a great read!

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