Publisher: Corgi Children's.
Paperback, 576 pages.
Release date: January 29th 2015.
Reviewed by: Arianne.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.
Love is the theme of the moment when it comes to short story collections, whether that’s romantic love, familial love or – perhaps most essentially of all — love for oneself despite faults and fears. Following on from the success of 2014’s My True Love Gave to Me comes this UKYA offering, edited by Malorie Blackman. One of the best things about the anthology is the diverse range of experiences it features, particularly LGBTQ stories.
Short story anthologies are always divisive, but if there’s one thing I’ve seen consistently in reviews for Love Hurts, it’s that it needed more original stories, and I'm in total agreement. Most of the new stories written for the collection are magnificent and incredibly diverse, but there should have been new content on every page, not hidden away between extracts. While it could be a great way of allowing reluctant readers to experience an array of young adult fiction, this book’s best potential champions – long-time YA fans, advocates and book bloggers – are taken for granted. With that in mind, I'll only be reviewing the original fiction from the anthology, though it is worth noting that there are some great excerpts thrown into the melee, too.
Tumbling by Susie Day - 5 stars
My favourite story by far from the anthology. If you're going to buy this anthology, buy it for Tumbling, because it is ridiculously fantastic. On the surface it’s just the story of Shirin and Candy (also known as eyebrows and vaticancameltoes), but it's also about love, friendship, Tumblr, fangirls, Sherlock, self-doubt and honesty; it's engaging and fun, devastating and utterly relatable. I’m already campaigning for Shirin and Candy to get their own full-length novel! They’re impossible to resist. Susie Day is an author who just gets what it’s like to be a modern teenager. The writing is spectacular, too - it’s sleek, natural and so, so funny.
Gentlewoman by Laura Dockrill - 4 stars
A powerful, haunting, immersive tale of identity and self-worth which reaches far beyond the pages it’s given. Stark, contemporary and sometimes bleak, it's the kind modern YA everyone should be reading. It focuses less on romance than the other stories and stands out because of it; well worth checking out.
Humming Through My Fingers by Malorie Blackman - 2 stars
The story of a blind girl and a sighted boy's first meeting, the execution of the opener is a catastrophe. As it's the anthology's opener, my disappointment with this story almost made me put the book down. I’ve never seen so many tropes packed into so few pages! Worse than that, the sheer lack of understanding of what it’s like to live with a visual impairment borders on the unbelievable. Main character Amber is treated as if her sole purpose is to improve the lives of the able-bodied people around her. Any flashes of her own agency are quickly quashed. I wanted to see her selfish or angry or delirious with joy, but she’s never even given the chance to seem real. Really did not enjoy this one.
The Unicorn by James Dawson - 4.5 stars
A brilliantly woven, highly emotional and surprisingly entertaining story, proving that you don’t have to lose out on character just because you’re dealing with big themes. A rollicking war-era story, there’s a sense that every word counts. It fits neatly with the rest of the anthology while still making you want to return to it time and again.
The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Johnson - 4.5 stars
Undoubtedly the most unique short story in the entirety of Love Hurts. Like The Unicorn it’s historical fiction, but it has a very different feel. Chilling, fierce and just a little bit dangerous, it’s told directly to the reader and balances a creepy atmosphere with a tale of passionate love like an acrobat on a high wire.