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Teen Picks: “The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories” by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff 

What is it about?

From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

- A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.

- Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.

- A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author’s comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?

Summary courtesy of Goodreads

What did you think of it & why did you pick it up?

To understand this review, you need to understand how much I adore Maggie Stiefvater and everything she writes. When I first read her werewolf series, Shiver, I thought it was pretty good. When I read the sequel, Linger, I thought it was great. After finishing the series conclusion, Forever, it solidified my respect for her. If I could choose one person to write like, it would be her. Of course, there is always the incredible John Green, but he is in a league by himself. Honestly.

The wonderful thing about Maggie is that she is very multi-talented. Somehow she managed to write beautifully, have four main characters with their own POV’s, branch off in other directions after the Shiver trilogy, and become one of my favorite authors in the process. I like that she gives an equal amount of time and effort to each character and none of them ever seem under-developed. It boggles my mind when authors write in multiple POV’s. Two point-of-views, is one thing, but FOUR?! Insane. She also wrote a stand-alone novel and has started a new series. That is even more impressive. After an author finishes a major series they can get into this rut. Maggie didn’t do that. She continued to branch out and try and succeed.

The main point of me telling you all of that is for you to see that I am very biased towards her. I can’t help it. I’ve read all her books, and even met her in person (along with Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff, but we’ll get to that later). I’m not sure if I would’ve loved The Curiosities had she not been one of the authors.

Actually, I’m still not sure if I loved it. Maybe it’s because I had never read an anthology of short stories before that drove me crazy or maybe it was the short stories themselves. I liked them all and some I loved but in short stories you don’t get the time to invest yourself in the characters, even when you really want to. This killed me. There were so many spectacular ideas in those stories I would want to read individual novels for. I am undoubtedly a novel person but I’m very pleased that I read this. I learned a lot as a write from all of the drawings and advice scribbled in the margins. It was lovely to be able to witness these famous authors develop and grow before they were famous. Writing can be overwhelming and having someone right there sharing stories that are unedited and previously used as tools to improve their writing, was very reassuring.

After finishing, I felt motivated to write. Crazy, huh?! I had never thought about short stories as “novel playgrounds.” I always become so afraid to “waste” an idea on a short story so I don’t write and pretend I’m saving it for a novel. Needless to say, discovering that my philosophy sucked was a huge revelation.

As for the actual stories in the book, I had many favorites and, yes, I did enjoy Maggie’s the most. But, I will say that after I while I stopped trying to identify who wrote what and whose handwriting belonged to whomever. Although after meeting Brenna and Tessa and hearing about some of their other books, I will definitely be checking those out to get a better idea of their style.

For those of you who have read the book a few of my favorites were:

“A Murder of Gods” by Maggie Stiefvater – I love mythology stories and groups of kids rebelling against adults. When I was younger I was always the kid who thought she was going to start a revolution on the playground.

” Beserk” by Tessa Gratton – I would have sobbed if this had been a novel.

“Girl Raised by Wolves” by Brenna Yovanoff – This story was shocking. Everything made sense, it’s just that one minute the girls were talking and the next…

Of course, there were many more by Maggie that I adored but I’m starting to feel bad that I spent the whole tie talking about her. Brenna and Tessa were really wonderful as well, I promise. I wish I had bought a copy of the book when at the signing my library hosted because I know that this is a book I will want to flip through again and again.

Star Rating:  It was really good. I’ve already told my friends about it.

I would suggest this for: Teens that LOVE paranormal/fantasy YA

Review by: Lauren B

Thanks for the review, Lauren!

This review is also posted at Books that Smolder.

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