I do enjoy a good anthology but one about love triangles? Am I crazy? (Nope, new year – new me.) I borrowed this from my library and while I did complain to myself about how bloody long this audio is (over 14 hours if you listen at 1x playback), I found myself simply compelled to finish.
The absolute takeaway I had from this (besides the fact that I still don’t like love triangles) was how incredibly diverse these stories were. They were all completely different in the aspect of race, sexuality, settings, genres, and more. It blew me away. This wasn’t just boy likes girl who likes boy. This was so much more. I believe it was the variety that kept me going until the end. I will go through each of the stories below. I do have my absolutely favorites, of course.
-Riddles in Mathematics by Katie Cotugno – ★★★
This was about a queer girl who recently came out to her family and is struggling with the aftermath. She feels her family sees her differently but in truth, they adore her just as much as before. She falls for her brother’s best friend, who is also her unrequited love. Katie’s stories are usually hit or miss for me. I liked this story but I wasn’t in love with this story. I didn’t feel the love triangle so much so that was a bonus.
–Dread South by Justina Ireland – ★★★
This was an odd story for me, but in a good way. This was about an alternate history after the Civil War that involves zombies. AAHH! I love zombies! In this version of history, the Native American and African American children have to learn combat skills in order to protect the white children from the zombies. The main girl is “gifted” a girl to protect her by the boy that fancies her. The triangle is that the main girl, Lousia, thinks she is to marry this boy but soon realizes that she has feelings for her protector.
–Omega Ship by Rae Carson – ★
This was not my favorite story. This type of plot has been done so many times before so I sort of zoned out when it was on. This is about a colony of people that boarded a spaceship because their planet was going to be destroyed. The set out in search for another planet to call home. Along the voyage the ship ran into difficulties and only three teens were able to make it off safely. Once on the new planet, the last survivors formulated this plan: since there were two boys and one girl, the girl would immediately start repopulating the planet with offspring. You read that correctly. She did the math and realized she would need to have close to 20 babies in order for their race to start over. Insert my shock here. The triangle in this story is who is the girl going to sleep with first. No lie, that’s it. This was not a love triangle story I would have ever thought I’d see printed in YA.
–La Revancha del Tango by Renee Ahdieh – ★
I love Renee but this story just did not do it for me. Honestly, I didn’t understand what was going on. This was about a girl who, after graduating high school, traveled to Argentina by herself before meeting up with her brother. She stayed at a hostel and suddenly made a bunch of friends and went salsa dancing? It was so random and made no sense. There were a lot of references to books but that was it. I didn’t sense the love triangle at all.
–Cass, An, and Dra by Natalie C. Parker – ★★★
This was an incredibly odd story. This was about a girl, Cass, that had a gift to see all possible outcomes to questions. If she was wondering what shirt to pack, she could see exactly what events would take place while wearing that shirt. She spent a majority of the story over-analyzing and fussing over which girl she should be with – An or Dra. That is the love triangle in the story – who will she pick? She would not leave anything to chance or “destiny”, she had to know what would happen. I read in another review that this story and the characters may be a giant metaphor for Cass’ identity as the names spell CassAnDra. Just let THAT nugget sit with you for a while.
–Lessons for Beginners by Julie Murphy – ★★★★★
I really loved this story. This is a story about an outcast at school being a kissing expert. She has made it her job to help people become better kissers. The catch? She is picked on and made fun of for being over-weight. Nobody knows she is the “Kisser Fixer” because everything on her website keeps her identity hidden. Everything changes when her latest client turns out to be her former best friend and crush. Will her former BFF go through with the kissing lessons to stay with her boyfriend, the “PK” or Preacher’s Kid, or will she realize her true feelings for the Expert? This story was nothing but perfection. Julie knocked it out of the park.
– Triangle Solo by Garth Nix – ★★
This was another miss story for me. The very short recap is this is about two teenage boys lusting after the same girl. The girl left many years before and comes back a major hottie. Apparently this is set in space but I never got that vibe because the world is not really set. They talked about being in low gravity but that was it. It was a boring and lack-luster story at best.
– Vim and Vigor by Veronica Roth – ★★
This was another story I zoned out on. It did not grab my attention at all. It is about a girl who fell out of friendship with three best friends. They became friends over an all girl comic book team. Sadly, one of the girls dies on a simple drive for sugar and everyone just drifts apart. With all that said, this story is still about a girl who has to pick between two different boys to go to prom with. Just too much was trying to happen and I couldn’t jive with it.
– Work in Progress by E.K. Johnston – ★
Holy Second Person, Batman! This story was just ODD. It made less than zero sense. I think it was actually three separate stories, if that is even possible. That’s all I can tell you about this one.
– Hurdles by Brandy Colbert – ★★★
I really like Brandy Colbert’s stories but this just didn’t blow my hair back. This is a very sad story wrapped in a story of how your parents expect or want you to be when you grow up. Stay with me now. The MC in this story is a girl who excels at running and has a big race coming up. Her dad pushes her hard, all the while she is distracted by the boy she has a crush on. This boy also happens to have an addiction problem. See, far too much and probably far too heavy of a story. The ending is what really set me off. It was so incredibly unresolved that it almost made me mad.
– The Historian, The Garrison, and the Cantakerous Catwoman by Lamar Giles – ★
This is another story that I had no clue what was going on. Like, I’m not even sure what it was about. Call me crazy but I didn’t get it.
– Waiting by Sabaa Tahir – ★★
I love Sabaa’s writing but I do NOT like how this story ended (hence the two star rating). The girl STRAIGHT UP picked the wrong guy. This story is is the exact reason I do not like love triangles. I expect them to end up this way and that just makes me mad and upset.
– Vega by Brenna Yovanoff – ★★★
If you have ever wanted to be in Vegas or visit or live there, read this story. If Yovanoff can do one thing, it is world build. Outside of that, I could not believe what the triangle in this story was really about. I cannot and will not give it away but you have to read it and make up your own mind.
– A Hundred Thousand Threads by Alaya Dawn Johnson – ★
This is another example of not knowing what was going on. Maybe Johnson was trying too hard? Whatever the reason, it was an absolute miss for me. It was flat, boring, and very predictable.
– Before She Was Bloody by Tessa Gratton – ★★
This story just did not do it for me. I felt it was too wordy and flowery for a story that was about a princess who wants to be more. She used people like they were tissues and had no regards for anyone. I wanted to like this more but couldn’t. Maybe if it was written into a full book I would like it. The backstory and development would have made a huge difference.
– Unus, Duo, Tres by Bethany Hagen – ★★★★★
This story shattered my heart and left me in tears. Oh my every loving God this slayed me – no pun intended as this is about vampires. (See what I did there?!) I will not say much more about this because my words will not do it justice. All I can say is that you would have to go into this trusting me when I say you will not close the book with dry eyes.