Saturday, December 6, 2014

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

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 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?

My Thoughts:

I don't think I could pinpoint exactly what I loved about this collection. But I loved it. I think I might be kind of a Brenna Yovanoff fangirl. Seriously. I love her. And her work. It's just... so... perfect. I picked up this collection of stories because of her and I'm so glad I did because I now have more authors to obsess over!

Ok, so, this collection of short stories exists because three unknown authors (Brenna Yovanoff, Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton) started a blog on which to post short stories and critique each other. Using this blog they each honed their already impressive skills and are now some of the best YA fiction writers out there. The really awesome thing about this anthology, though, was that it was published unedited and with notes in the margins explaining creative processes and how they critiqued each other and what-not. So it was interesting in a one-day-I'd-like-to-write-a-book sort of way. But the stories themselves were just good on their own. Which is amazing to me, considering that they each wrote a story a week. Granted, they did pick and choose which stories were going to be published and I'm sure a lot of not-so-stellar pieces were cut but I'm still amazed by what they could do with such crazy deadlines! A full short story a week! Talk about dedication to your craft.

Anyway, the stories. Usually I get a bit bored by a book that is a collection of disjointed stories with no connection to each other to speak of. Here, I was fascinated. I could not put this down. It's like I got a full novel every few pages, these stories were so rich and rounded. The subjects were ones I was interested in, that I craved to read. The characters were people I knew and liked or was interested enough in to want to know about them. I'm not gonna lie, there's a lot of weirdness going on in here. I think that's part of the reason these three talented ladies work so well together in this critique circle: Their talents complement each other and their subject matter tends to be similar. I loved all the weirdness. There are ghosts and trolls and zombies and magic and killer puddles and murderers and modern dragon slayers and pyromaniacs and all sorts of fun, strange little things going on. And the actual writing is so, so lovely. 

Now that I'm not looking at the book itself I'm having a hard time remembering which author wrote what. Which is a good thing. Because I picked this book up loving Brenna Yovanoff's words.

Now I think I might be in love with Maggie Stiefvater's and Tessa Gratton's as well.

Sexual Content: Mild (kissing, vague innuendo)
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild

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