Thursday, November 2, 2017

Book Review: Grim, Edited by Christine Johnson

Title: Grim
Author: Multiple
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 480
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Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:

Ellen Hopkins
Amanda Hocking
Julie Kagawa
Claudia Gray
Rachel Hawkins
Kimberly Derting
Myra McEntire
Malinda Lo
Sarah Rees-Brennan
Jackson Pearce
Christine Johnson
Jeri Smith Ready
Shaun David Hutchinson
Saundra Mitchell
Sonia Gensler
Tessa Gratton
Jon Skrovon

I have never heard anyone mention Grim before, so when I stumbled upon it at the bookstore, I was intrigued. There are stories by a couple of authors I already know I love, and some by authors I have never heard of, so I figured I would give it a try. I'm really glad I did, because I really enjoyed Grim overall. There were a couple stories that fell completely flat for me, but, in general, it was a nice mix of spooky Halloween tales and fairytale retellings.

The Key by Rachel Hawkins
This story was a great start to the compilation. The tale of a psychic mother and daughter team was just spooky and suspenseful enough, without being too gross or scary. I guessed the twist before it happened, but I still enjoyed the ride with this one. (3 stars)

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready
This story was pretty cute, and not spooky at all. It felt more like a children's story, with a stuffed cat that brought its owner good luck. While the story was enjoyable and heartfelt, it felt like the author was trying to squeeze too much plot into a short story. (2.5 stars)

The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo
This story told the tale of a mysterious group of girls who disappeared to a magical party every night. It was a perfectly ominous tale to get you in the mood for Halloween. I felt that it wrapped up a bit too quickly, but it was a fun read overall. (4 stars)

The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron
This was such a cute story and was one of my favorites in the entire compilation. It felt like a real fairy tale, with a boy going on a quest to find true love. It was such a cute story and had just the right amount of darkness. (5 stars)

Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell
Yuck, yuck, yuck. This story was about incest and I was NOT interested in it. I guess the writing was technically ok, but the content was too much for me. (1 star)

Before the Rose Bloomed: A Retelling of The Snow Queen by Ellen Hopkins
I love Ellen Hopkins, so I pretty much knew I would love this story. The main character went on a trek through magical lands to find her lost true love, and it felt just like a fairy tale. (5 stars)

Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton
This was a really cool retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I really loved that the Beast was not just an animal; he was actually made from parts of the forest as well. Most of the main plot of the original story remained the same, but the author put a pretty interesting spin on the smaller details. (5 stars)

The Brothers Piggett by Julie KagawaWhat a fun retelling of the Three Little Pigs. I have never read any retellings of this story before, so it was really interesting to see an author put their take on it. (5 stars)

Untethered by Sonia Gensler
This was a touching story about a ghost girl trying to help her family move on, with a interesting twist. Unfortunately, I can't say much else without giving something away. (4 stars)

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson
This was an interesting story about humans trying to survive in outer space, trying desperately to cure a disease that is spreading throughout their children. It brought up the age-old question of the humanity of artificial intelligence, with an interesting twist at the end. (5 stars)

Light it Up by Kimberly Derting
This was a really interesting, action-packed retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I wish that it had been a little longer, because more detail about the characters would have made it so much more dynamic. (4 stars)

Sharper Than a Serpent's Tongue by Christine Johnson
I don't even understand what this story was about. Two sisters are cursed by an old woman, and there is no real conclusion to the story. It made no sense and was very disappointing. (1 star)

A Real Boy by Claudia Gray
An intriguing take on Pinocchio, set in a future where robots are widespread. This was another story that brought up the humanity of artificial intelligence and it ended up being a fun read. (4 stars)

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire
This story was gross and confusing. The characters said multiple times, "I know what you are," but the reader never actually found out what was going on. I'm glad it was a short story because I was not interested at all. (1 star)

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan
My notes on this story literally say, "wtf did I just read." This was a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it was undoubtedly one of the worst things I have ever spent my time reading. The Beast was a frat bro named Chad, who kept calling Belle "dude." There was an attempt at including homosexuality and the acceptance of all types of relationships, but it was handled so abysmally that it was appalling. I'm now pretty sure I will never pick up anything by this author. (1 star...and that's only because I have to give it a rating)

The Pink: A Grimm Story by Amanda Hocking
This was yet another story that resembled a classic fairy tale. It was a fun and lighthearted read. There was nothing to complain about, but not much that really stood out, either. (4 stars)

Sell Out by Jackson Pearce
This was an interesting story about a world in which some people had the power to wake the dead with a kiss. I wish it had been just a few pages longer, so I could have learned a bit more about this power. (3 stars)

As you can see, I found that the good stories in Grim were really good, and the bad stories were REALLY bad. There were only a few that were somewhere in the middle for me. Overall, I really recommend this book for a fall time read. It was a lot of fun and a pretty quick read. I just recommend skimming (or skipping completely) a few of the stories that were really awful.