I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories (The Curiosities, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton
Published: 1 August, 2012 by Lerner Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror/Gothic
Source: the publisher
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I received a review copy of The Curiosities waaaaay back in 2012, when I first was getting into book blogging and went through that phase when advanced reader copies were still a novelty and I acquired a lot of them and only to have to come to terms with the fact that I are human and there are only so many books that I can read at a time. Then covid hit, my social life drastically changed, and one of my friends invited me to a virtual get-together where we’d read excerpts of stories we enjoyed, or short fiction. I perused the collections of short stories on my shelves and pulled out The Curiosities, and discovered something delightful.
The Curiosities is a collection of short stories by three young adult authors, Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton. Each author contributed unedited short stories to the collection, and then the other authors comment on them in the margins. It’s a really cool exploration of the writing process, and gives you a chance to get into how the authors conceptualize their work. And some of the stories in the collection are all three authors responding to the same prompt (for example, Arthurian legend) but in vastly different ways. And the title The Curiosities is very fitting, as the stories on the whole tend to delve into the fantastical, and straddle the line between fantasy, fairy tale, horror, and contemporary genres. There are stories about dangerous boys and even more dangerous women, about vampires, and high school shenanigans. The stories are dark and whimsical, and I couldn’t get enough.
I never quite know how to review short story collections, even after years of blogging. I’ve shifted from reviewing each individual story to talking about a collection overall. This time I’ll just mention a couple of my favorite stories.
The first story in the collection, The Vampire Box, was the one that sucked me in (vampire pun intended). A girl’s father keeps a vampire imprisoned in their basement. It’s supposed to be lucky, and nobody seems to question it. The girl befriends the vampire, but now she’s finishing high school and is going to be making her own way in the world, so she has to decide whether or not to leave the vampire behind. It’s a story exploring risk and reward, and taking leaps into the unknown.
I also greatly enjoyed the story Puddles. It starts out as a whimsical story about a girl who stares at puddles and a boy who teases her by jumping in them, but as the two characters move from childhood to their teenage years, a normal childhood experience turns somewhat more sinister. It’s the kind of story that sends shivers down your spine, in a good way. This was the story that I ended up reading aloud to the group.
I wish that I had the time and capacity to have read The Curiosities years ago, but I’m glad that I picked it up again when I did. It was the right book for the right moment, and I hope that if you decide to read it, that you enjoy it as much as I did.