Disclosure: I received a finished copy of Because You Love to Hate Me from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Because You Love to Hate Me by Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon • contains 353 pages • published July 13, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing • classified as Fantasy, Contemporary, Young Adult • obtained through Pansing Books • read as paperback • shelve on Goodreads
In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.
These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage—and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!
Featuring writing from...
Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel)
Fell Short of Expectations
When I first heard of this anthology, Because You Love to Hate Me, I was extremely excited. The idea sounded so enticing and I couldn’t wait to see how the various authors would approach their prompts. With so many great people working on this, I couldn’t wait to be wowed. Needless to say, this belonged to my most anticipated reads of 2017. Sadly, I walked away with mixed feelings.
The Stories I Liked
Going into Because You Love to Hate Me, I knew chances were, I wouldn’t love every single short story. I thought I might love two or three, enjoy most and maybe dislike one or two. The math didn’t pan out. My average rating of these 13 stories came to 3 stars. Only Marissa Meyer’s “The Sea Witch” came out top for me with 4.5 stars. The other stories I also enjoyed and rated 4 stars were from Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Cindy Pon and Victoria Schwab.
There were two more decent stories but that left me with five that I thoroughly disliked. To be fair, the outcome of each story wasn’t only dependent on the authors. The prompts played a huge role as well. Some of those left me scratching my head and pulling faces.
I was bored with a lot of the prose collected in Because You Love to Hate Me. I suppose not every author is meant to write short stories. Novelists are used to long form, and perhaps might feel limited or stifled planning an entire story arc spanning only a few pages. It showed.
Booktubers Out of Place
Each short story in Because You Love to Hate Me was also paired with commentaries from the corresponding booktubers. These were all over the place. I appreciate that they were given creative freedom with how to approach their text but I don’t think that benefited this collection.There were a range of quizzes, explanations, reasons for creative choices, to nearly unrelated thoughts. As a result, Because You Love to Hate Me lacked cohesion. Some might find this interesting due to the variety of content. I, however, found that it broke the rhythm and without a common thread, the book lacked an anchor.
Distinct Stories But Not Dark Enough
Speaking of variety, the short stories were very different. Each author had a distinct idea of what a villain might be and how readers could possibly empathise, if at all. For some, that led to significantly tamer tales than expected.
If you were raised on Disney fairytales, you might still find surprises. If, like me, you grew up with the darker versions passed down by the Grimm brothers, these stories won’t be twisted enough.