Society needs more short story anthologies. Too often, I don’t want to start a whole new book because I don’t have the mental capacity to digest an entire story, but a good short story can pull you in without capturing too much of your time. And when the story is extremely good, you end up reading the next one, and then the next, and the next, and the next.
“Fools in Love,” edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos, satisfies the itch for a good story — a good love story, at that — perfectly, with stories by a group of absolute rockstar authors, all giving their take on a tried and true romcom trope. Besides the fact that this book has absolutely superb queer representation, I also think the lineup of stories is incredible. Usually with anthologies, I find a few stories that I like amidst a sea of less enjoyable ones, but I had a great time with this entire book.
I’m veering away from my usual review format now to have enough space to discuss every story. Enjoy my very short thoughts!
“Silver and Gold” by Natasha Ngan is a take on the “snowed in” trope and is a lovely way to start things off. Amy Spalding’s “Five Stars” is a hilarious case of mistaken identity when a girl’s crush mistakes her car for a rideshare. “Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks” by Rebecca Kim Wells is a cute love story about two magic students kissing “under the influence” (of a magic dust, not from drugs). “Edges” by Ashley Herring Blake made me squeal with excitement multiple times because I absolutely love the “grumpy one and soft one” trope.
“What Makes Us Heroes,” a delightful spin on the “hero x villain” trope, is by Julian Winters and features a teen superhero trying to get over his ex and the son of local villains who helps him out with that. “And” by Hannah Moskowitz considers the question, what if you simply resolved a love triangle with polyamory? “My Best Friend’s Girl” features, as you might imagine, the trope of the same name — but makes the best friend a superhero and the main character also a girl.
Claire Kann’s “(Fairy)like Attracts Like” is sapphic mutual pining set at a fairy summer camp. “These Strings” by Lilliam Rivera tackles the “brother’s hot best friend” trope with a backdrop of puppeteering. Laura Silverman convinced me with “The Passover Date” that fake-dating is actually amazing and that straight people do exist. “Bloom” by Rebecca Barrow is about love transcending space and time, but no, it’s not about space — it’s about time traveling by way of magic flowers.
“Teed Up” is a classic Gloria Chao story with total obliviousness and a lot of golf. Mason Deaver warmed my heart with “Boys Noise,” where two boy band members have only one bed in their hotel room. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Malinda Lo is the “secret royalty” trope in a futuristic sci-fi world. Rebecca Podos’ “Disaster” wraps it up with a second chance romance between two girls growing up in the 90s.
“Fools in Love” comes out on Dec. 7. I received an early copy from the publisher, Running Press Kids, in exchange for an honest review.