Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review - Sucker Literary Volume III by Hannah R. Goodman

Editor: Hannah R. Goodman
Published: April 15, 2014
Pages: 204
Goodreads Rating: 4.00 Stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: Mature YA (Some mature themes such as sex, abuse, LGBT, death, etc.)

Summary from Goodreads: Bullied and alone, Ainsley seeks refuge in the arms of a strange boy. Time is slipping away for overachieving Sadie Lin, but reigniting an old flame might help. Scarred by a pressuring ex, Alexandra finally faces the rain. “Pasty and chubby” Charlotte makes a public play for the “Tan and Smooth” king. The beautiful girl in the black, lacy push-up bra says that it’s time for Brenn to stop lying . . . at least to herself. A halfway house is no home for Dawn—or is it? How will Dana survive knowing everyone at school thinks she’s a monster, when they just may be right? JJ and her crush finally get a moment alone—at his girlfriend’s hottest party of the year. Sixteen-year old Sarah prepares for her first day of school by chaining up her Mamí in her bedroom. Alyssa’s life is a well-rehearsed ballet until a tragedy sends her hurtling towards a fall. Loving a boy is as simple as chemistry . . . unless that boy is an unstable element.

Eleven stories that delve into the depths of our experience—driven by fierce and untouched love that makes us seek, lose, fear, desire, long, reflect, survive, steal, protect, fall, and confess.

When I accepted this book for review, I wasn't sure how I would feel about a book of short stories, to be honest.  I was afraid that I would be left at the end of each story wanting more ... something.  More character development, more plot, more emotional connection ... just more.  Well, I'm happy to say that, overall, that was NOT the case.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that these authors packed quite a lot of punch into these little stories.  Yes, there were one or two that felt like they could have been longer or been developed just a little bit more, but for the most part, I was overwhelmingly impressed!

I don't really feel like I can format this review the way I usually do, with my list of positives and negatives - instead I will just briefly talk about each story.
  • "Her Tree Boy Blaze" by Lina Branter - This story was really kind of disturbing in a lot of ways.  It left me feeling unsettled and just a little bit creeped out.  Which is not to say that it wasn't good.  It was actually kind of profound.  But disturbing, just the same.
  • "A Different Kind of Cute" by Hannah R. Goodman - This one was interesting, but I had a little bit of trouble connecting to the main character.  She just wasn't terribly likable to me (which is a personal issue that I have - I find it hard to connect with characters I don't like). The story had a certain quirky realism, though, which I think a lot of people will really enjoy.
  • "Just a Matter of Time" by Charity Tahmaseb - This was a fun story with a paranormal twist.  It was one of my favorites.  I loved how Tahmaseb managed to really invest us in the paranormal element to the story in such a short time frame and I thought that the characters were really enjoyable.
  • "If It Rains" by Kristina Wojtaszek - Another definite favorite. This story was incredibly touching and I was amazed, once again, at how well-developed the characters were considering that it was a short story.  The main character's emotional journey was incredibly poignant, and I absolutely loved her romantic interest.  Highly recommend this one!
  • "Halfway From" by Shelli Cornelison - This was an interesting story - both sad and hopeful at the same time.  Again, I had a bit of a hard time connecting to the main character in this one, though, and I felt like I needed a bit more to really understand where she was coming from.
  • "Superpower" by Mary Malhotra - With a bit of mystery, "Superpower" was really intriguing.  The main character has done something terrible, but you don't know what it is at first.  Plus, she's able to hear people's thoughts - but you're never quite sure if what she's hearing is real or not, at least not until the end of the story.
  • "Valentine's Day" by Claudia Snow Classon - This story was really sweet.  I liked that the story didn't go exactly where I was expecting it to go and it left me wanting more, but not in a way that was disappointing.
  • "The H8TE" by Lilliam Rivera - A fun surprise!  Not that the story itself was fun (in fact, it was pretty sad and a bit creepy), but the genre of the story was a surprise, and I enjoyed it!
  • "How to Fall" by Kacey Vanderkarr - This was one of those stories that I felt needed just a little bit more.  That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it - I actually really did - but I felt like, if it had been just a little bit longer it could have been even more impactful.  There were also a couple of parts that confused me slightly and I had to go back and re-read in order to understand them fully.  But, overall, I did really enjoy it!
  • ***"The Chemistry of You and Me" by Evelyn Ehrlich*** - Oh. My. Goodness.  This book is worth purchasing just for this one story alone.  See all those stars?  That's because I want you to read this part (even if you skim past everything else in this review).  I loved this story that much!  Not only was it incredibly innovative in its format--the main character relates her turbulent romance to each element of the periodic table (I know, that sounds strange, but it's brilliant, trust me)--but the story just about wrecked me.  How Ehrlich managed to pack so much emotional impact into one short story, I will never know, but the result was AMAZING!  Seriously, I think I'm going to go read it again right now.
  • "Black Lacy" by Kimberly J. Kreines - I think this story suffered slightly for me because I hadn't quite come down from my emotional rollercoaster after reading "The Chemistry of You and Me."  I liked "Black Lacy," but it just didn't have a deep impact on me, despite the intense subject matter.  Still, I think if I had waited and read it at a different time, I would have connected with it more. 

So, if you're a fan of YA, then I highly recommend this anthology.  Like I said, I think that "The Chemistry of You and Me" alone makes the whole book worth buying.  Overall, I give the anthology 4.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the editor in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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