A friend sent me this book as a birthday gift, and when I opened it, I wasn’t sure what exactly had made them pick it out: the fact that I had recently been raving about one of the authors, the fact that the whole book was littered in hand-written notes between snarky writer friends, or the fact that there are vampires in the description.
All of the above makes this my kind of book, though I still picked it up with some trepidation. I often find short story collections stressful to read, because I have a difficult time managing expectations for twenty distinct pieces of fiction in such a short amount of space. There’s a repeated emotional-buy in for me, and, at best, it’s tiring. At worst, it’s a little like deciding to play poker with my rent money and realizing I’ve picked the wrong table to sit down at. (Oh boy, do I take my fiction seriously…)
It took me about a week to get through the first third of this book. At that point, it completely stopped being stressful. By then, I had read several pieces by all three of the authors, and I knew what I was getting into. I read the last two thirds in three days, enjoying the book thoroughly.
Some of the stand-out stories for me included:
- A vampire caged in the basement for luck
- Boys who light things on fire
- Girls who punch people unexpectedly
- Secret murder
- Lancelots who spit
- Boys who steal pain and store it away for later use
- Robots made from butterflies who maybe should not have been made from butterflies
- Robots who did not know they were robots, who maybe should have been told before you freaked them out by plugging them in
- Several hearts in boxes, some of them kinder than others
- Fires that can’t be put out, but spread like… (I’ll just not finish that and save us both from rolling our eyes)
- Not-so-secret murder
If you are a writer, or a reader who enjoys seeing how writers think, or think that you can use any of the things mentioned above in your life, I suggest you pick up this book.
Also, it has diagrams. Like the one that proves that some writer’s hearts are half cookie dough, and one quarter swearing.