Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.
Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishers UK
Publication date: January 29, 2015
Source: eGalley approved by the publisher in exchange for honest review
A while back, I think it was about two months ago, I came across Love Hurts on a blog (don’t remember which one), and I immediately got excited. A collection of stories by authors such as Markus Zusak, Maureen Johnson, Patrick Ness and E. Lockhart? Yes, please! Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.
Admittedly, part of this is my own fault. I didn’t read the description carefully enough, and thought Love Hurts would include only original stories by all of these authors. When I read said description again on NetGalley before requesting it, I noticed it would also feature extracts from other works. However, I did not expect that out of twenty-four contributions, only seven would be original short stories and the other seventeen would be excerpts from already published novels.
While I enjoyed the short stories, I was mostly annoyed and confused by the novel excerpts. The excerpt starts somewhere in the story (start, middle or end — I don’t know) and you have no idea what has happened to these characters before or who they are. Actions and words appeared random or strange to me because I didn’t know their context. The same goes for the characters: I didn’t know their history so I didn’t care about them yet, they didn’t mean anything to me. By the time I got (more or less) into the story, it was already over. More often than not, the endings seemed extremely abrupt, which isn’t all that strange, because the story is supposed to go on still. It left me very frustrated, and often with a dislike for the story, which isn’t really fair.
Having said that, I did deeply enjoy some of the actual short stories. I absolutely loved “Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat” by David Levithan, which is about a girl called Lucy who falls in love with the mysterious new girl in school. You can see from the beginning that it isn’t going to work, and when the “relationship” does indeed end, Lucy comes to a most refreshing conclusion.
Talk about something that was ingrained. I wasn’t letting go of love or sex or the idea of companionship. I was just rejecting the package in which it was being sold to me. I was going to say it was okay to be alone, when it felt like everyone in the world was saying that it wasn’t okay to be alone, that I had to always want someone else, that the desire had to fuel me.
This made me want to dance around and sing David Levithan’s praises because it was the most true thing I’d read in a while, and definitely in this book.
All in all, Love Hurts felt more like a marketing device than anything else, really. It felt like I was supposed to want to read on after reading the excerpts, and thus feel the need to buy the book it was from. I didn’t even read three of the excerpts because they were from novels I still want to read and I didn’t want the plot to be spoiled for me. The original short stories were often wonderfully sweet or really thought-provoking (like “The Unicorn” by James Dawson), but there were only seven of those amidst so many excerpts. I would probably feel a little cheated if I had actually bought this book.