I was lucky enough to be given a free ARC of this novel, thanks to NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
overall rating: 4/5
This review has only taken me the better part of the month to write because every single time I sat down to write book reviews…well, I had assessments to complete, placement to stress over and sleep to catch up on.
On the Edge of Seventeen is a young adult anthology with stories from Cara McKinnon, M.T. DeSantis, A. E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Mary Rogers and Kylie Weisenborn. It’s a collection which intends to depict the chaotic transition into adulthood. Not only does it do so with magic and superpowers, but at its core, it deals with significant issues of sexuality, gender, identity and of course, love at the edge of seventeen.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this anthology – it’s quite short (only 172 pages on the eBook version) – but there are some stories that I found two-dimensional with no real depth. Although I completely understand the fact that these stories are significantly short, there were some that really were incredible, and others that fell short. It is completely doable to make an intriguing, awesome, kick-ass read within a short word limit.
As there were six short stories within this anthology, I’ll write a brief review on each. However, I will not provide a synopsis of each story, as I really do not want to accidentally give spoilers!
M.T. DeSantis – “Be Null, My Heart”
We have super powers! Emma was born into a superhero family with superhero threats – but, she also goes to high school like a normal seventeen-year-old. I have to say the writing, the flow, the overall plot-line of this short story was absolutely incredible,! It was a refreshing narrative that reminded my of a mix between The Incredibles and Sky High. The only aspect I’ll have to critique for this story, was that I felt that the character development could have been handled with more depth. Honestly, I just wanted more!
A. E. Hayes – “Her First Fever”
I would have to say that Her First Fever would be on of my favourite stories from this anthology, alongside Be Null, My Heart. Mainly because the chemistry between Johnny and Madeline was too adorable and written in such a beautiful way that I was entranced – even though it was ‘insta-love’, which is a trope that I do not really enjoy – but I adored it! Especially the way in which Johnny was written; I have to day that he was such an intriguing character and one that was inherently interesting. The writing and the plot-line was wonderful and I wish there would be a full-length novel. One criticism, however, would be that I didn’t really feel any sort of connection with the main protagonist, Madeline, and I felt that her character could have been explored better – however, the limitation of constructing a short story is the fact that there is not significant room for authors to explore such aspects of the story.
Serena Jayne – “Dead Man’s Party”
Magic. Zombies. This story was a wild ride and I enjoyed every minute of it. The story was intriguing, the character development was done well and the overall flow of the narrative was wonderfully done. To be honest, the relationship and dynamic between Xander and Shay was beautifully written and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Cara McKinnon – “Three Jagged Pieces”
I adored how McKinnon wrote about issues concerning gender and sexuality identity and it definitely was a refreshing take on the old ‘love triangle’ trope. I found that each character, Ava, Noah and Sam were wonderfully written and done so with respect and love. However, I have such a violent reaction against love triangle-esque plot-lines, even ones with this sort of story-line. I find that there I lose interest in such stories – especially when there’s multiple perspectives. But somehow, this story kept my attention and I ended up loving it.
Mary Rogers – “The Crayon Thief”
The Crayon Thief was a such a fun read. Rogers definitely knows how to keep her audience immersed within her story by providing a depth to the characters and to the narrative itself which had me emotionally invested with the characters. I was a bit suspicious about Randall (a.k.a Mr Popular) – but I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I wish I was able to read more.
Kylie Weisenberg – “Now I Am”
Another case of insta-love. I have to admit that the premise of the story was intriguing. Anna is a ghost who is in love with the very-alive Carter – what could possible go wrong? I enjoyed reading about Anna’s reality; in that, she is a ghost who is clearly moving around the realm of the living. To be honest, I found it incredibly lonely – and I believe that Weisenberg touched on this briefly. However, I found the execution of the story quite underwhelming. Insta-love, for me, can be hit-or-miss. I felt myself losing interest in this story every time Anna mentioned Carter as ‘the boy she loved’. Girl, really? I felt that there was literally no chemistry between the two love interests and most importantly, it felt forced. I really believe though, that if this was a full-length novel, that it would have been an incredible read as it would have allowed the time for a relationship to naturally develop and create that romantic and emotional element that was missing from the short story.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this anthology to lovers of YA romance! It was a collection that highlighted different themes which, at its core, illustrated the sometimes chaotic nature of young adulthood.
That’s all folks! I have to upload one more review sometime this week, so be on the lookout for that!
Until next time! Happy reading!