Strongest YA paranormal anthology I've read
Pulling together thirteen short stories by authors both new and well-known in the young adult genre, KISS ME DEADLY: 13 TALES OF PARANORMAL LOVE broadly covers the subject, including stories about vampires, faeries, ghosts, zombies, unicorns, and mythological gods.
Compared to other paranormal romance anthologies, KISS ME DEADLY is the strongest I've read so far. In addition to being a great way to sample the writing style of thirteen different authors, this collection excels in its inclusion of a wide diversity of paranormal creatures, the length of the stories, and the overall writing quality. Of the thirteen stories, I enjoyed eight of them, which is a higher proportion than I usually experience with an anthology. Among the stories, standouts included Karen Mahoney's "The Spirit Jar" about a grieving djinn and the vampire that helps him, Justine Musk's "Lost" about a girl's connection to the dead and the otherworld she's never known, Carrie Ryan's "Hare Moon" about a young nun in the Forest of Hands and Teeth and her internal battle between tradition and love, Maggie Stiefvater's "The Hounds of Ulster" about two lifelong friends and the unearthly woman who comes between them, and Daniel Waters' "Many Happy Returns" about parental love that never dies, even when a child does. While I was already a huge fan of Ryan and Stiefvater, this volume gave me two to three new authors to follow. Many people may also enjoy that six of the stories are linked to authors' existing works. At the very reasonable cover price of $9.95, this collection can't be beaten for quality for the price.
However, like any anthology, there were weak stories mixed in among the outstanding ones. Five stories fell flat for me, and outside of the stories noted above, even the other enjoyable ones didn't stick with me for very long. Very few of the entries were love stories in the traditional sense, which may be misleading to some readers based on the subtitle of the book. Multiple editing or typo errors also popped up in one story that was otherwise strong, and a word was missing in the blurb on the back cover. Both instances had me wishing for a more careful editor.
Even with these flaws, KISS ME DEADLY now ranks as the best young adult paranormal anthology I've read. Hopefully, other publishers will put out volumes similar to it, especially those that look outside vampires to include other creatures and mythologies like this book did. If you're looking for something similar until then, I would recommend LOVE IS HELL.