Great way to sample YA paranormal authors, 3.5 stars
LOVE IS HELL is a neat little anthology composed of five paranormal romances from five popular young adult authors: Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz. The stories include a tension-filled romance about a ghost with unfinished business, a futuristic perfect world where hormones and sleep are turned off, and a seal faery's struggle with the two tugs on his heart, the sea and his mortal love. (Plus two more tales.)
Reading this anthology was a great way to sample each author's work, and I enjoyed four of the five stories. Each tale had a distinct beginning, middle and end, even though they were short. I was most impressed with Marr's "Love Struck" and Larbalestier's "Thinner Than Water." Both of these stories featured faeries and strong female protagonists. I could have easily enjoyed a novel-length story about each setting and the characters that were created.
Westerfield's futuristic tale about a world where sleep isn't needed and the ups and downs of teenage hormones are suppressed was interesting with likeable characters. With a short story, though, there wasn't as much time as I would have liked to become comfortable with the brave new world he created for his characters. Stolarz's tale about a romance between girl and ghost was nice but predictable. Zevin's tale about the blur between fantasy and reality was the one story that I did not enjoy. The author tried to make what seemed like an obvious point about the potentially dangerous blur between the two, but I didn't feel that the story was well-executed.
Overall, this book was a great way to check out new authors and a nice way to finish each evening with a complete story each night before bed!