Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Love Hurts, Malorie Blackman

Pages: 576
Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Release Date: 29th January 2015

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers 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, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

A collection of stories about love of all kinds from YAs top authors – sounds perfect, right? It missed the mark for me.

At nearly 600 pages, Love Hurts should be cram-packed full of wonder, but in the entire book there are only six original short stories; the rest is extracts! I’m personally not a huge fan of extracts and most of the ones in this collection are from books I’ve either read or already know I’m not that fussed by, but the variety in them is wonderful. Full diversity in character, author, theme, style and protagonist is displayed and I think that Love Hurts is more for a YA newbie than a seasoned reader. I can imagine someone new to YA picking this up, reading the extracts and stories and then devouring each novel and author in the book in turn. But as I only read the short stories, here’s what I thought:

I enjoyed this one, but I didn’t love it. It was sweet, original and eye-opening (Amber is blind and has synaesthesia) but I’m still waiting to fall in love with Malorie Blackman’s writing – my brain must be wired differently to ever other fan of YA!

This story is a fangirl’s dream story. Sherlock, fandom, falling in love with a like-minded soul over the internet and meeting them living up to every expectation. Tumbling is a really sweet story with a POC heroine and LGBT relationship that will resonate with every internet dweller out there.

I love Laura Dockrill. She’s extremely talented with characters and humour and this story of a transgender teen working up the courage to come out to her best friend and everyone in school. It’s a soft, quiet story of strength and friendship and it really showed off Dockrill’s talents.

I’ve actually read this story before – it’s featured in Levithan’s collection How We Met and Other Stories and I liked it just as much the second time around. As always, Levithan delivers frank, honest and often brutal feelings with a hefty punch.

Honestly, I didn’t read this one. I got a page in and skipped ahead. It was linked to Luce and Daniel from her Fallen series.

This is the most surprising story in the collection, in my opinion. Set in 19th Century London, Catherien Johnson explores race, class, love, betrayal and revenge and delivers a shocking twist in only a few pages. I’m definitely interested in seeking out more from this author.

I loved this story. I was really glad to end the book on it. Told in retrospective, Reg looks back to the 60s and his time in the Navy where he fell in love with Frankie. It’s a sad story full of longing and impending heartbreak – forbidden relationships with serious consequences and a lost love that haunts him forever. Gorgeous. My favourite in the collection.

So if you have a budding YA fan in your midst, Love Hurts is for you.

Thanks to NetGalley and RHCP for the review copy.



  1. I see a lot of other book bloggers giving this book negative comments and reviews but to be fair, like you said, I don't think this book is aimed at us. We're avid readers. It's likely we've already read most of the authors and books included in this anthology. But a lot of young people have no idea where to turn when picking up the next book. So I kind of love that Malorie Blackman is using her influence to say 'looking for a good read? I recommend all the books and authors in this anthology' And the diversity included in this book is amazing. POC, loads of LGBT story lines, different abilities. And the original short stories are amazing. And it got me to read both How They Met AND Grasshopper Jungle off the back of reading these extracts.

  2. It's a shame you didn't enjoy this. I was looking forward to buying it but might think twice now. It might be a better purchase for the school library I work in, as an introduction to YA literature, or for students who aren't sure quite what they feel like reading. It's a great scheme for the Children's Laureate to organise. She has been doing loads for YA, which is fantastic to see.


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