This lovely YA anthology holds thirteen stories all taking place during the magical hours between dusk and dawn when just about everything can happen. It was such a sweet, well-written and wonderfully inclusive collection of stories, with characters that were non-binary, bi, gay and lesbian, disabled or dealing with mental health issues and problems like how to come out when you are a superhero. It was a very solid collection with stories that were all highly entertaining, yet all very different, and all with added depths or twists and with a wonderful flow.
I really liked the unique angle to focus on a specific time for all stories, and how they all managed to give you that feeling of being the only people in the world, the magic when the familiar drops away and how the night is a time for romance and adventure. As in all anthologies there were stories that I enjoyed more than others, but they were all very well written and added something unique. I especially appreciated the diversity of the stories and how they were all so different from one another, but how they all had some angle of queer or POC representation, disabilities or mental illness. Sometime as the main part of the story, but more often as a side detail or description of the characters without making a big deal of it, which I really found refreshing. My favorites were Creature Capture by Laura Silverman, When You Bring a Dog to Prom by Anna Meriano and Under Our Masks by Julian Winters.
Creature Capture by Laura Silverman was such a sweet story about the fear of making new friends, of showing your true self and taking chances. It had such a great friendship between Abby and Curtis without any hidden feelings. A boy and a girl really can be just friends. And I loved the important message about being true to who you are and not let anyone make you feel embarrassed for not wanting the same thing as everyone else.
When You Bring a Dog to Prom by Anna Meriano was a sassy second chance story about how “heteronormative bullshit” like proms can be the perfect kind of different and make dreams come true for real. Great queer representation and a wonderful non-binary character with an emotional support dog.
Under Our Masks by Julian Winters was the cutest of them all! It was such a sweet story about how superheroes get crushes too and feel vulnerable about coming out. “I’m Raven but I’m also a boy with a crush who’s scared to disappoint his family or end up alone.”
I also really enjoyed Never Have I Ever by Karen McManus, it was such an addictive story with a twist I never saw coming, Kiss the Boy by Amanda Joy, which was a delightful story about finally being brave enough to go after your all high school crush, and the cute second chance story Old Rifts and Snowdrifts by Kayla Whaley with its strong and lovable disabled bi main character.
I also want to mention Con Nights, Parallel Hearts by Marieke Nijkamp for being such a gripping story about the scars from child abuse, about friendship and found families and about the empowerment of sharing your darkest secrets and leave them behind. I only felt that I’d wanted a little more flow in the writing style for it to be fully as gripping as it could have been.
Another story with wonderful representation that deserves a special mention was A Place to Start by Nina LaCour. This was a story about new families, with non-binary and lesbian characters, and about how something you don’t think you want could turn into the best thing when Claude’s and Jamie’s mothers get married.
All in all, this was such a delightful, fun and sweet collection of YA stories that each had their distinct flavor and were all full of surprises, adventures, twists and with amazing representation and relatable characters! Highly recommended!
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC and Algonquin Young Readers for the blog tour invitation for this wonderful book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
4.5 dazzling stars rounding up to 5
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez