Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my review or rating.
Instead of doing a review of all of the stories (15 of them) I am only going to review the four that I really enjoyed and gave 5 stars to. Everything else was a case of me going what did I just read, or feeling as if the story in question had too many holes or was incomplete in some way. All together I gave a collection a solid three stars. That is usually the way with anthologies unless the majority of the stories area home run.
Here is a list of the stories in this collection:
Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer
The Heart in Her Hands by Tess Sharpe
Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith
The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert
The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar
The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley
The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma
Divine Are the Stars by Zoraida Córdova
Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff
The Well Witch by Kate Hart
Beware of Girls with Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood
Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore
The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord
The Only Way Back by Tristina Wright
Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May
My four favorites are:
Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer. This takes place in the 1600s in New England. An apprentice to a midwife is witnessed to a strange birth with a lot of details leaking out that this birth was not a result of the woman in question having sex with the devil, but more like with the master of the house. This is a great callback to the Salem Witch trials and since I just read a book about Salem, this story was uppermost in my mind while reading it.
The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert. Ugh. I wanted more. I was so ready to slap the dude in this story. So we have a story about a family of witches who are African American. The main character, is dealing with a lot of guilt we find because she believes (and is probably right) she threw a hex on a former friend who was bullying the love interest in this story. We also have her dealing with the fact that the boy in question is in love with someone else. When someone needs healing, he comes to her and asks for her help.
The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord. Touches not only upon magic, but about mental and physical abuse. Reading about this family who love each other and won't let one of the daughters/sister disappear with a man that they know can and will hurt her. It was lovely.
Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May. You will cry. You will rage. This is a great short story that feels like it was written in response to the Women's March as well as kind of companion to "A Handmaid's Tale". Considering what is in the news cycle right now you will think that Elizabeth May has a damn crystal ball. Going into why men would want to lock these teen girls up and not allow them to live is soul shaking. That all of the girls are punished for using their real names and then whisper them to each other at night.
“Here’s how to fulfill a prophecy: you are a woman, you speak the truth, and the world makes you into a liar.”