My goal for this school year is to expand my reading horizons and try new genres to see what might inspire me that I can pass along to others. Last week I was talking to Lily, who said she was working with Courtney on a story. I just finished reading the first part of a book Lily has been working on and it’s fabulous; I can’t wait to read the next installment! Anyway, thinking about Lily and Courtney collaborating reminded me of a book that I ordered last year but forgot to read. It’s called The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories and it’s written by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff. I remembered that what drew me to the book was that it was sort of a collaboration between the three writers. When I went in the stacks to find it I realized that the authors don’t actually collaborate on the stories, but introduce and comment on their own and each others’. Even though I’ve never been a fan of short stories I was really intrigued to read these.
I have to say, these are some strange stories! They are all about mythic creatures and dreamlike lands. When I took a look at who the authors are that made perfect sense. Maggie Stiefvater has written several bestsellers, including The Scorpio Races, which is about horses that emerge from the water, The Mercy Falls trilogy, which is about werewolves and The Raven Boys, which is about a girl from a magical family who becomes involved with a group of mysterious guys from a boarding school. I read The Raven Boys last year and it was a really cool paranormal story. I had never read anything by Tessa Gratton or Brenna Yovanoff, but after reading The Curiosities I will definitely be on the lookout for their books.
Even though all of the stories in this collection share a common fanciful nature, they are very different from each other in tone, voice and length. My favorites are “The Vampire Box,” which is about a girl who befriends the vampire her father is holding captive in the basement, and “Date With a Dragon Slayer,” which is about a girl who is chosen to go on a date with a guy the night before he is slated to kill the biggest and most dangerous dragon in the land. Both of these are written by Gratton, who generally infuses a little more humor and romance into her stories than the other two.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this entire collection, my absolute favorite parts are the introductions and the notes in the margins. Steifvater, Gratton, and Yovanoff have been friends for years and it’s clear that they have been sharing their writing with each other for a long time. Each story has an introduction by its author, as well as by one of the others. The writers also comment in the margins of the stories. I loved this because it really gives a great insight into the writing process. I would recommend The Curiosities to writers and readers alike.