The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories
by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff
High School Carolrhoda Lab 296 pp.
10/12 978-0-7613-7527-2 $17.95
e-book ed. 978-1-4677-0007-8 $12.95
These experimental, unedited short stories showcase the many faces of horror — goth, faerie, ghostly, grotesque, lyrical, vengeful, and nasty-cool. Some clusters of tales are responses to a subject prompt like “King Arthur” or “puddles”; others are one-offs. Creatures such as vampires, dragons, and zombies are joined by original creations such as butterflies in temporary human form. The stories all tend toward the traditional structure of a surprise ending. The pieces were first published online by the three authors as an exercise in creativity and criticism, and the presentation here is innovative, incorporating critique comments, hand-written marginalia describing the writer’s process, doodles, short essays, and diagrams. The stories themselves are strong, but the apparatus can get in the way; the self-congratulatory tone of the comments wears thin, and some of the process notes (“I suck at inventing new slang”) add little to the reader’s understanding or pleasure.
From the September/October 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.