Color Outside the Lines by various authors
Release date: November 12, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Soho Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When people ask me what this anthology is about, I’m often tempted to give them the complicated answer: it’s about race, and about how being different from the person you love can matter but how it can also not matter, and it’s about Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, colonial India, a flower festival, a garden of poisons, and so, so much else. Honestly, though? I think the answer’s much simpler than that. Color outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful people in love.
—Sangu Mandanna, editor of Color outside the Lines
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: This anthology is all about love stories. For my review, I'm going to rate them from the ones I liked best to least, and give a few comments on each story. Also, I should note that Danielle Paige's and Adam Silvera's stories were not included when I got my e-galley, so I cannot review/rate them.
"The Boy Is" by Elsie Chapman - 5 stars
Needed to be just a little bit longer with more swoons because I really liked this story! It has fully-formed characters and good themes.
"The Agony of a Heart's Wish" by Samira Ahmed - 4.5 stars
I love a good historical fiction story. This one has a lovely basis in poetry and colonized nations with their heritage being erased by the British. The ending isn't what I expected from this anthology, though.
"Sandwiched in Between" by Eric Smith - 4 stars
Great story for this anthology, about navigating cultural differences and awkward family moments.
"Giving Up the Ghost" by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas - 4 stars
What a fun concept!! I liked the magical element, and the character voices were good.
"The Coward's Guide to Falling in Love" by Caroline Tung Richmond - 4 stars
Not a happy ending. Still, it's cute and earnest, like young adult fiction should be, especially when the protagonist is a sophomore.
"Five Times Shiva Met Harry" by Sangu Mandanna - 3.5 stars
A little short, somewhat simple, but it has a clear point and doesn't meander to get there. Oh, but I would've liked the British setting to be just a teeny bit clearer from the get-go.
"Gilman Street" by Michelle Ruiz Keil - 3.5 stars
This works well for a short story. Would've liked just a little more of Marco, though, since he felt a little shoehorned in at the end, but I did like him with Tam. And I appreciated the nuances of being Mexican-American that were explored.
"What We Love" by Lauren Gibaldi - 3.5 stars
This was sort of cute because I loved the nuances of the love interests' heritage, and how they got to know eachother. But also, I'm really tired of the mean girl Christian characters. So.
"Your Life Matters" by L.L. McKinney - 3 stars
This was okay. The superhero element took me by surprise, but I think I liked the story and what it said about Black Lives Matter.
"Turn the Sky to Petals" by Anna-Marie McLemore - 3 stars
Anna-Marie's story was both full of and lacking detail. Also, I'm sorry, but I'll never get on board with second-person POV.
"Faithfull" by Karuna Riazi - 3 stars
Some things about the writing were imperfect - the timeline early on, that the main character calls her mom by her first name, the lack of true grounding details. But the heart of the story was interesting.
"Yuna and the Wall" by Lydia Kang - 3 stars
I didn't really want a fantasy setting so that lessened the impact in some ways. It wasn't a bad story, though.
"Starlight and Moondust" by Lori M. Lee - 3 stars
Wasn't quite my thing, honestly. The mean girl inclusion was a little underused, and the timeline jumps too much.
"Death and the Maiden" by Tara Sim - 2 stars
This story was much too long. It also was fantasy, and I didn't really want full-on fantasy from this anthology.
Content warnings: foul language, some violence, racism and anti-Semitism, bullying
The Verdict: Semi-good but falls short like many anthologies.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Hmm probably not.