Summer meets love in both fantasy and reality in this anthology featuring renowned writers of both teen and adult fiction.
Punk-romance regret reigns in Francesca Lia Block’s rich-yet-minimalist “Sick Pleasures,” while the pressure of making life-changing choices underlies Libba Bray’s hilarious zombie horror “Last Stand at the Cinegore,” Veronica Roth’s “Inertia,” and editor Perkins’ heart-smart “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North.” In this summer companion to Perkins’ previous winter holiday romance anthology, My True Love Gave to Me (2014), characters are universally deftly drawn, and the language is typically distinct and compelling. Repeated themes include struggling with well-being, witnessing separation or divorce, or being left by one or more parents, as well as the impacts of those experiences on building trust and new relationships. While the collection holds variety in setting and genre, as well as in sexual orientation, the racial and ethnic diversity of characters isn’t as broad as one might hope. Yet this is a star-studded lineup that doesn’t disappoint, wisely capped by Lev Grossman’s brilliant “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” in which the protagonists experience time repeating in an endless loop—until it doesn’t.
An intelligent beach read with heart, soul, and sizzle. (Short stories. 12-18)