A short story collection that illustrates the multitudes of girlhood, womanhood, and magic.
The 16 stories in this anthology let readers traverse many worlds, from a puritanical religious community in 17th-century New England in “Afterbirth” by Andrea Cremer to the 1970s South of “The Legend of Stone Mary” by Robin Talley and the modern-day social media–laden landscape of “Starsong” by Tehlor Kay Mejia. The contributors include many top names in young adult literature, including Nova Ren Suma, Zoraida Córdova, and Anna-Marie McLemore. In “Starsong,” Esperanza Luna Mendoza Stevens offers magical advice to people via social media and flirts with another girl, a NASA-loving skeptic, through direct messaging. In “The Truth About Queenie” by Brandy Colbert, black teen Queenie is afraid to use her powers to heal after her unwitting casting of a spell results in a terrible tragedy. Shveta Thakrar’s “The Moonapple Menagerie” opens with a few lines from Yeats, the perfect complement to her lyrical, South Asian–infused story of a small coven and a terrible bargain. Several stories explore sexual assault, and one addresses the effects of emotional abuse on a family. There are also stories with LGBT content, including one that features a nonbinary character. A couple of stories resort to the white default, but this powerful and diverse collection is perfect for fans of female-led fantasy stories.
No damsels in distress to be found here. (author bios) (Fantasy. 14-18)