Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales / Ashley Herring Blake & Rebecca Podos, Editors / Book Review

Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales


Fifteen tales, fifteen new takes on love. They are stuck in a blizzard in the middle of a wolfsled race. They confess their love under the influence of magical malfeasance. They're an angsty artist and a preppy valedictorian secretly in love. They're a love triangle turned throuple. They're superhero arch-nemeses who might have been on the same side all along. These stories weave between fantasy and fact, our contemporary age and a space age entirely unlike our own. Popstars and space stations, fairies and coffeeshop meet-cutes: this collection has everything for those who love to love love. 


  • Imagination: These wild stories take readers all over the place. Nothing here is run-of-the-mill or boring. Each story is great on its own, and together, they work even better, wild colors and bright ideas splashing across the page. Nothing here is what you'd expect--which is exactly what these authors have promised. They really are fresh twists on familiar romantic tales.
  • Cohesive Collection: When it comes to short story collections, it can be very hard to give them a star rating. Every story is different, after all, and some are to your taste--and others most certainly not. This collection, however, works very well together. Each story has a great individual hook, and as a collection, it comes together to create something cohesively unique. Each story keeps up the momentum, the flair, the style. As a whole, this collection really works, and while many anthologies are a mixed bag, this isn't one. Because all of these work together so well that the collection, as a whole, is just great. 
  • Meet-Cutes Abound: This book is all fulfillment. It is meet-cutes and confessions of love. First kisses and young love pepper the pages. It's happily-ever-afters wrapped up in neat bundles. There's no fear in this book. There's no great concern or dark feelings. Everything works out. Everyone makes up. It's all wish fulfillment. It is fluff, but it's beautiful fluff. 


  • Secondhand Embarrassment: A problem I often have with contemporary YA romance is the secondhand embarrassment, and that embarrassment isn't missing from this collection. Luckily, not every contemporary story here is embarrassing for the characters--and not every story is contemporary. So readers don't have to sit through the whole experience being embarrassed on the characters' behalf.
  • Heavily Femme: This book has great representation all around. The love interests fall all across the spectrum and represent all kinds of attractions. Even so, this book is heavily sapphic. Especially when the first four stories were all ladies falling in love with ladies--it just felt too strongly sapphic off the bat. Though other stories came in with different representation, I just wish it had been a little more balanced. 
  • Bland Contemporary: The contemporary stories in this collection were fine. A few were great. Some were bland--if uniquely bland. While this book is full of imagination galore, these contemporary stories fell a little flat. They were cute, sure, but not often more than just "okay."



Those who enjoyed the speculative spectrum of Editor Patrice Caldwell's A Phoenix First Must Burn will love this vivid new collection. Those who appreciated the sapphic bent to familiar tales found in Emma Donoghue's Kissing the Witch will love the twists on these tales. 


Publisher: Running Press Kids
Date: December 7, 2021
Series: N/A

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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