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Defy the Dark

(Across the Universe 0.7 (Night Swimming))

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  636 ratings  ·  113 reviews
The seventeen original stories in Defy the Dark, an eerie, mind-bending YA anthology, could only take place in darkness.
Open the pages and discover: A creepy guy who stares too long. The secrets of the core of the earth. Dreams of other people’s lives. A girl who goes mad in the darkness. Monsters in Bavaria. A generational spaceship where night doesn’t exist. And other m
Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by HarperTeen
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3.64  · 
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 ·  636 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Not a bad little collection of stories. Some stories are disturbing, others creepy. We had modern tales, medieval fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian, science fiction and more in this book! If it has to do with darkness or nighttime it could be in hear. Many of the stories leave you with a feeling of wondering what happened as you use your imagination to fill in the blanks.

So here are my thoughts (briefly) for each story.

Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers
The main character stalks her ex-boyfriend who
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
I received this book as a gift. It's not something I would have picked up on my own, as none of the authors featured number among my favorites.

This collection of short stories was an easy, quick read despite the page count. I skipped a couple of the stories and skimmed others. I only liked a handful of them. My favorites were "The Dark Side of the Moon" by Dia Reeves and "Stillwater" by Valerie Kemp.
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An interesting collection of short stories that I enjoyed but would never read again.

Opening Sentence: Jed Miller is a sleepwalker.

The Review:

Defy the Dark is collection of seventeen stories written by various authors. For the most part they all feature something to do with darkness. Many of the stories are on the scary side, there are also a few paranormal ones, and one dystopian one as well. It was a unique blend of mostly interesting litt
3.5 stars, most of the stories are descent.

Thoughts about the short stories within the book:

Nature by Aprilynne Pike

Read the first few pages then gave up. Eventually I skimmed to get to the last page of this story, only to find in a dystopian future society, everything is alright because the MC found true love with a boy who showed interest in her!

Totally not amused. 0 star.

Ghost Town by Malinda Lo

It's a nice LGTB paranormal YA short story, the MC isn't an idiot, and I like it. 5 stars.

"The Sunf
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
*Rating* 3-3.5
*Genre* Young Adult


When I heard that this book was being released, I decided to join the Defy The Dark's mini blog tour and agreed to post my honest thoughts on the stories, and the book itself. There are many different authors that I have followed or have read (1) or more of their works, that I had to see if this was worth the effort to read. I have decided to break down each story individually, instead of at a whole, so that you can see which one's I really liked, and whi
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Sleepstalk: ✮✮✮
This was a twisted little story that revolved around a young girl stalking someone, as the title eludes to. It was a decent book, but I couldn't stand the girl, because she was very disturbing, and her thoughts were pretty twisted. All in all, not a bad story.

Nature: ✮✮✮
I enjoyed Nature, it was amazing and a fast read... and not at all scary or dark in any way. Nature takes place in the future in a post-apocalyptic world... the setting is the only thing "dark" about this story. It
The Reading Raccoon
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Like all short story collections this had a mixed bag of some 2,3 and 4 star reads. I gave it a 3 as average. My favorites were by Courtney Summers, Carrie Ryan and Tessa Gratton.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally at:

DEFY THE DARK was one of my very anticipated reads of June, and I only hadn’t recommended it before because I wasn’t sure how you went about recommending an anthology. Here’s what I concluded, though:

Read it.


DFD was an amazing collection of short stories from an even better line-up of authors. I can honestly say I read them all in one night and loved them. That’s not to say that I didn’t have my favorites oh i did and so I’ll use them
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Rate this a 4 I did read two books out of this book. I only brought it so I can read Almost Normal that went with the other short stories to forest of hands and teeth. I mean I wanted to read the other stories but I got bored! So anyways I'll rate this for almost normal which I enjoyed that book and for the first book that was in the beginning of the book it was something about sleepwalking I did enjoyed that even though it was mad short and I wanted that boy to wake up and see her for goodnes
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prequel to Forest of Hands and Teeth - but based on the setting being the amusement park, I think it's a prequel to book 2: The Dead-Tossed Waves

and I loved it. I really did! It's so crazy to read these stories from before or as the zombies are coming and then to read the actual books about after they've come and how they've lived with them.

this is a great addition to the series and I'm glad I read it!
This is the best anthology I've ever read.

That wasn't something I was expecting. Sure, it has two authors I enjoy, but it also has a few that I don't, and the premise... wasn't great, exactly. But this book fortunately surprised me, by offering some of the most consistently good short stories I've ever read, trumping my previous favorite, Geektastic. It's also one of only two anthologies where I didn't DNF a single story. So, here's a story by story review.

Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers: 4/5
Kaleena Melotti
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Defy the Dark is a collection of sixteen short stories all by different authors. They're all stories of what happens when you're in the dark, but vastly different writing styles and genres. I don't quite know how to rate/review a collection of stories. Some I loved, some I didn't, and some I just... didn't get, I guess? So, rather than give a detailed review of each (they're short... I don't want to give anything away), I'm going to give a snippet of my thoughts on each.

Intro by Saundra Mitchell
GENRE: YA Paranormal
THEME: Romance, Magic, Paranormal, and Science Fiction
RECEIVED: Epic Reads

I haven’t read or reviewed many anthologies before and to me it’s hard to pinpoint everything without spoiling too much. I’m going to try my best and give an idea of what I enjoyed about each one and hopefully it will help recommend some great story telling. At the beginning it does mentioned that there was a contest for a new author to debut their story in
Laurie Treacy
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I first have to begin my review by stating I have grown to love reading anthologies. Not only do these collections provide readers the opportunity to discover new writers, the shorter works are fabulous when we don't have time to read an entire novel. Plus, I enjoy the variety of works and diverseness of subject matter made available. Defy the Dark contains an amazing array of stories, some I loved and others I liked. I'm on an anthology kick now--I'm reading Shards and Ashes (dystopian YA). Her ...more
Kim Maule
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a big fan of this collection of short stories. There were several "new to me" authors whose other work I'm now determined to track down. In the interest of not spoiling any of stories, I'm not going to provide summaries of each one, just my own overall impressions.

Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers

This was seriously creepy and a great start to an anthology about darkness. I love everything Courtney Summers writes, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this.

Nature by Aprilynne Pike

This was my fi
La Coccinelle
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Defy the Dark offers seventeen (I don't know why the synopsis says sixteen) short stories that all involve things that happen in the dark. I wasn't sure what to expect, genre-wise, from this collection. It's actually a mixed bag: contemporary, science fiction, fantasy, historical...

It's difficult to review and rate a book when it's written by seventeen different people. So I thought I'd share a little bit of my reaction to each story in the collection:

"Sleepstalk" by Courtney Summers - This is a
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at Mhairi Reads

Defy the Dark is an anthology of stories set under the cover of darkness. Written by seventeen Young Adult authors, the stories cover a wide variety of genres, including dystopia, horror, paranormal, romance and crime. I picked this one up for two reasons:

1. It features stories by my perrenial favourites Sarah Rees Brennan and Carrie Ryan.

2. It has a super pretty cover and I am a total sucker for those.

In addition to some great standalone pieces, Defy the Dark al
Three stars for the stories I loved. I tried, but I couldn’t rate it any higher. In order of appearance:

Sleepstalk (Courtney Summer) – Contemporary – I found the narration a little strange, but once I got into it, I really liked it. The point of view character was very disturbed in a very good way, and the author managed to keep her motives hidden until the very end.

Nature (Aprilynne Pike) – Science Fiction/Dystopian – This isn’t something I would read in novel form, so I was surprised by how mu
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fun, as these YA anthologies typically are! Some of the stories are more my thing than other. The "dark" element brought out a lot of Stephen King-for-kiddies, and I didn't like those as much as I liked the other stories that were less creepy/gross.

Here are the stories I LOVED:
Stillwater by Valerie Kemp
I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Shadowed by Christine Johnson
Now Bid Time Return by Saundra Mitchell
Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce

Honorary mentions g
Emelie 🦉
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
It was a really fast paced book even if it almost 500 pages! A book with 17 short stories about to defy the dark (duh?!)

My favorites were:
- ghost town - Malinda Lo
- night swimming - Beth Revis
- the sunflower murders - Kate Espey
- naughty or nice - Myra McEntire and
- now bid time return - Saundra Mitchell
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I know the title is Defy the Dark, but a good deal of these stories were about living in the darkness! Lots of creepy books, a lot with no real happy endings, but oh, well, really great short stories, loved reading them!
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To short again :( but I did enjoyed it though I already figured Bart was going to die and turn into a zombie. Hard headed people or know it all never listen
black lamb
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
First of all: Overall, I greatly enjoyed this anthology. There were a few duds, but overall the stories, even if they didn't engage me and weren't really what I was interested in, were interesting and well-written. There were a couple stories I was absolutely thrilled to discover, and a few that I rolled my eyes at so hard they nearly rolled right out of my skull. I'm going to go over the highlights only, since there are like seventeen short stories in this and that's too many to go in-depth on ...more
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: cs-rec
Read Courtney Summer's story.
Nature by Aprilynne Pike - So cute! I loved the society she created and the romance made it so awesome! Two super smart people who have been screwed over (and made more attractive) by genetics! 4.5/5

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp - I liked this story. It felt mysterious and well developed at the same time, if that makes any sense. And I liked the hopeful feel to it. I would love a full novel based on the world of this story! 4.25/5

The Moth and the Spider by Sarah Ockler - I liked this story. It felt
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until recently, I haven’t been one for short stories. I felt they left too much unsaid, ended too soon, and/or just didn’t satisfy me the way a larger work can. Then I read a few recent anthologies, starting with Enthralled. That is the one that started this. I fell in love with short stories then, and have read a few anthologies since – being quite eager to be part of blog tours that involve these tomes. I have been mostly rewarded. Before I talk about Defy the Dark as a whole, I thought I’d no ...more
Trinity Casey
I got this book as an ebook, which I usually don't read, but I was going out of the country for two weeks and didn't want to bring a bunch of paper books which would add a lot of weight to my luggage. Despite it being in a format that I'm not fond of, I really enjoyed it.


I went into this book thinking all the stories would be horror or thriller and some were. However, those that weren't I still loved and think about to this day.

I absolutely loved some of the stories
I was torn on how to rate this book. Some of the stories were really enjoyable. A few of them confused me, though, or really seriously annoyed me, and so I can't give it an overall great rating. Here's a breakdown author by author, in order:
Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers--read like a convincing glimpse into the mind of a violent stalker. obviously quite disturbing reading because of this, but I thought it was well done.
Nature by Aprillyn Pike--I loved the initial concept of the story, and was r
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this up for a Halloween read, because of the Sarah Rees Brennan story. So far, I have read her story, "I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon", and the editor, Saundra Mitchell's story, "Now Bid Time Return". Both have elements of the dark and spooky, but also the romantic and hopeful. To say nearly anything about either story would be to divulge massive spoilers, since they are short stories. Either one would have made a good full length novel though, and I would definitely recomm ...more
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Saundra Mitchell is the author of SHADOWED SUMMER, THE VESPERTINE, THE SPRINGSWEET, THE ELEMENTALS and MISTWALKER. In non-fiction, she’s the author of the THEY DID WHAT!? series for middle grade readers. She’s also the editor of the YA anthology DEFY THE DARK. IN 2018, HarlequinTEEN will publish her next anthology, ALL OUT.

Writing as Jessa Holbrook, she published her first romantic contemporary YA

Other books in the series

Across the Universe (3 books)
  • Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
  • A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)
  • Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)
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