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Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

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Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

368 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author


5 books4,124 followers
Amerie is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, and writer. The daughter of a Korean artist and an African-American military officer, Amerie was born in Massachusetts and raised all over the world, and she graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s in English. She is the editor of New York Times bestseller Because You Love to Hate Me, and is the founder of Amerie’s Book Club, a book club that highlights diverse and unique perspectives and voices. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.

Watch Amerie's Book Club videos here.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,150 reviews · 97.7k followers
September 20, 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy is a short story anthology that was curated and edited by the amazing, and so very talented, Ameriie. Seriously, Ameriie is an angel and I'm so thankful that she put this anthology together. I completely believe this collection will appeal to so many readers. I mean, these stories surround villains and their often misunderstood back stories, and then throw in some amazingly talented and popular authors, and then some of the most popular Booktubers around right now, and you truly have something different that many YA readers can appreciate and get excited over. It's honestly genius and a great way to celebrate reading and the literary community in general.

There is a lot of controversy about whether or not these Booktubers "deserved" to get published, and I'm not here to start a war over that, but I will say that these people put a lot of work into their videos and have been doing it long enough to get pretty substantial followings. This book is going to sell a lot of copies, and for that alone it makes sense that they "deserve" to be published. I mean, capitalism exists in the book world, too.

I know many Booktubers don't read as much as the average reviewer and I know many want to write their own books. I also know many people in the book community are upset the Booktubers don't read the ARCs they are sent and I know many people dislike their paid promotions. I see these things, I truly do. But guess what? These Booktubers are human beings, who read your hurtful words, and are just accepting opportunities that the publishers are giving them. If you don't like them, unsubscribe to them. If you don't like their writing or their books then write a review saying why you don't like their writing or their books.

Also, you all have free will. You don't have to pick this book up. I'm a firm believer in "speaking with your money/wallet" and no one is making you support these people. And let's be real, most the people who are complaining about this, will be complaining about people speaking up against harmful representation tomorrow. It's okay to bash on Booktubers who don't "deserve" to be published, but God forbid someone write a review on a book they've never read about how people from that culture are saying that the representation hurts their people.

Lastly, most Booktubers are aware of their privilege, and some of the people on this list use their platform for good discussions that I wish the book community would actually listen to. You guys know I always give my honest opinion, and you know I will with this review, too. I'm not going to judge the Booktubers I love and subscribe to differently than the Booktuber I'm not the biggest fan of. Also, I'll even give you guys full disclosure on the Booktubers I love in my break down of each story.

Overall, this was actually a pretty strong anthology and it held a lot of really good stories that I would completely recommend, especially if you are a fan of these authors. Maybe it impressed me because I had my expectations set so low, but I truly closed this book happy that I read it.

My Favorite Story: Marigold by Samantha Shannon
My Favorite Prompt: Zoë Herdt's (readbyzoe)
My Favorite Essay: The Bad Girls' Guide to Villainy by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy at Cuddlebuggery

With every anthology that I review I break down and rate each story individually. I just want to preface this breakdown by saying that I will be critiquing these stories and prompts and these essays. I also gushed a little bit about a couple of my personal favorite Booktubers. I'm sorry if I didn't enjoy something that your favorite Booktuber prompted or that your favorite author wrote, but I hope you still respect my opinion(s) and understand that everyone has different tastes, especially with reading. I broke down and reviewed each story individually, while also giving each story its own star rating, and I gave my personal thoughts on every prompt.

Also, if you'd prefer to go into the anthology completely blind and unaware of any of the prompts, please do not continue reading any further. I won't be giving any spoilers or anything like that, but while reading this book, the prompts come after you've read the story! So, again, you should not read this break down if you want your reading experience to be a complete surprise!

The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh - ★★
• Prompt and The Evil Vaccine: Keep the Darkness at Bay by Christine Riccio at PolandbananasBOOKS

I was really disheartened that this was the start to this anthology, because I really didn't enjoy this story at all. I mean, if I could get a full length story about this world I would probably read it, but I just personally feel that it didn't make for that great of a short story. This story is about a boy, who is forced to sit by the sidelines and watch his sixteen year old sister get ready to one day rule. He obviously doesn't like that and wishes that he could change the future he is destined to only watch from the sidelines. I'll be honest, I really disliked the prompt and I even thought her essay thing was trying way too hard to be funny and it felt so forced and ended up being really unfunny. Also, making jokes and/or light hearted fun about vaccination just kind of feels bad anyways. Renée Ahdieh's beautiful writing did shine through, and for that I gave it two stars, but I honestly did not enjoy this story what so ever. The best part was that it takes place in a matriarchal society. Also, I honestly and truthfully hate the Beatles.

Jack by Ameriie - ★★★
• Prompt and Giants and Tyrants by Tina Burke at Lushables

This story was better than the first and I loved Amerrie's writing. Tina Burke's idea to use a real life historical figure villain with an old classic fairy tale villain was beyond wonderful and so creative! I also loved Tina's very thoughtful and informative part at the end. Her closing section was seriously one of the best in this entire book, and I loved reading it as much as I loved reading the story. This story is a never before seen take on Jack and the Beanstalk and it, too, does not disappoint. Amerrie wrote a completely captivating story that even made me laugh a few times.

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani - ★★★
• Prompt and The Bad Girl Hall of Fame by Samantha Lane at Thoughts on Tomes

You guys need to understand that I tried really hard not to be biased here, but I love Sam! Like, she is such a bright shining light in this community, and I'm not sure what the book world has done to deserve her. Plus, she's such a strong woman, whose aesthetic is beyond words, who loves video games, isn't afraid to be critical of what's popular, calls out problematic things, and is such an amazing analyst of books in general. Plus, when I think of book reviewers that love villains, I think of Sam. I knew her prompt was going to be nothing short of amazing. And her final thoughts with social media posts and comments were nothing short of brilliant. Her prompts spoke to me and my likes on every level and I am so happy for her and proud of her.

Also, this story was amazing. Just know, if you like or are just familiar with Arthurian legends about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table you are going to enjoy this. And everyone knew that this would have Hades and Persephone elements because of Sam. Yet, I also would recommend this short story if you are a fan of Illuminae, because Soman Chainani has created an amazing story just in multimedia format via IMs. I know I gushed a lot about Sam, but Soman's story unique and really enjoyable to read! Also, his villain was the perfect amount of grey that I'm always looking for.

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard - ★★★
• Prompt and Dear Sasha, the 411 for Villains by Sasha Alsberg at abookutopia

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Sasha. She just genuinely seems like such a little sweetheart to me, and she's one of the few Booktubers on this list that I genuinely am excited for and want to read her published work. Also, her prompt was short, simple, and perfect.

This story just feels bad. Like, if Susan Dennard would have just wrote a Sherlock and Watson gender-bent love story people would have lost it and completely loved this. Instead she gender bends Sherlock and Watson so they can gush about Moriarty? Like, she could have just, you know, left Sherlock and Watson boys, and had Sherlock gush over Moriarty and people would have loved that too. Instead, we get this bad feeling, pointless gender-bend modern day version of Sherlock Holmes. It is extra sad, because this short story was pretty addicting. Also, it's beautifully written, but it just feels so bad thinking of what could have been.

The Blessings of Little Wants by Sarah Enni - ★★★★
• Prompt and Will the Real Villain Please Stand Up? by Sophia Lee at thebookbasement

This story was so good. The prompt and the story were close to perfection. This story is about two witches that are trying to save magic. Half way through, these two characters were sitting in their common room, surrounded by books, I thought I was reading a much darker version of some kind of side quest in Harry Potter. Seriously, this short story is amazing.

Also, I already said Sophia's prompt was perfection, but her essay at the end was what I wish everyone's essay was like. It was informative, while making me think, and even pulled at my heartstrings a little bit. And I, too, want to know all of the things Sophia wants to know upon finishing this short story. Like, I hope they pair up again and give me at least a novella about Sigrid and the consequences of her choices.

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer - ★★★★★
• Prompt and Villain or Hero? You Decide! by Zoë Herdt at readbyzoe

The only complaint I have about this short story is that I wish it was a full length novel. Marissa Meyer is the queen of fairy-tale retellings for a reason, and Zoë was so very smart to give her an inspiration that plays to her strength. This book is a take on the sea witch from The Little Mermaid and it was everything I could have asked for and more. This short story also talks about loneliness in the face of only wanting love, and then betrayal when you only wanted to be accepted. Perfect villain, perfect messages, perfect story. Like, if you're a fan of Marissa Meyer, this short story is a must read.

Also, Zoë is so sweet. How can anyone not love her? And her essay was so amazing as well. She really talked about a side of her life that I think so many people can relate to, even though I believe she is nothing close to a coward. I also loved her quiz, even though I ended up being a villain!

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon - ★★★★★
• Prompt and Without the Evil in the World, How Do We See the Good? by Benjamin Alderson at Benjaminoftomes

TW: Rape (very minor and nothing graphic, but it is there.)

This story was also perfection. I love the discussion on beauty standards and expectations, while even touching on the expectations of young girls to remain virginal. Also, this story probably has the most evil villain in this entire anthology, and the twist was so beautiful and nothing you'd expect in a Medusa remake. Also, now I want to read everything Cindy Pon has written.

I also am a pretty big fan of Ben, and his prompt was exactly what I wanted and expected from this anthology. Ben broke down different elements of the story and talked about some of his favorite parts. I wish all the Booktubers did this, instead of their "creative" things, because this flowed so well and just highlighted Cindy Pon's story, while adding a great perspective.

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab - ★★★★★
• Prompt and Dear Death by Jesse George at JessetheReader

I had a pretty good feeling that VE Schwab would write one of the best stories in this anthology, no matter what her prompt was, and she didn't disappoint. Her story made me so unexpectedly emotional, too. Like, I had tears on my cheeks through the entirety of this short story. I actually think this could be my favorite thing that VE Schwab has ever written. Seriously, if you're a fan of her beautiful and mesmerizing writing, read this short story.

Jesse's essay ended up hitting really close to home for me, too. It was really impactful and showed a vulnerable side of him that I really appreciated, especially surrounding the topic of death. I loved both parts of this collaboration.

Marigold by Samantha Shannon - ★★★★★
• Prompt and Evil Revealed by Regan Perusse at PeruseProject

Okay, I know I've handed out a ton of five stars in a row, but this short story felt like it was written for me. Her prompt had to do with a folklore story about a fae queen that kidnaps young girls in nineteenth-century London. If you follow my reviews, you know that this screams "Melanie"! I couldn't not give this five stars, and Samantha Shannon weaves an amazing tale that balances whimsy and female empowerment. Like, I want an entire series surrounding this short story immediately.

I love Regan (and Matilda) and she, like Ben, broke down Samantha's story with her thoughts and feelings, which made for such a wonderful transition that felt so right and cohesive. Also, I think she might be one of the few Booktubers that is not planning on writing a book, which is a damn shame, because her writing is absolutely fantastic. This was, hands down, the best written thing from any of the Booktubers, and I even enjoyed it more than some of the actual stories written by published authors in this anthology. Regan is so talented, and it shined so brightly through with her essay. Oh, and her prompt was the second best of the entire collection, too. Regan gets all the stars!

You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera - ★★★★
• Prompt and Behind the Villain's Mask by Catriona Feeney at LittleBookOwl

I really enjoyed this story, and it felt so much different than the rest of the anthology, in a good way. Also, teenage girl crime lord that wears a mask made from the old skin of her abusive father? Like, please, allow me to buy this full length novel. Also, the different drugs that Adam's main character dealt were so interesting. They were all so inventive and I honestly wish I knew even more. This was a really strong story and I think many people would really enjoy this one.

I didn't really care for Catriona's essay on different masks. It wasn't terrible or anything, but it, again like many of the others, made my reading experience feel disjointed after I read Adam's beautiful story.

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith - ★★★
• Prompt and Julian Powell: Teen Psycho Extraordinaire by Raeleen Lemay at padfootandprongs07

I enjoyed this story well enough, and it definitely made you want to keep turning the pages to see why Julian cannot for the life of himself get in trouble for his mysterious powers of willing people to die. I almost thought the prompt was going to have to do with Death Note, but it was just a generic prompt about psychopaths in the future. I did like how this story bordered on not knowing if Julian really had these powers, or if he just thought he did. Being in an unreliable narrators mind is always a fun thing to read about, and I feel like Andrew Smith did a really good job executing that.

I'm not sure if she creates Booktube videos anymore, which, I'm not going to lie, feels pretty bad, because I know there are so many active Booktubers out there that would have loved to be a part of something like this. Obviously I didn't hold that against her prompt, but I also won't lie that I felt a little disheartened when I looked up her channel and saw she hasn't posted a "Booktube" video in five months and that she's only posted three videos in all of 2017.

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke - ★★★★
• Prompt and Glamorized Recovery: Expectations vs. Reality by Whitney Atkinson at WhittyNovels

Whitney's prompt had to do with Beauty and the Beast and it was magnificent. I've never read anything by April Genevieve Tucholke before, but her writing was fantastic and so engrossing. I was instantly pulled into this retelling that somehow merged Bell, the Beast, and Gaston all into one. Like, I can't explain it without spoilers, but it was very well done. I love the whimsical in this, I loved the feministic undertones, and I loved the ending.

Sera by Nicola Yoon - ★★★★
• Prompt and The Bad Girls' Guide to Villainy by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy at Cuddlebuggery

This story is a look into a child's life, and why she is "evil". The look at each time period was a little boring at first, but when I got to the present day part? Oh, boy, it was amazing and such a powerful story to end this anthology on. I really enjoyed it, and I want to know everything about Sera and where life is going to take her now. Also, the prompt was "Gender-Flipped God of War" and when I read those words I actually got Goosebumps. Plus, Steph and Kat's essay was also perfectly executed with feminism and just the glory of being a strong woman. It was also funny while also talking about some powerful and real situations in today's world. I loved it. Easily the best prompt in this entire collection. Praise and bless all three powerful women that collaborated on this story! Wonderful story and a wonderful prompt.

I gave this 4 stars overall, because out of a possible 65 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 13 stories) this collection accumulated 50 stars (83%).

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Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
499 reviews · 60.1k followers
July 17, 2017
Official rating is 3.75 out of 5 stars. The author's stories themselves were enjoyable, but overall not as evil as I hoped, though I did appreciate seeing the varied versions of what a "villain" could be. The booktuber contributions were a mixed bag: I enjoyed the ones that were more of a commentary on the story themselves, but even some of those read like a 7th grade book report- and the ones that read like they were from the pages of a teen magazine (with fictional q&as, quizzes etc) just didn't seem to fit, since they weren't all of that particular tone. There were a few stand out stories and essays, so below are my thoughts on each individual one. (I wanted to include the prompts that the booktuber's gave, but as I discovered while reading, sometimes they spoil the plot of the story itself. So instead I tried to provide one word that describes how I think they did with their respective prompts to their authors.)

Ameriie's intro was a solid 5 stars out of 5.

The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh
4 stars
As expected, Renee Ahdieh kicks off the anthology with vivid characters, as we enter a tense scene between siblings playing a board game, but with much higher stakes. The world,class system and power dynamic she developed in such a short amount of pages is impressive, and not at all surprising coming from this author. "Rhone did not care to fight battles he could not win. Nor was he in the mood to smile generously through a loss."
Christine's Contributions:
Prompt: Intriguing. Piece: A strange, satirical guide book. I didn't get it.

Jack by Ameriie
5 stars
A hilarious retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, but from the perspective of a giant. This is exactly the type of story I was expecting when I first heard about this short story collection- it has elements we as readers are familiar with, but shows a different pov, while making us question what really makes a villain a villain. "I was not expecting a beanstalk riding thief. Especially one who thought it was a cool idea to shoot up the magick beanstalk and steal the Golden Goose Dad had won in a PowerGlobe raffle, which we sorely needed because even if you're royalty, do you know how much it costs to magick a five-mile cloud in place?"
Tina's Contributions:
Prompt: Innovative. Piece: Picks apart and explains the story. Liked this a lot.

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani
2.5 stars
In a collection of such unlikeable character, this story fell short in the villain department. I don't know how connected you can really get to the story when it's solely written in text messages, so while it was an ambitious undertaking to write a modern day King Arthur, there was no real pay off."FROM: LANCE TO: GWEN YOU'RE GOING TO PROM? WITH *ART*? AFTER HE BEAT ME UP FOR A JOUST THAT *YOU* STARTED?"
Samantha's Contributions:
Prompt: Had potential. Piece: A social media inspired design that fit with the story, but didn't have much substance.

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard
5 stars
Featuring Holmes, Watson and Moriarty, Susan Dennard's take was some of the strongest characterization in this collection. I loved that even though you knew who the villain was meant to be, there was no clear bad guy as each character was written so complexly. I need this to to be written into an entire novel. "Most people don't steal or kill or sell drugs because they want to, Holmes, or because they love being 'bad guys' so much. They do it because they're born to a life with no exits. No chances."
Sasha's Contributions:
Prompt: Simple. Piece: A fun, Dear Abby of sorts, but not my taste.

The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni
2.5 stars
I wanted to love this one. It follow Sigrid, and her charismatic sidekick, Thomas, as they are developing their powers and going on a journey to discover their magical destiny. Sadly, this story lacked anything to really kept my attention as I just didn't find myself caring about the characters or their relationship. "Supposedly he lives on a mystical island called Hether Blether, which disappears most of the year. If any witch sets foot on the island, they can claim it, along with all the sorcerer's wisdom."
Sophia's Contributions:
Prompt: Direct. Piece: A decent deep dive into the main character.

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer
3 stars
This story wasn't as compelling as a lot of the others in the anthology. It had so much potential, as the writing itself was strong and personally, The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite stories. Unfortunately it read as not a fully fleshed out idea and felt incomplete to me. I don't doubt though that this will become a popular one among other readers of this anthology. "My jaw fell as I took in my body. Somehow the absence of my tail was more shocking than the addition of human legs."
Zoe's Contributions:
Prompt: Unique. Piece: It had a good essay, but then turned into a teen zine type quiz.

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon
4 stars
This is a tough one to rate because the pace drove me nuts. We follow the most beautiful girl in the province, who is a shoe in to be chosen by the emperor, but not before she catches the eye of another suitor with a great deal of power. I loved the message and I definitely intend to check out more from this author. "Nowhere was safe."
Benjamin's Contributions:
Prompt: Straightforward. Piece: Thoughtful and important exploration of society's response to victims of violence. Cindy Pon did a great job of setting up the opportunity for this discourse, but didn't weight down her story by exploring them in the narrative herself, so it was nice to read that discussion after the fact.

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab
5 stars
The perfect short story, probably one of my favourites of all time. I don't know if this story just hit me on an emotional mom level, as it stars a young girl who has lost her mother, but it managed to make me cry in under 18 pages, which I deem pretty impressive. In this story we follow Death, personified, which is always an ambitious undertaking, and Schwab unsurprisingly pulls it off seamlessly. "Death sighs, rolls those brown eyes, and says "you're stalling." "Wouldn't you?" she snaps."
Jesse's Contributions:
Prompt: Unexpected. Piece: A powerful, personal letter to Death. Very fitting.

Marigold by Samantha Shannon
4.5 stars
This felt like a book I would hear Regan raving about on her channel. It was the first story that seemed to be written with the actual booktuber's taste in mind, which was fun. Full of trickery and trades, this story of the Erl-queen and her stolen children won't be one I'll soon forget. "This is the tale of a prince and a princess, two men on a quest, two queen and a maid named Marigold. You might reasonably assume that these are the perfect ingredients in a fairy tale."
Regan's Contributions:
Prompt: Unsurprising. Piece: Enjoyable explanation of folklore and where her idea came from, as well as commentary on the story itself. This is what I expected most of the pieces to be akin to.

You, You, It's all About You by Adam Silvera
4.5 stars
The story of a sociopathic super villain who has in her possession "vaccines" that can control people. This felt like it could be an excerpt from a longer novel, but still had just the right amount of character background with current day action. Superbly outlined, and to handle a plot twist like this one had in just 16 pages is truly inspired. "Reminds you of childhood, when you wanted to hear fairytales of princesses being saved from dragons by knights. Except growing up in your household taught you two important things: You have to be in charge of telling your own story. And sometimes the princess needs to get off her ass, pick up the sword, and slay the dragon herself."
Catriona's Contributions:
Prompt: Direct, but open. Piece: A look at the masks we wear, and what your mask says about you. I clearly prefer the essay/story pieces by the Booktubers, but this is my favourite of the more "fun" sections.

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith
3 stars
In a collection full of action, creatures, and magic at every turn, the ambiguity of the character and his "powers" just weren't a stand out. It's no surprise that Andrew Smith's writing is so strong in this, especially his consistent ability to get into a teen's psyche and direct to audience story telling. Unfortunately the narrative itself here is one I've seen done before and done better. "When I read about what happened on Onondaga Street, I felt a little bit guilty, but only a little. Had I caused it by sheer will? Yeah, pretty sure I had."
Raeleen's Contributions:
Prompt: Straightforward. Piece: Read like a book report.

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke
3.5 stars
This left off with a slightly unsatisfying conclusion, but the tale itself, a love story between a mysterious girl and a hunter tracking a beast in the woods totally sucked me in. There were so many different elements to this story, and I wanted more time to enjoy each of them- I wish this one were twice the length. "People thought the woods were haunted, sure, but they didn't go in them because of the Beast. I didn't want to scare her though. Not yet."
Whitney's Contributions:
Prompt: A bit generic. Piece: So thoughtful, exploring societal views of and reactions to villains and heroes.

Sera by Nicola Yoon
3.25 stars
I have such mixed feelings about this story of a "gender flipped god of war". I adore Nicola Yoon's writing, and the story was well paced. However I just don't think her tone really lent itself well to this particular story, as her books tend to be delivered with this had a kind, light YA contemporary writing, and it felt off paired with the dark subject matter. "Sera was fearless, but not in a good way. There were things in this world to be afraid of, and Sera was afraid of none of them."
Steph and Kat's Contributions:
Prompt: Intriguing. Piece: Another teen zine type quiz, that I didn't feel right to me as the conclusive piece.
Profile Image for emi.
402 reviews · 1,064 followers
July 13, 2017
3.384/5 stars

Villains, the deliciously wicked. We love to hate them and they hate to be loved, if only because being hated frees them from having to be good.

I read this book solely because of Victoria Schwab, even postponing my weekly watch of one of the greatest shows, The Bachelorette, to read it, so if that's not showing you how dedicated I am to my favorite author, I don't know what will?

I think to celebrate this villain anthology, I have decided to include a GIF of my favorite "villain" aka angsty prince turned nicer angsty Fire Lord


This book was a hit or miss for me. Some of the stories I absolutely loved, most of them I had neutral or negative opinions of. A lot of the stories did not feel villainous at all, while others made me wanna sleep with one eye open. In the end, I decided just to find my average rating and rate from there. I think my favorite stories were Victoria Schwab's (of course), Andrew Smith's, and Andrew Silvera's, but the biggest surprise for me was Cindy Pon's. If you only read one short story from this, I would highly recommend the one Cindy Pon wrote.

I think should discuss, real quick, is that a huge part of this book is the presence of Booktubers. I've seen some reviews address the controversy, and I feel like I should mention it as well.

I'm not a writer, nor do I ever want to be a writer, but there are a lot of writers who struggle to just get their works picked up by an agent, and many of them never do, but these thirteen individuals who post reviews on the internet get to bypass the struggle of getting a piece of work published? I mean, I post reviews on the internet? Where's my name in a book? It does seem quite unfair. But, at the same time, many of those booktubers work hard to create quality content and put themselves out on the internet in a way I never could, so while they didn't necessarily work hard in publishing-a-book-wise, I believe they did work hard in other ways.

I also don't believe it's right to tear down someone else's accomplishments just because you think they don't deserve it.

However, I don't find the booktubers really added anything to the story other than the prompt they supplied. While some of the prompts were great for authors to work with, others not so much. And a bad prompt could really damage an author's story. Their small pieces of writing that followed the author's stories were almost a waste of paper. It was just them analyzing the story for me, telling me what to think about the plot or a character or their actions and I don't really appreciate that. I much rather analyze what happened myself, thank you very much, because everyone analyzes things differently. I ended skimming post of their content, as I didn't find it important.

But let's just go into reviews of the short stories, shall we:

The Blood of Imuriv
by Renee Ahdieh, prompt from Christine Riccio/PolandbananasBOOKS
4/5 stars

I love Renee Ahdieh, so it's not a surprise to me that I loved her part in this book. However, I do think this story had the unfortunate luck of having to be a short story. There was so much history and politics that had to be condensed to just a few pages it took away from the overall understanding of the story. The plot was so interesting and the world so unique, I got myself invested and then it ended. I want an entire 400 page novel in my hands by yesterday, Renee, please and thank you.

by Ameriie, prompt from Tina Burke/The Lushables
1.25/5 stars

I've never heard of Ameriie before, even though her name is the biggest on this cover, but even from her chapter, I don't think I want to read anything else by her. Her writing and story, in my opinion, reminded me of a high schooler's creative writing project. Maybe it was the weird ass prompt she got, as I don't Jack and the Beanstalk can ever be cool, but she could have made it work. Instead, we got a protagonist I didn't care for and unnecessary pop culture references that didn't work. Easily my least favorite story in this entire book. Next, please.

Gwen and Art and Lance
by Soman Chainani, prompt from Samantha Lane/Thoughts on Tomes
1.75/5 stars

This could have been such a cool af story, as the prompt was King Arthur meets Hades and Persephone, but instead, it was just high school drama sprinkled with more high school drama. It wasn't even villainous. It was literally just an egocentric girl pining over two guys who are too good for her. And the entire thing was told in text messages. Just no. I'll pass.

Shirley & Jim
by Susan Dennard, prompt from Sasha Alsberg/Abookutopia
1.5/5 stars

I have never read or seen Sherlock Homes. I know absolutely nothing about him except he's a detective and he's hooking up with some dude named Watson and they wanna go back to elementary school or something? I'm assuming Jim is some sort of villain but I don't even know. But anyways, I probably couldn't care less about this story.

The Blessing of Little Wants
by Sarah Enni, prompt from Sophia Lee/Thebookbasement
2.5/5 stars

Who is Sarah Enni? Why is she a featured author in this book? I looked at her Goodreads page, and all that is featured under her written books is this book right here. But, even if she's not as published of an author as others featured in this anthology, she actually wrote a story with more depth and plot then most of the other stories in this thing. While I wasn't too invested in everything that happened, after the mess of the past three stories I embraced this with open arms. Even if I didn't understand fully what was going on? That ending was confusing af and how did any of this have anything to do with villains???? The main character just travels to some island by boat and kills something that I'm

The Sea Witch
by Marissa Meyer, prompt from Zoe Herdt/ReadbyZoe
4.5/5 stars

Finally, we are getting good here, but that's no surprise from Marissa Meyer, veteran author and seemingly amazing person. This is the kind of story I was expecting when I started this book. We had a plot! And motive! And intrigue! And love! And villainous actions. The entire plot of this short story was what if the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid fell in love too, but killed her love interest. And it was so good. Sooo freaking good. At times I was a little concerned it was a little too similar to another Marissa Meyer book, Heartless , but I feel like eventually it branch off into its own story. I like to thank Marissa Meyer and Zoe Herdt for giving me hope that this anthology won't be all horrible.

Beautiful Venom
by Cindy Pon, prompt from Benjamin Alderson/BenjaminofTomes
5/5 stars

Trigger warning: (not graphic) rape scene
Ummmm I have never read anything by Cindy Pon before, but I am now quickly adding all her books to my TBR because I am just amazed at how much I loved her writing and her imagination. This was a villainous retelling about Medusa and it followed the origin myth very well, but it also explored rape culture and victim blaming and how utterly harmful they are. Every f*cking person needs to go read this right now.

Death Knell
by Victoria Schwab, prompt from Jesse George/JessetheReader
5/5 stars

I was starting to feel like this was never going to happen? This entire story is the only reason I wanted to read this book. You're the best Victoria. Keep doing you.
And this story is so Victoria? It is covered from page to page in her lyrical writing. So breathtakingly beautiful and meaningful. It's about how life is short and death is not outrun-able. I'm in love. I'm incredibly biased, as I'm a self-proclaimed #1 Victoria Schwab fan, but this is the best story so far.

by Samantha Shannon, prompt from Regan Perusse/PeruseProject
3.75/5 stars

I liked this on. I'm not sure if I loved it, but I did like it. It was full of folklore and children getting kidnapped. I especially loved the twist at the end However, I just wasn't fully engaged in every aspect of this one.

You, You, It's All About You
by Adam Silvera, prompt from Catriona Feeney/LittleBookOwl
4.25/5 stars

Adam Silvera seems like the coolest guy in all of existence. So is he taking applications for a new best friend? Because I have a resume that I'd love to send him. Anyways, he came through like he always does and presented us a solid piece of writing about a teenage drug lord. Not only was it funny at times, but the main character is probably the villain in this book that scared me the most. She's twisted. I don't ever want to cross her path. Also, it's written in second person. What I've read of second person in the past has never gone well and I always end up hating it, but Adam pulls it off effortlessly in this. You go Adam! Please hire me to be your friend.

Julian Breaks Every Rule
by Andrew Smith, prompt from Raeleen Lemay/Padfootandrongs07
4.75/5 stars

I didn't even realize Andrew Smith apart of this anthology until I got to his chapter and let me tell you, I was so freaking existed. Winger is one of my favorite books of all time and I seriously don't talk about it enough, hence this not so subtle promotion of it. And his short story was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was soooo much an Andrew Smith novel. It's about a boy who can never do anything wrong and can wish almost everyone to death. Not only that, but its the funniest thing in this entire anthology. The only thing faulty about this is that it isn't a full legnth novel and that is such a shame. I never wanted it to end. I need more.

Indigo and Shade
by April Genevieve Tucholke, prompt from Whitney Atkinson/WhittyNovels
1.75/5 stars

Another author whom I'm just like, "Who?!?!" but she actually has books published which is cool. I thought this story might cool as well, as it was a beauty and the beast retelling, but I was beyond wrong. The plot was one I find to be quite overused, the narrator was uninteresting and annoying, and the ending was predictable. This one wasn't for me.

by Nicola Yoon, prompt from Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy/Cuddlebuggery
3.5/5 stars

I've always wanted to read a non-contemporary Nicola Yoon book and I think this might be the closest I get. Nicola Yoon is pure talents and I'm quite jealous. But while the writing is great, I don't know if I quite like this story. It's gender-flipped God of War, which is something I know nothing about. And I wish it stayed a lot more focused on the present than the past. But Nicola's writing though. It's gorgeous.
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
20 books · 13k followers
September 13, 2016

Profile Image for Amerie.
5 books · 4,124 followers
March 14, 2021
Profile Image for Hari ~Brekker-Maresh~.
295 reviews · 264 followers
January 6, 2021
Oh, Victoria Schwab is a co-author?

*buys book*


So 13 authors collab with booktubers and create villains. The booktuber chooses a theme/challenge and then the author has to write a story accordingly. At the end of each story the booktuber(s) will "review" the story and give background and insight.

Let's go one at a time?

1(a). The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ok, so no idea who this chick is....?

Anyway, the writing was pretty good. Did I love the villain? Eh. He enjoyed committing the crime... Which ruined everything? But committing the crime and liking it is the only way that he could BECOME the villain, so I guess that was the point.. Not as natural as I would have liked.

P.S. Just looked up the author and ohhhhh she wrote Flame in the Mist and The Wrath and the Dawn, omg. FAIL. I'm so sorry to the fans, I haven't read either.

(b). The Evil Vaccine by Christine Riccio ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hands down the funniest thing I've read all year!!! I was laughing 100% of the time, like I couldn't breathe!! This is so fun!!!

Excuse me while I go stalk Riccio cuz once again, who is this chick?

Enjoy this until I come back!!

“Below are the telltale signs that darkness is poisoning your soul. If you’re consistently experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek guidance and a vaccine from myself or your nearest Dumbledore figure as soon as possible.”

Oh, guys! She's a booktuber!! I don't really follow any booktubers so it makes sense that I don't know her... Check her out: polandbananasBOOKS

2(a). Jack by Ameriie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I feel horrible cuz, again, I don't know her. But she's pretty famous and I should know her, I know, I know, okay?

I liiiike this one!!!!! Your fave giant story told from the POV of the Giants????? Hell, yes.

The battle cry fee fi fo fum translates roughly from the old giant tongue to “fight destroy conquer expand,” but it’s suffered an unfortunate downgrade and now just means “I’m really pissed.”

It's the princess, guys. And it's freaking good.

(b). Giants and Tyrants by Tina Burke ⭐️⭐️

Boring/avoidable. Who is she? Don't care. I mean it's all fascinating but ehhhh. I feel like I'm in English class again, picking apart the details into nothingness.

3(a). Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani ⭐️⭐️⭐️

That was... Oddly entertaining. Told through texts and such. But it's a bit blatantly obvious with the whole King Arthur and Hades/Persephone theme... Not bad, but not great either.

Again, I don't know this author, but a quick search through their books tells me they're already quite in the Camelot scheme.

(b) Bad Girl Hall of Fame by Samantha Lane ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is sort of like Instagram! Or maybe Tumblr? Or is the social media called Joust that was mentioned in the story? Idk, but it's pretty good. Discusses the villainy things!!

4(a). Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

That was freaking amazing!!!! Favorite villain so far!!

I've never read anything by this author but at least I have her books on my to-read shelf.

(b). Dear Sasha Sasha Alsberg ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

So fun, so good, especially the last letter.

5(a). The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I quite like this one. What would this all-powerful witch do to save the world? Is she even trying to though? This is the kind of villain you see in novels people.

(Who is she again?)

(b). Will the Real Villain Please Stand Up? by Sophia Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For that Eminem reference and for putting my thoughts perfectly to words.

6(a). The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Anything less? IMPOSSIBLE. Really good!!!

(b). Villain or Hero? by Zoë Herdt ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

That quiz though.

7(a). Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon ⭐️⭐️

Medusa... But Asian? Sorry I was bored. Or maybe I read too much Rick Riordin. Don't know this author either.

(b). Without the Evil in the World, How Do We See the Good? by Ben Alderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks for making me see the Medusa story in a new light. I kinda like it now.

8(a). Death Knell by Victoria Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

VICTORIA SCHWAB NAILED her challenge!!! That was brilliant!!!!!

I may be biased, but honestly? VS gives me good reason to be biased. She is consistently amazing and AHHH this is so good!!!!!!!!

Where does she get her ideas from???????
Why is she so amazing?????

(b). Dear Death by Jesse George ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crying. I'm sorry.

9(a). Marigold by Samantha Shannon ⭐️⭐️⭐️

For being mildly entertaining, and for that dark, yet predictable, twist.

And here's another author I've never heard of.

(b). Evil Revealed by Regan Perusse ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Insightful, mildly preachy. Still bored.

10(a). You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Remind me again why I haven't read any books by this author (though I've added all of them) cuz THIS WAS FUCKING BRILLIANT.
My kind of villain, and up there in my list of fave villains from this book!!

You’re worshipped for the way Daze can make the city forget. You’re celebrated for the way Token can revive memories as far back as childhood. You’re feared for the way Trance can implant false stories others forge.


(b). Behind the Villain's Mask by Catriona Feeney ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nice comprehensive discussion about masks... Also mildly humorous to fit the situation.

11(a). Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Love the underdog theme. I probably could've pinpointed that this was Andrew Smith's story, cuz it's got that vibe you know? Also it's hilarious until it's not (that twist tho!!). Also foreshadowing...

(b). Julian Powell by Raeleen Lemay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We share a common love you see.

12(a). Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I'm down for anything Beauty and the Beast. [insert conceited rich prince here]

(b). Glamorous Recovery by Whitney Atkinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Best expectation vs reality ever.

13(a). Sera by Nicola Yoon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Why is this so good?? Why have I not read anything by her??

(b).The Bad Girls Guide to Villainy by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ahh this is so god and hilarious. The footnotes are everything!!!

Overall, this was probably really fun to write with the collabs and everything but half the book just felt like fillers to me and the booktubers comments were mostly avoidable and boring. But it was still a fun read!!
I honestly didn't know half the authors or most of the booktubers and I was basically just waiting for Victoria Schwab and Andrew Smith the whole time but some stories were pleasant surprises.
Who's my favorite villain? So many to choose from!! Susan Dennard's or Nicola Yoon's villains were amazing, but probably Adam Silvera's villain!!!
Also, Victoria Schwab's story is everything, just saying.
Profile Image for Ikram.
211 reviews · 1,284 followers
Want to read
September 30, 2016
*gasps* Look at it. Just look at it.

Okay, so I'm seeing a good number of my lovely Goodreads friends that are actually unhappy about this book and I'd like to address the issue.

Basically, people are saying that it's not fair that writers have to go through hell to get a book published while booktubers make their way to the top easily.

As an aspiring author myself I really do understand your pain HOWEVER, saying that these people don't deserve to be published isn't fair, in my opinion.

These people have worked their butt off making videos for years and they started from nothing just like everyone else. It's not like they have no idea what they're doing, I've been following Raeleen, Sasha and Jesse's Nanowrimo progress for years and Christine is just hilarious in person so imagine how awesome her writing is going to be.

It's not like these people were born famous. They have worked hard for it and more importantly they love books and that's why we love them.

Overall, I'm very excited for this book. I've been watching these people's videos for so long that I feel like they're my friends and I'm genuinely happy for them.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments :D



Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews · 11.1k followers
Want to read
April 29, 2016
I'm a little bias, but

<)   )     this'll
  /   \

\( •_•)
  (   (>      be
  /   \

<)   )      awesome!
  /   \
Profile Image for ♛ may.
801 reviews · 3,763 followers
August 28, 2017
The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh, prompt from Christine Riccio
- I hate to say this bc Renee is my #queen but
- M E H
- This one definitely had LOADS of potential, but it fell so FLAT and was so anticlimactic
- And it was wayyyy to short, seriously it was like 9 pages long, excuuuse me
- Soz @ renee, I still love you, we can forget this ever happened
2 stars

Jack by Ameriie, prompt from Tina Burke
- Surprisingly, this was ~*entertaining*~
- Loved the dark twist at the end (bc im a bitter person)
- The writing was easy, engaging, the slight/lame humour helped, that’s always appreciated
3.5 stars

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani prompt from Samantha Lane
- I LOVED how fast paced this short story was
- The text messages were quite refreshing idk a lot of people didn’t like it but I sped through it
- Really blurred the line of villainy, yaaassss
- Its mainly teenage/highschool drama but with a king Arthur twist
- Entertaining tho I wanted to punch gwen more than once
- #WeDeserveBetter
4 stars

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard, prompt from Sasha Alsberg
- It was so entertaining and engaging and captivating
- Loved the mystery/detective ish soooooo good
- I know a lot of people were kinda pissed with the gender switched ish
- But boi
- I didn’t even notice until after I finished
- And the ending 👌👌 bye
4.5 stars

The Blessing of Little Wants by Sanah Enni, prompt from Sophia Lee
- I don’t get this one
- It was just weird and confusing and like I really didn’t see the point of it
- What was the moral of this story? What was the point ?
- M e h
1 star

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer, prompt from Zoe Herdt
- Marissa Meyer is queen, this is a fact of life
- Youre //WRONG// if you think otherwise, I will fite you
- Her fairytale retellings are LEGENDARY and this one is no different
- We got complex characters, an actual PLOT, a unique setting, betrayal, much greatness packed into a smol story
- And it really gives the reader and insight to the villain, honestly
- This was some good ish man (even if it made me a little sad)
4.5 stars

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon, prompt from Benjamin Alderson
- It hurt my soul to read it
- But it was absolutely incredible and sosososososoosososoos important
- The backstory and then the result it had on the mc’s life
- Damn boi, hit me right in the feels
- Cindy Pon got me curious now, good job
4.5 stars

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab, prompt from Jesse George
- Fricken hell does schwab know how to write
- This short story was too far in the book for such an incredible piece
- It was depressing and dark and devastatingly beautiful
- I loved this one
- And that ending
- Wowowowowoowowowowowowow
- “Death is a boy with brown eyes”
- stOP TORTURING ME @ schwab
5 stars

Marigold by Samantha Shannon, prompt from Reagan Perusse
- this one was interesting
- like it had a lot of potential but it really fell flat
- idk, I appreciate the //feme-power// theme but
- m e h
2.5 stars

You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera, prompt from Catriona Feeney
- I was definitely not expecting this one
- I loved the evilness of the villain, good job on that
- Appreciate ya
- But it was different and im unsure how I feel about it entirely
- I feel like if it was made into a full length novel, there would be more space to elaborate on the characters/personalities/plot
3.5 stars

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith, prompt from Raeleen Lemay
- Again, another one that just fell a bit flat :p
- The humour was funny but in the lame kind of way
- It had LOADS of potential
- But I was kinda disinterested the entire time
- blehhhh
2 stars

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke, prompt from Whitney Atkinson
- N O
- This was boring
- And boring
- And boring
- And predictable
- Was not into this one at ALL
- And the mc literally made me want to slam my head into the wall everytime he talked about himself
- Plz stop youre not cute
- I liked shade tho – more on that maybe ???
1.5 stars

Sera by Nicola Yoon, prompt from Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy
- Y’all thought this was gonna end on a //boring// note didn’t you
- Well binch you thought
- This story was brutal
- It was dark and creepy and gave me fricken chills as I read it
- I was expecting some cute, happily-ever-after type-o-book
- And I got this masterpiece
- Probably my favorite from the anthology
5 stars

All in all, this turned out better than I anticipated and the cover is so fricken pretty I want to cry

Also, just wanted to mention that the little input from the booktubers at the end of each story were a nice touch, even though some of them bored me. It helped the explain the story and add a hint of discussion, might even help you sort out your thoughts on the story itself.


IT'S FINALLY HERE (SIX HUNDRED MONTHS LATE) AND IT'S THE PRETTIEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN!! y'all should see me, im like a 4 year old getting ice cream

Buddy read with my tormentor favourite little noodle 😉, maramati

7/16/2017 update

so this fricken book came out 5 days ago but it still hasn't reached my library and im gonna effing riot soon bc i will not stand for any less than the hardback even though i spend every waking moment dying to buy the ebook

@ library
fricken get your ish in order, you're ruining the life of a smol child


Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews · 883 followers
October 29, 2018
First of all, I really like the idea behind this book. Both the topic "Villains" and the collaboration between authors and booktubers is really intriguing to me.
Sadly, the booktuber part fell pretty flat for me. Their parts just felt unnecessary and forced most of the time.

Renee Ahdieh - Blood of Imuriv ⭐️⭐️
Not necessarily a bad execution but a stupid challenge to begin with tbh
- Christine's (polandbananasbooks) part was cringy and tried too hard to be funny..

Amerie - Jack ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Really interesting and creative, the challenge was executed very well
- Tina Burke's (thelushables) part was interesting and gave a good insight on the story

Soman Chainani - Gwen & Art & Lance ⭐️
Basic and boring, not sure if the challenge was executed well
- Samantha's (thoughtsontomes) part had interesting thoughts on modern villains but was repetitive as hell

Susan Dennard - Shirley & Jim ⭐️⭐️
Loved the writing style, but the story was a bit boring but the uncreative challenge played a big role in that
- Sasha's (abookutopia) part was just weird and unnecessary

Sarah Enni - Blessing of Little Wants ⭐️⭐️
I honestly didn't really understand what was going on, the challenge was also kind of all over the place
- Sophia's (thebookbasement) part was fine

Marissa Meyer - The Sea Witch ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Loved that one! Both the challenge and the story were pretty awesome
- Zoë's (readbyzoe) part was fine

Cindy Pon - Beautiful Venom ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Very well written and great execution of the (really basic...) challenge
- Benjamin's (benjaminoftomes) part was fine

Victoria Schwab - Death Knell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fucking beautiful! Loved both the challenge and the story
- Jesse's (jessethereader) part was beautifully written but a little cheesy

Samantha Shannon - Marigold ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Beautiful writing style, but the story itself was not that good (might be the fault of the challenge)
- Regan's (PeruseProject) part was kind of unnecessary

Adam S. - You, It's All About You ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A challenge with a lot of potential and the story was really creative!
- Catronia's (LittleBookOwl) part was unnecessary

Andrew S. - Julian breaks every rule ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Entertaining, but it didn't really suit the challenge in my opinion (where was the futuristic part?)
- Raleen's (padfootandprongs07) part was cringy again

April Genevieve T. - Indigo and Shade ⭐️⭐️
Way too unrealistic and the main character was awful. The challenge was actually pretty interesting though.
- Whitney's (WhittyNovels) part was actually quite nice

Nicola Yoon - Sera ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I really enjoyed this and the challenge was executed in a very creative way!
- Steph's and Kat's (Cuddlebuggery) part was just ... weird
Profile Image for may ➹.
463 reviews · 1,849 followers
January 12, 2021
2.5 stars.

Listen, the book is literally called Because You Love to Hate Me… because everyone (including me) loves to hate it.

The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh // ★★☆☆☆
Jack by Ameriie // ★★★☆☆
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani // ★★☆☆☆.5
Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard // ★☆☆☆☆.5
The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni // ★☆☆☆☆
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer // ★★★★☆
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon // ★★★★☆
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab // ★★★☆☆.5
Marigold by Samantha Shannon // ★☆☆☆☆.5
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera // ★★☆☆☆.5
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith // ★☆☆☆☆
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke // ★★★★☆
Sera by Nicola Yoon // ★★★★☆

So. SHOULD YOU READ THIS? I say no, because I only really liked 4/13 stories, and HATED 4/13 stories, and the rest were just meh. Don’t waste your time on this.

// buddy read with katheriiiiiine (click to read her fabulous review!!)


ugh that was horrible (and schwab disappointed me)


i'm ready to either love or hate this... probably hate... but i gotta do it for schwab
Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews · 491 followers
July 11, 2017
i have very mixed feelings about this anthology.

i probably expected too much from this? idk, i love villains and anti-heroes especially when they're well-written, when they're charismatic and sassy/petty, morally grey or immoral at all. villains and anti-heroes who are likable af and you love them SO MUCH but at the same time you understand that you're probably not supposed to love them, they're like EVIL or smth (missy/the master from dw is my most recent example tbh). i expected this to have a lot of these characters but only couple of stories really satisfied me.

okay, let's dive into it. im not going to review every story, i'll just list my short thoughts on it and my personal ratings.

story #1. THE BLOOD OF IMURIV by Renee Ahdieh
prompt: The Grandson of an Evil, Matriarchal Dictator Who Tried to Rule over the Universe Wants to Follow in Her Footsteps and Accidentally Loses His Temper, Killing His Sibling in a Game of Chess
by the end of the book i literally forgot what this story was about. i haven't felt it and didn't like the supposed villain.

story #2. JACK by Ameriie
prompt: “Jack and the Beanstalk” Meets Phalaris of Agrigento
i didn't like the story at first and felt really weird for like 75% of it. BUT DAMN THE ENDING WAS GOOD.

story #3. GWEN AND ART AND LANCE by Soman Chainani
prompt: A Modern-Day Mash-Up of the King Arthur Legend and Persephone-Hades Myth
written in the form of messaging. not enough to enjoy tbh. very whatever. also shipped lance and arthur, fuck gwen :)

story #4. SHIRLEY & JIM by Susan Dennard
prompt: A Young Moriarty
i already whined about it BUT LET ME WHINE AGAIN. i don't see a fucking point in changing sherlock and john's gender but not jim's. it wasn't even relevant for the story anyway??? sheriarty is a thing already???? you don't need to change their genders to die of their chemistry TBH im so bitter
i mean, i'm not against gender changing in general and you can write whatever and however you want, but personally, i'm very very disappointed and salty. why not just write sherlock/moriarty and be done with it D:

story #5. THE BLESSING OF LITTLE WANTS by Sarah Enni
prompt: A Dark Sorcerer’s Motives for Seeking Immortality or Omnipotence
i have mixed feelings about this story. i liked the twist and the atmosphere, but not the story overall.
sooo 2.5/5

story #6. THE SEA WITCH by Marissa Meyer
prompt: What If the Sea Witch Had Previously Been in the Little Mermaid’s Shoes but Decided to Kill the Love Interest and Turn Back into a Mermaid Instead?
I LOVED THIS ONE. as much as i don't really like villain-became-villain-because-of-the-broken-heart stories, this one somehow swayed me. when the mc was like I WANT REVENGE i was like GO AND GET IT GIRL.

story #7. BEAUTIFUL VENOM by Cindy Pon
prompt: Medusa. Go!
TW: rape (not graphic)
i have nothing to say except IT IS SO FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

story #8. DEATH KNELL by Victoria Schwab
prompt: Hades Wakes Up after Being Unconscious at the Bottom of a Well in Ireland
this is so typically Schwab, i would've guessed it if you mixed all stories, deleted authors' names and told me to find Schwab's one. i loved it. (especially the writing tho the WRITING it's so beautiful im dying).

story #9. MARIGOLD by Samantha Shannon
prompt: Erl-Queen Retelling in Nineteenth-Century London
i hate men :-)
the story is really good, i liked how tables have turned in the end.

story #10. YOU, YOU, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU by Adam Silvera
prompt: A Female Teen Crime Lord Concealed by a Mask
can i get like 100k words book on this story BECAUSE I LOVED IT SO MUCH ESPECIALLY THE PART WITH KARL DAMN

story #11. JULIAN BREAKS EVERY RULE by Andrew Smith
prompt: A Psychopath in a Futuristic Setting
this story is hilarious and i liked the main character. last lines? pure gold. i want more.

story #12. INDIGO AND SHADE by April Genevieve Tucholke
prompt: Beauty and the Beast: Suitor’s Revenge
ok, main character's thoughts were hilarious. especially the way he described himself lmao i died. the story overall tho? meh

story #13. SERA by Nicola Yoon
propmt: Gender-Flipped God of War
I LOVED SERA. also not that i love men suffering and dying but??? nice???

so overall it'll be 3.5/5 for the whole anthology. the second half is way better than the first :-)



this comes out next week (i fell like im waiting for 2189378294738 years already)

here for schwab, meyer and silvera tbh
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
419 reviews · 1,623 followers
May 28, 2018
This features some excellent authors and some excellent stories, but also some really ‘meh’ stories. Each story was based on a prompt created by a Booktuber, who then wrote a short essay about the story. Rating this anthology as whole feels oddgreat others were too specific. Some stories fit the prompt exactly, others were more vague. And it’s hard to rate when they were all so different??

There were two issues that remained prominent for the whole book:

1. The essays felt jolting

Each one ruined any sense of immersion established by the story before. They were mostly lightheaded and a little goofy, and certainly something I might have read as related blog posts. I enjoy these booktubers and their context, but the essays were not thought provoking and really contrasted with the darker stories.

2. None of the villain’s are bad enough

Several stories take a popular storybook villain and simply retell their story so they almost have no choice! but to do that-evil-thing. Others have ‘villains’ with somewhat unconventional philosophies, but who largely remain morally good. It almost felt like most of the authors were scared we wouldn’t care about a truly dark character--- but it’s literally a villain anthology?? No one can really claim a main character was too ‘unlikeable?’ Instead, most of the stories played it safe.

The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh --- 2 Stars
• This is one that suffers from having a really specific prompt. There was no room for Ahdieh to play with anything.
• I still love Ahdieh’s descriptions—her writing somehow seems decadent and brisk all at once
• But this setting was cluttered and I didn’t give a dang flip about any character

Jack by Ameriie --- 3 Stars
• The writing is basic and the overall tone juvenile
• I didn’t find the characters compelling either, and it was hard to stay interested
• THAT TWIST THO. The ending manages to be delightfully macabre and one of the only stories that shocked me.

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani ---3 Stars
• Honestly my favorite prompt in the book
• It’s a little childish, but somehow worked with the texting-format?
• Absolutely doesn’t fit in an anthology about villains. THERES NO VILLIAN. Only high-school drama

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard ---1 Star
• Wow, I really did not like this.
• It’s a retelling of Sherlock Holmes that doesn’t feel anything like Sherlock Holmes
• Also randomly genderswaps Sherlock to pull a #nohomo
• Skimmed the second half, tbh

The Blessings of Little Wants by Sarah Enni---2 Stars
• I tried so hard to like this story. The prompt is good. The plot is good. It should have been good.
• I tried and tried and tried and tried. I restarted this story about four times.
• It’s soooo boring. Could not stay invested

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon--5 Stars
• Excuse me while I go buy more things written by Cindy Pon
• Medusa is one of my favorite myths and so many books and movies butcher her origin story. Pon gets it and blends it seamlessly into an Asian setting
• The writing is also smooth and watching the characters transform into villains was excellently done (especially in regards to that “romance”)
• Excellent commentary on victim blaming.

The Sea Witch by Marrisa Meyer --4 Stars
• Oooh, this prompt is fun (still very specific) and Meyer adds her own spin easily
• Seriously fits right in with Meyer’s style and I could see this fitting in TLC world.
• A little rushed. I didn’t have time to feel the emotions before the main character was acting on them.

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab ---4 Stars
• Damn do I love Schwab’s skill with words
• You’ll instantly root for characters, and it all breaks your heart a bit
• But… dare I say it? Almost formulaic? I called the ending?
• Also doesn’t feel like a ‘villain’ story. It’s the personification of Death, but Death never really seemed like a villain to me? It’s more of an inevitability? This is shown here when the personification is neither cunning, malicious or focused on his own goals. (Anything I think a villain should be)

Marigold by Samantha Shannon --4.5 Stars
• This one took me by surprise
• Excellent discussion of ‘nice guy’ mentally and what makes a villian
• I’m here for creepy woods, ambitious fairies, Victorian ladies with agency and gorgeous descriptions

You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera--2 Stars
• Wow, this one also surprised me, because I really love Adam Silvera.
• There’s a cool futuristic setting that turns into a lot of babblygook about specific drugs and forced-too-fast world-building
• The main character’s internal monologue is too clunky and confusing to ever route for her
• There’s a big plot twist, but by that point I’d already forgotten to care

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith--2.5 Stars
• I actually really liked this narrative voice. It was sardonic and rough, and managed to stand out in the whole book
• There’s a cool plot with a steady, intriguing build-up
• (No villains. Just high-school drama)

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke2 Stars
• It was…okay?
• Doesn’t feel like Beauty and The Beast at all and strays very far from the assigned prompt
• I liked the idea, and the descriptions
• Nothing stands out. I actually had to dig out my book, because I forgot ever reading this.

Sera by Nicola Yoon -- 5 Stars
• Um YES
• I’ve only read one Yoon book and didn’t love it, and kind of had her filed away in my brain as a fluffy contemporary author
• The pacing is stellar, and the character development is as gradual as it is inevitable. I truly rooted for the villain, even though she truly became a villain

In Conclusion:
Average Rating: 3.23
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
5 books · 13.5k followers
April 25, 2021
I was looking forward to this for a long time. Marissa Meyer, Victoria Schwab and Adam Silvera combined in one single book? Heaven on earth.

To be fair, I didn't read every single page of this short story collection. I read most short stories (Meyer, Silvera, Schwab, Pon, Dennard, Yoon) but I couldn't bother with the Booktuber's essays.
What I did read met all the expectations. The stories were unique and spectacular. My favourite one was Victoria Schwab's. It reminded me of her first novel The Near Witch and I loved every word of it. Nicola Yoon's reminded of of Stephen King's Carrie, which was quite the surprise. I didn't know that she could pull off something so dark and disturbing. Meanwhile Adam Silvera stayed true to his contemporary/science-fiction approach and excelled once again.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
666 reviews · 1,498 followers
September 17, 2020
I just want to voice that I, and I only because this is my opinion alone, did not like the style of this book. I would have rather the authors and the booktubers write one-inclusive story together instead of the “responding” the booktubers did to the author’s story. It wasn’t for me, and that really shows in my ratings.

01. The Blood of Impuriv ★☆☆☆☆
By: Renée Ahdieh
Featuring: Christine Riccio
About: an ambitious dark lord

I don’t feel as if anything actually happened in this story except for bickering between the two siblings. And, sadly, Renée Ahdieh’s writing doesn’t agree with me. I figured that out long before this so I am probably a little bias in this. She has such a following though, so I bet a lot of people enjoyed this a lot more than I did.

02. Jack ★★★☆☆
By: Ameriie
Featuring: Tina Burke
About: the giant from “Jack and the Beanstalk”

This story was better than Ahdieh’s. It has an original spin on it with a historical figure-head as the antagonist, but other than that I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I love other retellings of Jack and the Beanstalk (not really books, but like Into the Woods the Broadway show is one.

03. Gwen and Art and Lance ★★☆☆☆
By: Soman Chainani
Featuring: Samantha Lane
About: Lancelot

I just could not. The only reason this works with the Illuminae series is because it is a full-length book and there are diagrams and pictures and surveillance documentation. I wasn’t a fan of the format for a short story.

04. Shirley & Jim ★★☆☆☆
By: Susan Dennard
Featuring: Sasha Alsberg
About: Moriarty

I wasn’t a fan of how the author went about rewiring Sherlock and Watson both. I feel there could have been a better way to do what she was trying to do; and with that being said, I also feel as if she was trying really hard to mend something that just doesn’t mold the way she wanted.

05. The Blessing of Little Wants ★★★★☆
By: Sarah Enni
Featuring: Sophia Lee
About: a dark sorcerer seeking immortality

This was the shining light and what made me keep going with these short stories. Two witches on a quest to save magic. I mean, my goodness, can this get a series of its own? Because I finally felt feels in this little story and I am craving more.

06. The Sea Witch ★★★★★
By: Marissa Meyer
Featuring: Zoë Herdt
About: the sea witch

Now THIS WAS LEGIT. I already am head over heels for Marissa Meyers and that’s because she knows how to write a villain who is likeable but also someone you love to hate. I read this one three times when I the other’s failed. A mermaid, first off, is the best. A dark mermaid, secondly, is completely and utterly accurate. You understood where she was coming from and you cheered for her to conquer. But at the same time, you knew how she was going about getting what she needed and what she deserved was not the best way. My heart breaks for my little mermaid.

07. Beautiful Venom ★★★★★
By: Cindy Pon
Featuring: Benjamin Alderson
About: Medusa

I want to start off saying that I have read one Pon book and I wasn’t that big of a fan of it. So, I went into this story with the lowest expectations you could possibly imagine. With that being said, holy crap did that just happen? That was utterly amazing and hit me pretty hard. Medusa is already one of my favorite mythology creatures and now I just want to find more retellings on her. Not only that but… I may give Pon books another shot.

08. Death Knell ★★★★★
By: Victoria Schwab
Featuring: Jesse George
About: Death

I went into this knowing that I would love it because Schwab knows the way into my black, still heart, and I wasn’t disappointed. This read more like a fable to me. This story will make your eyes go huge and shake your head because once you see what is going to happen, you can’t stop it no matter how much you wish to. Schwab is a phenomenal author at writing anything dark and she does not disappoint. This was my favorite story in this whole book and I may buy this book just for this.

09. Marigold ★★★★☆
By: Samantha Shannon
Featuring: Regan Perusse
About: The Erl Queen

A Fae Queen who kidnaps little girls in the 19th century? I love the Fae culture, but sometimes I feel writers are making them too pretty and nice, but still call them animalistic. This story is actually more animalistic and it was everything I ever needed.

10. You, You, It’s All About You ★★★☆☆
By: Adam Silvera
Featuring: Catriona Feeney
About: a comic books-inspired teen crime lord

I wasn’t feeling this one all too well, and I believe it is because it was condensed into a short story and not a fully length novel. The whole idea is so intriguing and has a lot of hope with it, but I feel it needed to expand about 200 pages to be a five star rating.

11. Julian Breaks Every Rule ★★☆☆☆
By: Andrew Smith
Featuring: Raeleen Lemay
About: a futuristic psychopath

This kind of goes along with what I said earlier: It needs to be longer to fully grasp the idea the author is trying to lay out. The main character wasn’t sure he was causing the “villainous thing” that keeps happening, which was nice because he wasn’t out-right evil, but then again, I wanted to expand on that more.

12. Indigo and Shade ★★★★★
By: April Genevieve Tuckolke
Featuring: Whitney Atkinson
About: the unwanted suitor from “Beauty and the Beast”

Where did Tuckolke come from? I have never read any of her stuff and this was surprisingly one of the best stories in here for me? It was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I am all about, but it was so… different and drool worthy. Her writing was unique and… I’m going to go read this again… holy crap…

13. Sera ★★☆☆☆
By: Nicola Yoon
Featuring: Steph Sinclair/Kat Kennedy
About: the god of war

While her writing was beautiful, her story just didn’t hit home with me. I’m not sure if this is her normal genre (looking at her written books) so that might be a facture as well. But the idea was cool? Maybe if (and I’ve said this 500 times) she had a little more room to write, it would have made more feels in my stone-cold heart.


I low-key wish I didn’t already know who wrote what and which booktubers influenced what because now I’ve already unconsciously pre-judged every story.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
587 reviews · 3,478 followers
July 31, 2017
"Villains take the risks our heroes can’t afford to take and make the choices our heroes are too afraid to make. They live in the Grey, and I, for one, love that sliver of space between light and dark, where things tend to be more interesting, people are more complex, and it’s harder to draw clean lines."

I bought Because You Love to Hate Me for a few reasons:

1) Marissa Meyer
2) Marissa Meyer
3) Marissa Meyer
4) Antiheroes
5) Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy from the book blog Cuddlebuggery

Meyer's The Little Android DESTROYED ME. It's a retelling of the Little Mermaid set in the same universe as the Lunar Chronicles and it took all my feels, plunked them in a blender on full mash, and stomped on them afterwards.

She's amazing at retellings, so I was really excited to see that she was revisiting the fairy tale from the Sea Witch's perspective. Unfortunately though, it doesn't have the same emotional whammy as her first interpretation. The prompt is, "What If the Sea Witch Had Previously Been in the Little Mermaid’s Shoes but Decided to Kill the Love Interest and Turn Back into a Mermaid Instead?" given by booktuber Zoe Herdt. (All authors are given a prompt, then take it from there)

The story is alright, I suppose, but I couldn't help thinking how similar it was to Fairest. And in so few pages, it's harder to see Nerit's motivations and actions as sympathetic. Instead she comes off as naive and ignorant.

One story that does deserve a mention is Cindy Pon's Chinese retelling of Medusa. She retains everything important about the myth and translates it to an imperial China setting. It's beautifully written and tragic and reminded me how often these situations still appear in real life, how prevalent rape culture and victim-blaming still is.

Mei Feng isn't your typical punch-first-ask-questions-later heroine either. She's demure and polite, how women were expected to act during these times. Yes, her society is sexist and she's following societal expectations, but feminist rebellion isn't the point of this story. It would have been too much had Pon chosen to add it. I prefer it as it is, short, with one very clear message and an ocean of meaning behind it.

I also liked Nicola Yoon's story on the God of War. Not much to add on it, though her writing style makes me want to check out her full-length works.

The booktubers' essays though were absolutely superfluous. Most talked about the short story they prompted, almost like a review and raised discussion points, but they lacked depth or complexity. Everything, absolutely everything they talked about, I knew and didn't exactly need to read several hundred words on.

I've learned a lot reading reviews here on Goodreads. On history, on politics, on minorities. I feel like more thought and importantly research could have gone into these essays to make them genuinely worthwhile. (Booktubers, you are all lovely, lovely people and I love and respect what you do, but the "essays" do not deserve the name essays.) What about how Ancient Greece used to put Medusa's head on top of women's shelters to guard them? What about a thinkpiece of how different cultures view and deal with death, in terms of Victoria Schwab's story? What about what The Little Mermaid's fairytale symbolized? These are things I would have liked to read about and stood to intellectually benefit from.

Is Because You Love to Hate Me worth reading? Depends on how many of the contributing authors you like. But be prepared for disappointment.

Profile Image for Lu .
256 reviews · 37 followers
December 31, 2017
How to become a writer, a simple guide:
1. Study hard
2. Work your ass off 24/7
3. Stay strong and have hope
4. Deal with mean publishing houses
5. Choose independent publishing
6. Cry because you thought it'd be easier
7. Cry because you thought you'd earn more

1. Start a youtube channel.

I mean, do you like food guyz? Anyone? Then why don't you become a chef and come to work with me tomorrow? After all it's the same thing, isn't it? :D :D :D

(At least I appreciate how in this case our youtubers will contribute only slightly in the writing process, but they're still going to have their words printed (in the form of a premise or prolouge of some sort, it's still unclear) - so, long story short: "I don't approve this message").

(And mind me, I don't give a fuck if these booktubers are in truth some of the best writers out there in the world - that's not the point. Because You Love to Hate Me is not happening because of their talents, Because You Love to Hate Me is not happening because of their magic with words.)
Profile Image for sreeja.
64 reviews · 310 followers
October 23, 2017
This book had some amazing stories but I did love to hate a majority of the stories in this book ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Most of the bad stories weren’t as horrible as the story of ‘Jack’ by Ameriie, it was in a whole new level. Word of advice guys: I was a few pages into this story & it was really boring but I didn’t want to skip it because I thought maybe it would get better towards the end? Future me would very much like to teleport back and smack past me with a preferably large book (say Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) for wasting my time.
OK moving to the positive here’s a list of the stories that was worth my time
You, You it’s all about you : Adam Silvera
This was a super refreshing and different story and I was definitely surprised by the story. I loved the direction in which this story was taken from the prompt given. Yes I’m ashamed I haven’t read anything else by Adam but that’s gonna change really soon now.
The Blood Of Imuriv: Renee Ahdieh
When I was done with the story and looked at the prompt I started laughing because it was honestly so weird and Renee managed to write such an interesting story out of that prompt she definitely did a great job.
The Sea Witch: Marissa Meyer
THIS WAS REALLY GOOD, honestly that’s all I say :’)
Beautiful Venom: Cindy Pon
Not only was this a super entertaining story it also dealt with an important issue in a small span of pages. Honestly an amazing twist to the classic story.
Sera: Nicola Yoon
This was such a chilling and creepy story. Me being the chicken I am, got kinda scared while reading this. Definitely an amazing read I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
Death Knell: Victoria Schwab
Obviously had to save the best for last. I am in love with this story and Victoria like how does she write such amazing stories??? I just I have no words this was an amazing story :’)
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews · 189 followers
July 11, 2019
It's clear (...and it was clear from their books) that some writers can't write believable villains. This showed me that some of them can't write short stories either.

[the only story really worth reading was Death Knell by Victoria Schwab. The others were from unremarkable to outright bad, and let's not even talk about the booktuber parts]
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
978 reviews · 239 followers
December 7, 2017
Even though I'm typically not one to read anthologies as I'm not a huge fan of short stories/essays, I picked this one up for a couple of reasons. First, this anthology included some authors that I enjoy in contribution with a lot of the bloggers/"book tubers"/influencers that I watch on YouTube. I was intrigued to see the writing behind some of the personalities that I watch. The second reason I picked this up is because of the concept. I love villains. Weird right? Maybe I don't love them in the moment of reading of their evilness but I love the psychology and background behind their villainous ways. How does a villain become a villain? This whole idea and the novels that are developed based on villain's backgrounds (Heartless, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Unhooked, etc) truly fascinate me. In fact, if you have any recommendations of novels identifying a familiar villain's background and how they have became evil, leave a comment below!

Anyway, back to the review. So like I said, even though I'm not typically a fan of anthologies...I did enjoy this one. Some of the stories I didn't particularly like but I think the majority of them I did. It's hard with an anthology because with a compilation of stories, some may not be as enjoyable or as developed as another so readers are probably going to like some of the stories as well as dislike others. The stories that were most memorable and favourable to me were the Sea Witch story, Medusa's story, and Jack's story of the Giant Beanstalk fame.

Overall, I think it was a nice combination of short stories and I did think the contributions from these online influencers were beneficial. I wouldn't rave about this anthology but would recommend it to those like me who look for stories or extra tidbits regarding villain's backgrounds.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,089 reviews · 7,946 followers
July 29, 2017
As with any anthology or collection of short stories, there are going to be some you like and some you don't like, maybe even some you love...and some you hate (see what I did there?). That's exactly how I felt with this anthology—though I will say there were none that I vehemently hated, just maybe didn't *love*.

If you haven't heard about this book, here's the lowdown: it's a collection of 13 stories written by 13 (primarily) YA authors based on prompts from 13 booktubers/book bloggers. The authors were given an idea from their respective blogger and had to write a story around it, with the caveat that they were writing from the perspective of or about a villain. So all the stories take some sort of twist on a classic villain trope.

The stories that stood out most to me were actually the ones that relied least on, or at least resembled least, the original villain trope/story. I enjoyed not necessarily recognizing the trope until the end, because the ones that relied so heavily on your knowledge of the trope ended up taking me out of the story— and thus, I couldn't enjoy the one I was reading for only identifying the things from the original instead.

My favorites were the stories by Cindy Pon (wow! she's an amazing writer! Definitely have to check out more of her stuff), Samantha Shannon (duh, I love her writing, her characterization, everything about her and that prompt was A+), Nicola Yoon (so creepy! It was so unexpected coming from a YA contemporary author), and Victoria Schwab (this one surprised me because I have a love/hate relationship with her books, but this was a definite love).
Profile Image for Kawther.
90 reviews · 274 followers
August 6, 2017
I wanted to love this book so freaking much, you have no idea how much i wanted to love it
This is breaking my poor villainish heart into million pieces

The title is so beautiful , the cover is so beautiful , the concept is so beautiful , the pages inside are so beautiful ....

Some are stories, the others are more villain discussion, the discussions are pretty spot on and more entertaining than the stories, but not that great to be honest.

The ones that stood up for me the most are:

The Evil Vaccine by Christine Riccio, It made me laugh too much, it's perfect.

Dear Death by Jesse George, so beautifully written! I enjoyed every heartbreaking moment i had while reading it, it's my favorite in this book.

So I only liked two stories, But the other ones had nice passages, yet that's not an excuse.

This isn't very bad to be honest, but I'm very disappointed because i expected waaay more. I was expecting more evil things perhaps


would i recommend it? no (maybe yes if you really like pretty covers)

Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews · 1,403 followers
September 9, 2017
Thank-you to Bloomsbury Australia who sent me a copy to review. This in no way impacted my thoughts and all opinions remain my own

This review (and others) is also featured on my blog in much better formatting.


Because You Love To Hate Me is a hard book to rate. I really struggled with it. This is because the book is a collection of stories from thirteen authors with thirteen BookTubers having their say on what was written (basically writing essays on the author's work). It was strange in some parts and I really struggled with some stories. However, there are stories I basically devoured and wanted in full-length novels.

Do you see why I struggled now?

This review will split into my talking about each story and hopefully keep it relatively short and sweet (we'll see). No time to waste, let's jump into this!

The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh


Renée's writing is usually a hit or miss for me. I couldn't stand Wrath of the Dawn but I loved Flame In The Mist. So, I was really feeling mediocre about The Blood of Imuriv. It was clear to see the shape the story was taking throughout this piece, but it would have been a lot better if it could have been stretched to fill a whole book, I think.

The ending was just too quick though I did enjoy it. It really did show the villain element of this anthology very well. I just feel this story would have been a lot more enjoyable if the feelings of the POV were explained in a longer format.

Jack by Ameriie


I really enjoyed Jack. I wasn't sure I would, as it is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk a narrative I have never really cared for my whole life no many how many movies it gets turned into. However, I loved this piece. It has to be one of my favourites in the whole anthology.

The build up and tension were so well done. The author hints at nothing which results in the ending of the story and I was left speechless when I did reach the end. Unable to believe that that happened. I'm not sure why I was so shocked, this is a book about villains.

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani


Gwen and Art and Lance was a story that took me a hot minute to work out it was a mixed retelling of both King Arthur and the story of Hades and Persephone. However, when I worked it out I was so on board. I am low key trash for King Arthur retellings. I have probably watched that Avalon High movie by Disney around fifty times (no matter how cheesy it is).

This particular story is told through texts our main character, Gwen, has with others. It was such an interesting way of telling this particular story that I was able to fly through it faster than the others in the anthology.

No matter how much I enjoyed it, though, I didn't really see it as a villain story. It may be because I have such a traditional sense of what villains are that when the person isn't doing evil things I don't class them under the category. A really interesting story though and very deserving of four stars.

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard


I can't speak much on Shirley & Jim. Mainly because I didn't actually finish the story. I know, sue me. I'm not a fan of Sherlock Holmes and basically, every single reference and action were going straight over my head to the point I was so mad I had to skim. I was also struggling greatly with the writing style; I found it hard to follow and was not connecting to a single character in the piece.

The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni


This is another story I didn't particularly enjoy. The Blessing of Little Wants just wasn't for me. I was not enjoying it and I was quite done with the characters. I believe this story was about witches, our two main characters are two of the most powerful witches of their age but have to hide it.

The writing itself didn't feel...magical. I'm not sure if that makes sense. I like my witch stories to have a magical sense to them so I feel like this could exist in this reality. However, I did not get that from this particular story.

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer


A Little Mermaid retelling calls to me in more ways than one. When I was younger my favourite Disney films were The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. However, my grandparents latched onto The Little Mermaid since I watched that with them and bought me so many stickers. They actually still use them. So, seeing this story in the anthology had me excited.

Marissa Meyer didn't disappoint either. I adored her Lunar Chronicles series and if only she would extend this story into a full-length novel, I would be happy. Mainly because of Nerit, our main character is such a good villain. She is ruthless and bides her time to search revenge. She goes through transformations for other people but finally realises that who she is is someone completely different.

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon

trigger warning; sexual assault & victim blaming


Much like The Little Mermaid, I am also obsessed with Greek mythology. So, a medusa tale was one I was excited for. How would this story change set in this different setting?I was very curious. I had problems though. The writing was great but the message of the piece made me mad.

Ultimately, our main character is raped. After this happens the Goddess of Purity turns her into Medusa because she "never said no" or "disinvited the interest". I don't remember the exact quote but I was not happy with the victim blaming present. The fact that is also her villain origin story didn't sit well in my boat either.

I wish these events didn't happen because the writing would have made this a solid four-star story.

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab


I say this while hiding in a castle, I don't enjoy Victoria Schwab's writing. I know. I am the actual worst. Everyone likes her writing. So, I didn't expect to like her story, Death Knell, in this anthology.

I was right. I didn't feel that the prompt given by the BookTuber translated well into this piece either (Hades wakes up at the bottom of a well in Ireland). I was incredibly confused throughout the piece and didn't quite get where it was leading or what it was supposed to mean until I read the prompt after finishing.

Marigold by Samantha Shannon


This is another story that fell short on me. Marigold just fell so short. I didn't care for the writing and I most certainly had no idea what was happening. I have never heard of the Erl-Queen and I did not get the Victorian London vibe from the piece.

I was just so confused throughout the story that I can't even speak on the villain acts that occurred or if any did. I had to spend more than an hour after finishing trying to work out the retelling that went into this and, honestly, I'm still confused.

You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera


Adam Silvera can write. Boy, can this guy write amazingly. I have read two out of three of his books and loved both. I knew I would love his story, You, You, It's All About You. And, sure as heck, I loved it.

This is the example of a story I need in a 600-page novel. I want to completely devour it and sit there screaming about how anti-heroes are the only ones we need. The prompt for this piece was simply 'teen girl drug lord with a mask' and Adam made this story his bitch.

The backstory and writing throughout this piece is flawless. I just can't fault a single thing. The way Adam weaves a villain character into one I felt sympathy for was brilliant. I truly can't wait to read more of his upcoming works.

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith


If I had to describe Julian Breaks every Rule, it would be disappointing. I was really expecting...more. With a prompt that is a psychopath in a futuristic setting, you tend to expect...well exactly what the prompt is. That is not what this piece delivers. I was disappointed in the lack of on the page villain acts.

The piece ends off on an ominous note but I feel if it had started from the end it would have been a lot stronger. It was just a very mediocre story that would have been better if it had been extended into a longer narrative, I think.

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke


Now, Indigo and Shade has to be one of the most interesting stories in this anthology. A retelling about Gaston where he isn't that villainous. I was interested. It was incredibly well done too...if this wasn't an anthology of villains. I would have loved this story any other time, the writing was excellent and it was so engaging as a reader. It did feature insta-love but in this particular story, Gaston is so close to getting the girl.

It could have also been a longer piece and I would not have been made in the slightest.

Sera by Nicola Yoon


Gender flipped war God? Sign me the fuck up. I loved this story. This was what I wanted. It was so well written and so brilliant that I could not put the book down once I had started.

I am just speechless apart from the word awesome. I truly didn't expect this when I started this story and I was left mouth agape and absorbed. The fact both characters are villains in this piece is interesting since it is in ways you would never expect. It is insane to me just how perfectly this story fit both the prompt and idea of the anthology.

Definitely giving Nicola Yoon all the praise for this story. A true masterpiece.

So, there we have it. Probably one of the longest posts I've written on my blog but I really had some opinions and thoughts about these stories. Despite my ratings for each story, this anthology was so well executed. The essays by the BookTubers added an extra something that can be read at a later date if you choose to. The prompts they chose are also very interesting.

Have you read this anthology? What was your favourite story?
Profile Image for alana ♡.
637 reviews · 1,231 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 11, 2017
This had so much potential, it really did.
I tried to like this & I wanted to like this but I just can't.
I read half of the stories to try and give this book a fair chance and they all were disappointing.
I even tried taking a mini break from this book and coming back it with a clear head and I've had no desire to do so.

So here we are, another DNF.

Don't waste your money.
Profile Image for Errin.
388 reviews · 90 followers
Shelved as 'to-read-highly-anticipated'
July 1, 2017
This is such a fun idea! Here's the article that explains this anthology, I can't wait! I love Christine, Jesse, Sam, Sophia, and Whitney's videos and I'm so happy for everyone involved!

Regarding negativity, some people are upset about how easy or unfair it is that youtubers are published. 1) They didn't write the actual stories. They provided villain related prompts for authors to write about and short essays on good and evil. 2) Booktubers and bloggers work hard to provide thoughtful content and gain an audience, why shouldn't their efforts lead them to some recognition and payoff in a field they are passionate about? Idk that's just my opinion.
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