Join fifteen bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors as they reimagine some of the most popular tropes in the romance genre.
Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet.
Rebecca Podos' debut novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, LIKE WATER, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children's and Young Adult. THE WISE AND THE WICKED, her third novel, was recently released. Her forthcoming books include FOOLS IN LOVE (Running Press Kids, 2021) a co-edited YA anthology with author Ashley Herring Blake, and FROM DUST, A FLAME (Balzer + Bray, 2022). A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College, she’s an agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston by day.
Fools in Love is, overall, a very solid anthology. It’s full of stories I loved (although, yes, there were a handful I very much did not love), and ones I want to come back to. If I averaged out my ratings of each story, this apparently merits a 3-star rating, but I enjoyed reading it enough to give it 4-stars instead.
⇒ Silver and Gold by Natasha Ngan / 4
Rep: sapphic mc, bi/pan li
For a long while, this was my favourite of the stories. It’s a masterpiece in how to get you caring about characters, a relationship, and a whole world in less than 20 pages. I knew, from Girls of Paper and Fire, that I was going to love Natasha Ngan’s story, and I was blissfully proven right. Set in a world that might be fantasy, might not be, it’s a little second chance romance between competitors in a race, stuck in a tent together overnight while a storm rages around them. It’s the kind of story that works perfectly in an anthology: it leaves you both satisfied and wanting more.
⇒ Five Stars by Amy Spalding / 2
Rep: sapphic mc, sapphic li with anxiety
I think it’s time to admit that Amy Spalding and I just do not get along. There was nothing outright wrong with this story, but I just found myself not caring about it. It’s a cute enough story I suppose, but there’s something about Amy Spalding’s main characters that I don’t vibe with.
⇒ Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks by Rebecca Kim Wells / 3.5
Rep: sapphic mc, lesbian li
I will fess up to the fact that I was… somewhat wary going into this story, on account of the title. But there was a massive amount of whiplash between the title and what the story was about. It actually follows two members of a magic school, rivals for first and second place in their graduating class, paired together on their final exam in a village in the middle of nowhere. I loved the dynamic between the characters, and their burgeoning romance. It was really cute, up until the part that the title references which was… just a bit weird and felt, in the nicest way possible (admittedly not so possible), like a small child’s idea of something funny. But given how off-putting I found the title, I think we should chalk it up as a win.
⇒ Edges by Ashley Herring Blake / 3
Rep: bi mc, lesbian li
Ashley Herring Blake is one of those authors I can go into their books knowing that I’ll enjoy whatever’s written. So I was always going to like her story in this anthology, and, guess what!, I did. But. If I’m going to be picky, I only ever really liked it. Nothing more. It’s a story based on the grumpy/sunshine trope, here between one student tutoring another, which… I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of, but neither am I not a fan. I feel that in this case, though, I needed it to be a full-length story to really get behind their relationship.
⇒ What Makes Us Heroes by Julian Winters / 1
Rep: Black gay mc & li, bi side character
If Julian Winters’ story in the Up All Night anthology was contrasted by the other contributors such that it ended up as my favourite of them all, then the complete opposite happened here. The concept itself is very good—fake dating superheroes, to not be humiliated in front of one of their exes—but the execution. Good lord the execution. The writing is cringy and preachy and honestly, if I’d have skipped this one out entirely, I don’t think I’d have missed a thing. I thought that perhaps I could rate it 2 stars, to be kind, up until this quote:
“Wait sweetheart—” “Oh no, I don’t do pet names. It’s Gabriela or Gabi. Damn the patriarchy,” Gabi shouts back.
I mean. What do you even say to that?
⇒ And by Hannah Moskowitz / 2.5
Rep: bi characters, polyamory
This is a story that could definitely have benefited from being longer. It’s about a girl who ends up dating two boys, who subsequently end up falling for one another. I really liked that it represented polyamory (the only case of it in this anthology), and also that it was a case of it where they were all in love with one another. However. Hannah Moskowitz obviously wanted to cover the entire progression of their relationships, from first meeting the third member of the relationship, up to all of them together, and the short story format just didn’t work for that. It ended up feeling very bitty, jumping between events so rapidly that you can’t really believe in the progression of their relationship. There were hints at discussions to be had, negotiations to be made, but, with this story clocking in at the shortest, none of that really made it to the page. Overall, it was just a bit disappointing.
⇒ My Best Friend's Girl by Sara Farizan / 4
Rep: Persian lesbian mc, Chinese American bi li
I started this story thinking it would be straight. I really should have trusted more in Sara Farizan, because it really wasn’t, and also it ended up being possibly my fourth favourite story in the whole anthology (yes, I have rankings). It’s a story about a girl who has to cover for her best friend (who is a superhero) with his girlfriend, who she happens to be in love with herself. The relationships in it were very sweet and I loved how it turned out at the end (no spoilers though).
⇒ (Fairy)Like Attracts Like by Claire Kann / 2
Rep: Black sapphic mc, sapphic li
What more can I say about this than simply, I just didn’t like the writing. I couldn��t say what it was about it, but I didn’t enjoy reading it. And so, I didn’t care about the story, I didn’t care about the characters, it was just. Not up there as a favourite, to say the least. It probably also didn’t help that much that I genuinely couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a fantasy or contemporary story (I think I landed on fantasy). Probably one I could have skipped, in fairness.
⇒ These Strings by Lilliam Rivera / 1
Rep: Latinx cast
I hate to say it, but I think this was my least favourite story of all. Yeah, I’m surprised it beat out Julian Winters’ too, given how little I enjoyed that one. But this one? I don’t quite know how to describe the amount of pain it put me through. This was a play on the sibling’s best friend trope, but it somehow managed to hit all the worst parts of it (I thought these stories were supposed to be reimaginings?). Misogyny? Check. Overprotective brother? Check once, check twice because he actually gets into a physical fight over it all. Add onto that really bad writing? Well. Is this 1-star review any real surprise?
⇒ The Passover Date by Laura Silverman / 3
Rep: Jewish mcs
A welcome antidote after the hell I was put through in the previous story. It’s a very sweet tale featuring fake dating, where the mc’s family insists on people bringing dates to their Passover celebration (as a tradition), so the mc plucks up her courage and asks a boy she used to be friends with (and has a minor crush on) to play the role of her date. And, of course, he’s more than happy to because he has a crush on her. Truly, I think these two characters could carry an entire story, it’s one of those ones you just want more and more of.
⇒ Bloom by Rebecca Barrow / 5
Rep: Black sapphic mc & li
By far and away my favourite contribution. It took me a single page of this story to work that out. It combines gorgeous writing, pining, themes of grief and love and revenge, and a beautiful romance between a girl and the daughter of the man who murdered her mother. I’m not sure how to describe just how much I adored this one. It’s the kind of story that just stays with you, haunts you really, and I just know I’m going to be thinking about it forever.
⇒ Teed Up by Gloria Chao / 3
Rep: Taiwanese American mc
It’s safe to say I do not give two shits about golf. As part of my degree I had to do a presentation based around golf (and psychological strategies golfers could use), and it was the most boring few weeks of my life. I refused to learn any terminology then, and I refuse still now. However! There is good news. While I still don’t care about golf, Gloria Chao did get me caring about Sunny and Liam, so I think we should all take that one as a win.
⇒ Boys Noise by Mason Deaver / 3
Rep: trans gay mc, achillean li
There’s not much for me to say about this one, in all honesty. It was a cute, friends/bandmates to lovers story, one I thought perhaps I might want more of (although whether the story has the mileage to stretch to a full-length novel is another matter), but it didn’t really stand out to me (apart from the fact it’s the only story in this anthology with trans rep—a little disappointing to be fair). It was a nice read, and I enjoyed it, but never much more.
⇒ Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Malinda Lo / 2
Rep: Chinese-coded cast, sapphic mc & li
Writing this review, it took me a good few seconds to remember what this story was about. That probably says more about me than the story, but I did find it kind of bland, with not a whole lot to it. But. I should also admit that I’ve never really loved Malinda Lo’s stories (barely even liked some of them, to be brutally honest), so we should all have seen this one coming.
⇒ Disaster by Rebecca Podos / 4.5
Rep: Jewish lesbian mc, bi li
The fact that this story is what ends the anthology may well be the reason I rated this 4 stars, instead of the average of all the stories (approximately 3 stars). If Rebecca Barrow’s story hadn’t blown me away earlier in the collection, this would be my favourite one. A second chance romance, at the end of the world? That uses the word lesbian multiple times? One that makes you root for the characters, in just a few pages? It’s probably the perfect short story. And, while it does leave you on a bit of a cliffhanger, it leaves you with a feeling of hope overall.
A wonderful anthology, one that proves that young adult literature has so much more to go - and that's what makes this anthology so exciting.
- An anthology of modern twists on romance tropes, with stories ranging from contemporary to science-fiction to fantasy. - If you love tropey romances, then this is the anthology for you. Even if you don't love all of the stories, I think at least a few of the stories here will resonate with romance lovers. - Some of the stories weren't really for me, but that's okay. Even though they weren't personal favourites for me, I think the stories are strong enough that someone out there will love it. - My personal favourites of the story were Rebecca Barrow’s Bloom (a take on the 'love that transcends space time' trope) and Malinda Lo’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun (a twist on the 'secret royalty' trope.
FOOLS IN LOVE is an eclectic collection of joyful teenage teenage love stories, and I loved every second of reading them. Many of these stories struck me as very experimental; concepts and techniques are developed in these stories that you wouldn't see from a full-length YA novel, which was very refreshing, if not risky. Of course, given the diversity in genre and author style there were stories I preferred over others; however there is truly something for everyone in this collection.
Standout stories were written by: Mason Deaver, Julian Winters, Ashley Herring Blake, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding and Lilliam Rivera. (AKA the contemporary ones, which is my preferred genre)
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Fools in love is a collection of short stories that features 15 authors that took on the task to write a story based on the most famous love tropes out there. As everyone, I do have my favourite tropes when it comes to romance, but it was still nice to read such a variety of them. I do believe that as a whole this collection was cohesive and enjoyable.
My ratings for each individual story are:
- Silver and Gold by Natasha Ngan 4/5 - Five Stars by Amy Spalding 3/5 - Unfortunately, blobs do not eat snacks by Rebecca Kim Wells 3/5 - Edges by Ashley Herring Blake 3.5/5 - What makes us heroes by Julian Winters 3/5 - And by Hannah Moskowitz 4.25/5 - My best friend’s girl by Sara Farizan 3/5 - (Fairy)like attracts like by Claire Kann 2/5 - These strings by William Rivera 2.5/5 - The passover date by Laura Silverman 3.5/5 - Bloom by Rebecca Barrow 4/5 - Teed up by Gloria Chao 3.5/5 - Boys noise by Mason Deaver 4/5 - Girls just want to have fun by Malinda Lo 2.5/5 - Disaster by Rebecca Podos 2.5/5
rep: Silver and Gold by Natasha Ngan: sapphic mc, bi/pan li Five Stars by Amy Spalding: sapphic mc, sapphic li with anxiety Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks by Rebecca Kim Wells: sapphic mc, lesbian li Edges by Ashley Herring Blake: bi mc, lesbian li What Makes Us Heroes by Julian Winters: Black gay mc & li, bi side character And by Hannah Moskowitz: bi characters, polyamory My Best Friend's Girl by Sara Farizan: Persian lesbian mc, Chinese American bi li (Fairy)Like Attracts Like by Claire Kann: Black sapphic mc, sapphic li These Strings by Lilliam Rivera: Latinx cast The Passover Date by Laura Silverman: Jewish mcs Bloom by Rebecca Barrow: Black sapphic mc & li Teed Up by Gloria Chao: Taiwanese American mc Boys Noise by Mason Deaver: trans gay mc, achillean li Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Malinda Lo: Chinese-coded cast, sapphic mc & li Disaster by Rebecca Podos: Jewish lesbian mc, bi li
I'm so proud to be a part of this diverse anthology full of incredible authors I've long admired! I love how each writer brings a fresh perspective on their trope and the flow of the stories - with such an eclectic mix of genres - works so well to keep you guessing what's coming next. The perfect cosy, good-feel holiday read <3
A delightfully entertaining anthology which breathes new life into familiar romance tropes such as “Snowed In Together,” “Only One Bed,” “Mistaken Identity” and “Fake Dating.” There’s an amazing amount of diversity and representation here, with the majority featuring LGBTQ characters and relationships. The overall balance skews a little more towards f/f pairings, but bi, gay, trans, and straight characters all have their time in the spotlight as well. The selections range across genre, including contemporary, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, and superheroes. As to be expected by a romance collection, the tone tends to be joyous and uplifting, but the authors don’t always shy away from conflict and complicated emotions. My only real complaint is that many stories feel too short, ending too soon and leaving the reader wanting more.
While every story is satisfying, my personal favorites include “Five Stars” by Amy Spalding, “My Best Friend’s Girl” by Sara Farizan, “(Fairy)Like Attracts Like” by Claire Kann, “Edges” by Ashley Herring Blake, “Boys Noise” by Mason Deaver, and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Malinda Lo.
Highly recommended for readers in search of cute, entertaining, queer-inclusive romantic YA.
2.5 stars rounded up. I love short story compilations. They make it easy to read a quick story here and there and not have to follow a storyline or think too deeply about it all. But many of these stories felt too short. They would barely introduce the main characters before it was over. The few longer stories just didn't hold my attention. A few of the scenes started truly horrific - like the opening to a horror story - and I just couldn't find them romantic or sweet. This set just didn't work for me - but I did love the diversity in the characters and I think the stories will work for others as cute, quick reads.
A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
I normally end up reading anthologies one story at a time, and it usually takes me quite a while to get through them. I could not put this one down though - I would finish one story and then be like: "oh! That next story sounds amazing!!" • Natasha Ngan - Silver and Gold ("Snowed in Together") 5/5
This was just a perfect short story. Perfect. It's a sapphic story about two girls competing against each other in a deadly race, which is the coolest concept ever and which would be amazing to read a full-length novel about. Here we're just getting one night of the race, so we're not really getting the beginning or ending, and it works incredibly well. I always love stories about people who find each other in harsh environments and have to learn to be soft together, and this story had me really wanting that for the main character. • Amy Spalding - Five Stars ("Mistaken Identity") 5/5
This story starts off so funny, with the main character's crush mistaking her for her ride share driver. And the rest of the story is just as hilarious, because instead of correcting the mistake, the main character of course drives her to her destination instead. As one does. This is again a sapphic story, yay!
"OMG KRISTA YOU KIDNAPPED YOUR FIRST IRL CRUSH BUT STILL MANAGED TO GET HER NUMBER? You are a hero for awkward girls everywhere." • Rebecca Kim Wells - Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks ("Kissing Under the Influence") 3/5
This is the only new-to-me author in this anthology, so it was fun reading from them. This was again a sapphic story, and I did have fun reading it, although I definitely enjoyed it less than the previous two stories. The reason for that is two-fold: I didn't like the writing style that much, and I found the story lacked some necessary context and world-building. Again we're thrown in the middle of the story, which is fine but that does make it important to give a clear setting and we just didn't get that here. I did like how the trope was handled when it actually was, but it took quite some time and I felt like it was over again quite soon as well. Overall I feel like this was more a (one-sided) enemies to lovers story. • Ashley Herring Blake - Edges ("The Grumpy and the Soft One") 5/5
Another sapphic story! Ashley Herring Blake is one of my favourite authors, and the soft vs. grumpy trope is my current favourite trope, so this story was a 5 star prediction for me and of course I was right! For how short this was, this story was chockfull of emotion and I almost cried. It's about the importance of communicating your wants and needs in a relationship and sometimes your own lack of self worth can get in the way of how you treat others, because you'll make assumptions about what they do or don't want from you. • Julian Winters - What Makes Us Heroes ("Hero vs. Villain") 4/5
Julian Winters is another one of my favourite authors, and since he usually writes contemporary, it was really fun to read a superhero story from him! This is an achillean story and I really liked the exploration of what makes someone a villain and, again, how quick people can be to make assumptions. I would have like to see a little more world-building, though, but this was some solid fun! • Hannah Moskowitz - And ("Love Triangle") 2/5
I very much appreciate this story for making the love triangle into a polyamorous relationship. And the 2 stars is honestly all me, but I just cannot stand reading from second person POV. I find it very uncomfortable to read and very pretentious, and it's almost never done well. Seriously, the only time I liked it was in The Night Circus. So it's really all me, but yeah, I didn't like this. • Sara Farizan - My Best Friend's Girl ("Best Friend's Girlfriend") 3/5
Another sapphic story, and another superhero story! Unfortunately, this one fell kind of flat for me. It was very much okay but it didn't make much of an impact. Aside from that, I felt like we got to know the main character's best friend better than his girlfriend, which made it kind of hard to become invested in the romance. • Claire Kann - (Fairy)Like Attracts Like ("Mutual Pining") 3/5
Another sapphic story, this time about a fat Black fairy who works at a summercamp for fairies. I found the set-up for this story to be really fun, but unfortunately I didn't quite feel the pining - it all felt a little underdeveloped. • Lilliam Rivera - These Strings ("Sibling's Hot Best Friend") 3/5
Again, I really liked the set-up of the story - this time of a Latinx puppeteering family. I'm really not a fan of brothers (physically) fighting their sister's (potential) boyfriends, though. I find it really possessive and condescending, as if they own her and she can't make up her own mind. So that made me enjoy this story a lot less. • Laura Silverman - The Passover Date ("Fake Dating") 4/5
This m/f story is about a Jewish family celebrating Seder. Rachel is fed up with her family always trying to push her into a romantic relationship and asking her why she hasn't brought a date, so she comes up with the only viable solution known to romance stories: FAKE DATING. This happens to be one of my favourite tropes and this was such a cute story! • Rebecca Barrow - Bloom ("Love Transcends Space Time") 5/5
I don't even really know what to say about this story, other than that it was perfection and my heart is full. It's about grief, and trying to get back what you lost only to find something else in the process. It has cottagecore vibes, there's time travel, it's sapphic, it was just so good! • Gloria Chao - Teed Up ("Oblivious to Lovers") 2/5
This story was very much okay - it's about a Taiwanese-American girl who's a female golf player in a male-dominated and very sexist field - but it just didn't do much for me. It honestly bored me a little and I kept finding myself zoning out. It also seemed quite convenient that she falls in love with the one guy who's nice to her, the bar is just so low. I just didn't see the appeal, I guess. I also didn't really see much of the trope, personally. • Mason Deaver - Boys Noise ("Only One Bed at the Inn") 4/5
After If This Gets Out, I've been really craving more boyband romances, so this was a really great story! It wasn't quite 5 stars for me as I found that all the issues were glossed over too quickly and I found the writing style somewhat lacking at times, but despite that, I still really enjoyed this. • Malinda Lo - Girls Just Want to Have Fun ("Secret Royalty") 3/5
This story was off to a rocky start for me, and overall, the writing style didn't quite work for me. I did however think this was a really cute story that used the trope very well! I especially liked the sci-fi setting. • Rebecca Podos - Disaster ("Second Chance Romance") 3/5
I did really like the melancholical atmosphere of this story. It was again a sapphic story, set in summer, and, like the trope said, with a second chance romance. I really like a second chance romance, but my issue here was that I didn't like the main character very much, so I had a hard time rooting for the romance.
Individual ratings: - Silver and Gold (Snowed in Together) by Natasha Ngan: 3⭐️ - Five Stars (Mistaken Identity) by Amy Spalding: 4⭐️ - Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks (Kissing Under the Influence) by Rebecca Kim Wells: 3⭐️ - Edges (Grumpy and Sunshine) by Ashley Herring Blake: 3⭐️ - What Makes Us Heroes (Hero vs. Villain) by Julian Winters: 4⭐️ - And (Love Triangle) by Hannah Moskowitz: 4⭐️ - My Best Friend’s Girl (Best Friend’s Girl) by Sara Farizan: 3⭐️ - (Fairy)like Attracts Like (Mutual Pining) by Claire Kann: 2⭐️ - These Strings (Sibling’s Hot Best Friend) by Lilliam Rivera: 4⭐️ *** - The Passover Date (Fake Dating) by Laura Silverman: 5⭐️ *** - Bloom (Love Transcends Space Time) by Rebecca Barrow: 4⭐️ *** - Teed Up (Oblivious to Lovers) by Gloria Chao: 5⭐️ *** - Boys Noise (Only One Bed) by Mason Deaver: 3⭐️ - Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Secret Royalty) by Malinda Lo: 3⭐️ - Disaster (Second Chance Romance) by Rebecca Podos: 3.5⭐️
Overall thoughts: When I first read the synopsis for this and saw that it was an anthology of short stories each based on a different romance trope, I was immediately interested. I love a good trope, I think they’re so fun! This anthology covered so well-beloved tropes like fake dating and only one bed while also including a few that I feel are more underrated like snowed in together and oblivious to lovers. There was really great diversity represented throughout the collection in the stories, characters and authors. This ranged from many different sexual orientations, races and religions. I’ve had the pleasure of reading a few amazing YA anthologies this year and this book now gets to join that group! I love that these were spins on “traditional” tropes with diverse couples, allowing more readers to see themselves represented in literature.
Thank you so much to Netgalley, the authors and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
The first few stories were F/F, which I, obviously, loved. It turns out that there are very few M/F romances in this collection. Most of them are F/F, a couple are M/M, and a couple are M/F. It delights me that this isn’t being marketed as just LGBTQ, because we all know romance anthologies that include no queer people at all, or only one story, so this is a nice reversal.
Some of the other premises of the stories:
- a F/F romance where the main character is too awkward to explain to her crush that she is not, in fact, her rideshare driver, so she just drives her to her location. Relatable. - a polyamorous M/M/F triad relationship that melted my heart - a summer camp where the fat femme main character cosplays as a fairy and falls for another fairy–and also she’s cursed to only tell the truth - a cute M/F fake dating at Passover story - a trans M/M boy band romance - It’s (probably) the end of the world, with a comet on its way to Earth. What else do you do but break into the zoo with your ex girlfriend to pet the giraffes?
This has all the fuzzy feelings I expect from romance stories, but with a sprinkling of drama and even some action. The variety in genres kept it feeling exciting, and I really liked the tropes format. If you want a cozy romantic read this December, this is a perfect choice.
I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
15 stories, 15 authors. All romantic. And I had a great time. Like all anthologies, I liked some stories more than others but overall, I really enjoyed this. I felt like the stories where just the right length and I felt for the characters and was shipping them like crazy while still never being bored. I was disappointed by some stories though but they truly were a minority. I wish I could review all the stories one by one but my memory is not what it once was. Maybe I'll reread it and will do that then... I definitely did enjoy it so much that I'll buy it and will probably reread it at some point!
Fools in Love is a collection of diverse love stories from multiple authors. I loved that all the characters were of the LGBTQ community and race inclusive.
However, I want to point out that there was nothing remarkable about the stories. None of them stood out where I went "Yup! That's my favourite!"
With 15 different short stories in this collection, after a point of time, all of them started to run into each other. It was the same "style" in each of them. Yes, there are 15 different authors, but it's like all 15 of them had the same idea when it came to the execution of their stories. The second half of the title says Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales and honestly, there were no "fresh twists" to these stories.
Furthermore, the stories had plot lines that seemed to be better suited for full-length novels. Another problem that I encountered was that either the plots were too detailed and took away from the leads or they barely scratched the surface.
Overall, none of these stories, except one, did it for me. It is shocking since there are so many of them to choose from. These were, at best, nice. I know there are readers out there who will love these and readers who will see themselves in these characters and stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Below you will find the individual rating for the short stories in this collection.
➜ Silver and Gold: Snowed in Together, by Natasha Ngan - 2 stars
➜Five Stars: Mistaken Identity, by Amy Spalding - 2 stars
➜ Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks: Kissing under the influence, by Rebecca Kim Wells - 2 stars
➜ Edges: The grumpy one and the soft one, by Ashley Herring Blake - 3 stars
➜ What Makes Us Heroes: Hero vs. Villain, by Julian Winters - 3 stars
➜ And: Love Triangle, by Hannah Moskowitz - 1 star
➜ My Best Friend's Girl: Best friend's girlfriend, by Sara Farizan - 1 star
➜ (Fairy)Like Attracts Like: Mutual Pining, by Claire Kann - 2 stars
➜ These Strings: Sibling's Hot Best Friend, by Lilliam Rivera - 2 stars
➜ The Passover Date: Fake Dating, by Laura Silverman - 3.5 stars
➜ Bloom: Love Transcends Space & Time, by Rebecca Barrow - 2 stars
➜ Teed Up: Oblivious to Lovers, by Gloria Chao - 3 stars
➜ Boys Noise: Only One Bed at the Inn, by Mason Deaver - 3 stars
➜ Girls just want to have fun: Secret Royalty, by Malinda Lo - 1.5 stars
➜ Disaster: Second Chance Romance, by Rebecca Podos - 1.5 stars
I picked this up because Mason Deaver has a story in this anthology, but three are stories by many great authors. This is really great if you're looking for something short and cute.
This is a great collection of short queer and BIPOC stories that range from regular contemporary stories to whole new fantasy universes all including fools in love. All reimaginings of popular tropes, this book includes many fun situations such as love triangle, fake dating, only one bed among so many other great ones interpreted in new ways or staying true to its roots.
Some of these stories were great, some weren't, some could've been better given a longer page count. There were a few stories I really liked, only one or two I didn't enjoy and the rest I we're good but needed more time to be developed. Many of these stories I would love to see as full length novels, especially Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks.
DRC provided by Perseus Books, Running Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Representation: queer protagonists of colour, queer white protagonist, lesbian white protagonist, bisexual white protagonist, queer Black protagonist, queer fat Black protagonist, Latine protagonist, Jewish protagonist, queer protagonist, Taiwanese protagonist, gay trans white protagonist, queer Chinese-coded protagonist, lesbian Jewish protagonist, bisexual secondary character of colour, lesbian white secondary characters, queer Black secondary character, queer secondary character of colour, Jewish secondary characters, queer white secondary characters, queer Chinese-coded secondary character, bisexual white secondary character, bisexual white tertiary character, Latine tertiary characters, Jewish tertiary characters, tertiary characters of colour, Taiwanese tertiary characters.
Fools in Love edited by Rebecca Podos and Ashley Herring Blake is a beautiful anthology about love with a myriad of different characters from numerous backgrounds, with various identities and sexualities.
Silver and Gold “Snowed in Together” by Natasha Ngan ★★★★
Five Stars “Mistaken Identity” by Amy Spalding ★★★★★
Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks “Kissing Under the Influence” by Rebecca Kim Wells ★★★
Edges “The Grumpy One and the Soft One” by Ashley Herring Blake ★★★★★
What Makes Us Heroes “Hero vs. Villain” by Julian Winters ★★★★
And “Love Triangle” Hannah Moskowitz: I do not read stories by bullies.
My Best Friend’s Girl “Best Friend’s Girlfriend” by Sara Farizan ★★★★★
(Fairy)like Attracts Like “Mutual Pining” by Claire Kann ★★★★
These Strings “Sibling’s Hot Best Friend” by Lilliam Rivera ★★
The Passover Date “Fake Dating” by Laura Silverman ★★★,5
Bloom “Love Transcends Space Time” by Rebecca Barrow ★★★★
Teed Up “Oblivious to Lovers” by Gloria Chao ★★★,5
Boys Noise “Only One Bed at the Inn” by Mason Deaver ★★★★
Girls Just Want to Have Fun “Secret Royalty” by Malinda Lo ★★★★,5
Disaster “Second Chance Romance” by Rebecca Podos ★★★★,5
An anthology of short stories that will make you giggle delighted with people that are falling in love in such unusual situations and with such interesting tropes.
- Silver and Gold (Snowed in Together) by Natasha Ngan: 6⭐️ - Five Stars (Mistaken Identity) by Amy Spalding: 9⭐️ - Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks (Kissing Under the Influence) by Rebecca Kim Wells: 5⭐️ - Edges (Grumpy and Sunshine) by Ashley Herring Blake: 8⭐️ - What Makes Us Heroes (Hero vs. Villain) by Julian Winters: 10⭐️ - And (Love Triangle) by Hannah Moskowitz: 2⭐️ - My Best Friend’s Girl (Best Friend’s Girl) by Sara Farizan: 2⭐️ - (Fairy)like Attracts Like (Mutual Pining) by Claire Kann: 6⭐️ - These Strings (Sibling’s Hot Best Friend) by Lilliam Rivera: 9⭐️ - The Passover Date (Fake Dating) by Laura Silverman: 10⭐️ - Bloom (Love Transcends Space Time) by Rebecca Barrow: 10⭐️ - Teed Up (Oblivious to Lovers) by Gloria Chao: 10⭐️ - Boys Noise (Only One Bed) by Mason Deaver: 10⭐️ - Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Secret Royalty) by Malinda Lo: 8⭐️ - Disaster (Second Chance Romance) by Rebecca Podos: 5⭐️
A set of beautiful, nice stories Was happy I got the chance to read. I loved the diversity gender diversification and respectful approach, and I loved the different romances and how there were different, unique tropes in every one. well done
Fools In Love by Rebecca Barrow; Gloria Chao; Mason Deaver; Sara Farizan; Claire Kann; Malinda Lo; Hannah Moskowitz; Natasha Ngan; Lilliam Rivera; Laura Silverman; Amy Spalding; Rebecca Kim Wells; Julian Winters. #FoolsInLove #NetGalley [NetGalley URL]
Fools in Love is a wonderful anthology full of rich and fun romance stories from a wide range of genres. While I enjoyed some more than others, almost all of these were really well done, and I'm so glad I was able to read them. It was so fun to see the different types of romantic situations these teens found themselves in. My favorite stories had to be "My Best Friend's Girl" by Sara Farizan, "Bloom" by Rebecca Barrow, and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Malinda Lo.
Below are my thoughts on each individual story, which I wrote down as I was reading.
Silver and Gold: "Snowed in Together" by Natasha Ngan
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thoughts: From the cover and the description, I was expecting all of the short stories in this anthology to be contemporaries, but I was surprised when this one started out as a fantasy-type story. It wasn't an unpleasant surprise, however. I found myself quite interested in the world and wondering what the history of it all was. I would've loved more detail about the world, but because it was a short story, I think the amount provided was really good. The two protagonists' relationships was explored quickly but sweetly, and I couldn't help but want more time with them. Overall, I thought this was a fun take on the snowed in together trope!
Five Stars: "Mistaken Identities" by Amy Spalding
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thoughts: Five Stars was more along the lines of what I was expecting the anthology to be. At first I found the writing style difficult to get into, but with how absolutely wild and crazy the situation was, I soon found myself totally hooked. I feel like I could relate to this one a bit, because as a fellow awkward person, I can totally understand how Krista got into that situation. This was fun and lighthearted and I really enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks: "Kissing Under the Influence" by Rebecca Kim Wells
Thoughts: I think I actually would've enjoyed this one better without the romance! I was really engaged with the first 3/4 of the story as they attempted to complete their exam. The world was interesting, and I always love a good magician story, but I didn't really feel any chemistry between the two leads. I felt the potential was definitely there, but because it was so short, I think it wasn't developed enough for me to become fully invested. This one was still enjoyable, though!
Edges: "The Grumpy One and the Soft One" by Ashley Herring Blake
My thoughts: this one was cute, but also demonstrated what it can be like when everything in your life is changing and when it feels as if you no longer fit. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the romance, while not public, was already pre-established before the start of this story. I feel like it made it easier for me to get invested in the couple. Overall, it was super cute and enjoyable!
What Makes Us Heroes: "Hero Vs. Villain" by Julian Winters
Thoughts: I really liked this one! I'm a sucker for superhero stories, and even more so if they're queer, and even though we didn't actually get to see any superhero action in this, I could still believe the world that was set up. I thought the two protagonists were really sweet. I'm also a huge fan of the hero and villain falling for each other, so this short story pretty much had everything going for it! I think this one might be my favorite so far, but I also really enjoyed Snowed In, so I'm not sure yet.
And: "Love Triangle" by Hannah Moskowitz
My thoughts: my first thought upon seeing that "And" would be featuring a love triangle was somewhere along the lines of, "oh boy, here we go." Because if there are any tropes I dislike, it is a love triangle. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the direction this story took. My biggest complaint was actually the writing style. Because it was written in second person, I couldn't connect with the main character, because it felt like it was supposed to be me, but I didn't relate to them at all. Despite that, I still did enjoy the story. It was different and not what I was expecting. I wish it had been a few pages longer, but I do like where it ended.
My Best Friend's Girl: "Best Friend's Girlfriend" by Sara Farizan
My thoughts: another superhero story? Yes, please! This one is easily my favorite of what I've read so far. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy superhero stories a lot, and this one showcased several of the things I love about these kinds of stories. While we didn't get a lot of world building time, the amount that was done was really good. I could easily imagine the superheroes and villains, where they come from, and why they're still there. I also really liked all three main characters. I sympathized for Hal who wanted to try to be a normal dude, but felt loyal to his superhero alias and wanted desperately to protect the city. But at the same time I felt bad for both Alia and Clara who were always left behind when he had to go running off to fight the villains. Alia's and Clara's relationship progression was completely believable, and their chemistry was so sweet. This one was so much fun to read!
(Fairy) Like Attracts Like: "Mutual Pining" by Claire Kann
My rating: 4/5
Thoughts: this one was so unique! All of the stories up until this point have been very different from one another, but I felt this one took it a step further. I particularly enjoyed the fairy camp premise. It made me wish there'd been something like that for me when I was younger, because I know I would've loved that. The main characters were also incredibly interesting and intriguing, and I wish I'd gotten to know more about them and the world. Overall, this was a great read and I really enjoyed my time with it!
These Strings: "Sibling's Hot Best Friend" by Lilliam Rivera
Thoughts: I'm not sure why, but I never got fully invested in this one. It wasn't bad by any means, but I don't think this particular story was for me. I couldn't bring myself to feel much for any of the characters, though I could sympathize with Lilli wanting her voice to finally be heard. I think this was an instance of it's not the book, it's me.
The Passover Date: "Fake Dating" by Laura Silverman
Thoughts: fake dating is a trope that I will read over and over again. I'm also a fan of the trope of two people being friends, then falling out of touch, only to come back sometime in the future and fall in love. This story had both of these! I thought it was super cute and I really enjoyed the romance between the two main characters. This is one I'd totally love to see expanded into a novel.
Bloom: "Love Transcends Space Time" by Rebecca Barrow
Thoughts: this was a lovely slowburn featuring a really cool concept about travelling through time to be with the one you love. Bloom was longer than some of the others, and I loved it. Even though the two main characters meet only briefly before they have to leave each other again, I immediately felt the connection between the two. It was a wonderful story that I would love to see expanded upon (especially how the world works and what the rules are), or maybe even turned into a movie.
Teed Up: "Oblivious to Lovers" by Gloria Chao
Thoughts: I honestly have no interest in golf, so I'm really impressed that this story managed to get me invested considering all of it surrounded golf. I thought this story did a fantastic job of showing what it's like to feel pressure to continue doing something, even if you no longer love it, be it from a sense of obligation, wanting to please one's parents, or what have you. I thought this was really well done, and while I enjoyed the romance, I felt the main focus of the story was more about that pressure and sense of duty that comes with a commitment, and I really appreciated that.
Boys Noise: "Only One Bed at the Inn" by Mason Deaver
Thoughts: I loved to see the trans representation in this one. While we've seen all kinds of pairings and couples up until this point, there had yet to be any trans rep, so I was very excited to see that! As for the story, my only real problem with it was that I had a hard time connecting to the writing style, but overall, I thought this one was cute and fun, and I really enjoyed reading it.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun: "Secret Royalty" by Malinda Lo
Thoughts: Two things: I absolutely loved this, and now I want noodles. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun did a fantastic job of creating a world and immersing the reader within such a short amount of time. Not only that, but I was just as interested in the characters and their growing relationship. This one was really well done, and I would love to see a story set in this world.
Disaster: "Second Chance Romance" by Rebecca Podos
Thoughts: this story totally nailed the bleakness that one would certainly feel towards the end of the world. I thought it helped to put into perspective what our choices mean, and how even though we feel like we have all the time left in the world, that's never the case, because anything can happen (like an asteroid crashing into earth for example). While this one was a bleak, yet hopeful way to end things, I really liked it.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
- Silver & Gold, Snowed In Together (3,5 Stars) - this was really cute and such a interesting story fantasy wise. - Five Stars, Mistaken Identity (4 Stars) - loved the writing style, even though it was very short I liked the MC immediately and loved how weird and cute this story was. - Unfortunately, Blobs do not…, Kissing Under the Influence (4 Stars) - again, I LOVED the fantasy aspects! They were so interesting and the MC & her love interest were adorable. - Edges, Grump & Sunshine (3,5 Stars) - This story wasn’t as memorable but I remember really liking it while reading? Even though I can’t remember a lot. - What Makes Us Heroes, Hero vs. Villain (4 Stars) - this was surprisingly good, I don’t know what I expected from a hero & villain story, but I really enjoyed it. Especially the discussion about prejudice and why the villain is the villain. - And, Love Triangle (2 Stars) - at least this was really a triangle but apart from that I really disliked the MC. Which is sad because as loved Hannah Moskowitzs Sick Kids in Love. - My Best Friend‘s Girl, Best Friends Girl (5 Stars) - this story was so dorky and cute and I loved it. Would have absolutely read a whole book about them. - (Fairy)like attracts like, Mutual Pining (3 stars) - was this cute? Yes. But it just wasn’t my favorite, can’t really say why. - These Strings, Siblings Hot Best Friend (2 Stars) - The Brother and parents were so annoying and the MC & love interest as well. I just didn’t like anyone, sorry. - The Passover Date, Fake Dating (4 Stars) - Fake Dating when they are already interested in each other is the best thing ever, I loved this. Also, this made me hungry. - Bloom, Love Transcends Space Time (3 Stars) - was good but just not my fave. - Teed Up, Oblivious Lovers (4 Stars) - who knew Golf could be so interesting? But no, really, this was cute & I was pleasantly surprised because I didn’t really like one book I read by the author. - Boys Noise, Only One Bed (4,5 Stars) - ugh, this reminded me of I was Born for this and If This Gets Out & it was SO good. - Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Secret Royalty (3 Stars) - was it good? Yes. I am just not the biggest fan of secret royalty and everything happened SO fast. - Disaster, Second Chance Romance (4 Stars) - loved the topic and setting (world is maybe going to end) & discussion about coming to terms with your sexuality.
Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this book, in exchange for an honest review! I'll be quick to the point and say immediately that Fools In Love simply wasn't for me. It was my first time I ever read a compilation of short stories, and I thought I'd enjoy it - the break from usual novels, something new.
Turns out I didn't. This book ticks all the boxes in terms of diversity (all the stories I did read were LGBTQ+), and that was a big reason for me to pick this in the first place. I didn't know any of the writers, but that didn't scare me away.
Surprisingly, the short stories I did read felt both fast and too dragged many times. I was often too weirded out by the sudden changes in atmosphere and characters, grasping at details and far too quick/brusk introductions in order to make sense of what I was reading. The fact that the writing was much of the same, even with the change in authors, didn't motivate me to read further either. The ideas were clearly creative, but, as expected, they're not developed since they're short stories, and that had me annoyed instead of content. I wish I could've liked it more.
I'd recommend it if you do know you like compilations.
This short story anthology celebrates diverse love stories, an aspect I particularly loved. For the anthology, each author wrote a short story based on a famous trope commonly found in romance novels, such as mistaken identity, only one bed, and fake dating. I really liked reading this anthology for the diversity highlighted, both through the characters in the story but also the authors who contributed as well. There were different sexual orientations, races and religions, which is so important from a representation point of view and something I truly think we need more of, especially in young adult literature. I would've loved to have read something like this when I was young and gay, but growing up in a very religious, middle-eastern family.
I will admit that there were a few stories within this anthology that I didn't particularly enjoy. Either I didn't connect with the writing style, or I thought the pacing was off. Regardless though, there were many that I loved and I still highly recommend giving this a read.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Running Press and the contributing authors for providing me with a copy of this novel. ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Fools in Love is full of some of my favorite authors ever. I've read them all and you can easily search this blog of my rave reviews. So when I saw this star studded anthology I knew I had to request it. In the past years I have relied on romance to brighten my weary days. To give me hope in the darkest of days when nothing was certain. It's just a reminder about how important these stories, these feelings, and happiness are.
Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.
Do you like meet-cutes? Would you prefer to skip the will-they-won't-they and just jump to the satisfying conclusion? Because that's what these stories are comprised of--in a good way. This book is fun. It's not dark. It's not serious. It's just simple, the romantic core of love stories. And I liked it.
I don't usually rate a short story collection so high. They're always hit-or-miss, especially when written by various authors, and so it is almost always a middle-of-the-road star rating. But I legitimately enjoyed almost all of these stories. I found that the contemporary stories were sometimes a bit bland, and this book was heavily sapphic in its love stories--and I do mean heavily--but it was still a good read all around.
Fools in Love was an utterly refreshing anthology that I absolutely loved. I started reading it at 8PM and I finished it by 11PM. Every story was so beautiful and so well written, that I just did not want to stop reading. And so, I finished this all in one setting. Every author has created such interesting characters and even in the span of a few short pages, you can't help but fall in love with them all. I'm a sucker for romance so I don't think I could pick one favorite story. But seriously though, everyone should read this. I think you'll find yourself connecting to one character, at least.
thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc!
It’s always the same with shortstory anthologies, some you don’t like, some you absolutely love and want more of the story! It’s the same with this one, but over all I really liked them all. The most outstanding thing about this one was how absolutely diverse it was!!! A romance anthology that is super queer and diverse is not a thing I take for granted and I applaud!!! All of these were super quick reads and it’s amazing if you just have 10-30 minutes of reading time to squeeze into your day, without having to stop in the middle of a chapter. I read each story on one evening before bed and it was perfect. My absolute favourite about this was, that this book mainly consists of sapphic storys. This book is a real win for the lesbians! 😂
Natasha Ngan: A sapphic fantasy story about a competition to win a deadly race (with a wolf pack on sedges through the ice!!! I repeat: wolves!!!!). Two competitors falling in love, it was gripping and steamy! 5/5
Julian Winters: A gay superhero trying to win back his super-superhero ex…but the villain might win? 😏 4,5/5
Mason Deaver: A trans guy falling in love with his boyband bandmember while they both take a sneaky vacation together…oops. 4/5
Amy Spalding: A girl accidentally kidnapping her crush. The kissing was a little rushed, but who minds? There’s limited time in shortstories. I loved everything about this!!! 5/5
Rebecca Kim Wells: Opposites attract, enemies to lovers magical lesbians forced on a school mission together. The love interest is a purple haired badass. (I was immediately in love). The MC has a lot of anxiety. I loved them so much together! The ending was super funny. I want more!!! 5/5
Ashley Herring Blake: The grumpy one falls for the soft one? For me it was more like a popular girl and loser without friends kind of thing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this story, there was too much squeezed into this and too little feelings for me. 3/5
Hannah Moskowitz: Honestly, this was my least favourite story in this book. It’s written in second person narrative and it isn’t my favourite thing to begin with. It’s about a poly/ open relationship and I just didn’t feel it. Don’t know how else to put it. 2/5
Sara Farizan: Another superhero/alien story, but this time not the MC. The “I’m in love with my best friends partner” trope just isn’t for me sadly. It was also solved way too easily in my opinion. I kinda liked that the story was more about the MCs friendship, but really it’s an romance anthology so…there wasn’t really any romance. 1/5
Claire Kann: A story with a fat, Black, adopted, lesbian MC! Two girls who are pining for each other in fairy summer camp without realising it, but in the end realise they have even more in common than they thought. I liked this one, but we don’t really get to know the characters a lot and the story itself wasn’t overwhelming or even very romantic. 2,5/5
Lillian Rivera: I really liked the story of this! It’s about a latinx family who’s family business is a puppet theatre. That’s nothing I’ve ever read about in a book and such a cool story. This was the first f/m (I’m not saying straight, who knows) romance in this! I wasn’t a fan of the “you kissed my sister I’m going to punch you” thing. 3,5/5
Laura Silverman: A second f/m story! I absolutely loved this one!!! It’s about a jewish girl who’s annoyed by her family who are asking her every year all over again where her date is for Seder…so she obviously decides to bring a fake date this year. And of course they actually like each other in the end. I loved the talk about that romantic relationships aren’t for everyone and she and her sister deciding that they will do everything differently when it’s their turn. This was absolutely cute and I loved to learn about all the passover traditions. Nothing was explained and I had to google a lot, but I loved exactly that. American culture isn’t the norm, so why explain everything in a jewish story?! Her date was adorable and I loved everything about this story. 5/5
Rebecca Barrow: This one wasn’t my favourite tbh. It’s about a girl traveling time to save her mother from death and then meets a girl she falls in love with. I didn’t get in what time this was supposed to play until the end (always good for a time travelling story) and what exactly happened to her mother. Also the feelings were super rushed. It just wasn’t for me. 2/5
Gloria Chao: A female pro golfer falling in love with a nice boy she meets at a tournament. This story was actually more about the sexist (and racist) sports world, the girl struggling to live up to her parents expectations of her and her realising what she really wants in life. Golf sadly isn’t exactly interesting to me and the romance felt a little rushed. I liked the loveinterest though and for a longer story this would have worked better. 3/5
Malinda Lo: Gays in space and a royal princess escapee. I really liked this story, the setting was cool and I loved the characters. Sadly this story was really, really short in comparison to the others and it all felt super rushed. If this would have been a whole book of even a longer story this could easily have gotten a better rating. 3/5
Rebecca Podos: An (almost) doomsday, the perfect day to win back your ex-girlfriend. This one was a sapphic second chance romance with a jewish MC and I overall really liked it. I liked the part about figuring out her sexuality a lot. Overall this was a story with a very gloomy mood and little conversation though, so I didn’t really feel the love a lot. 3/5
Fools in Love is a series of short stories all about love, they all have different romance tropes like best friend's girlfriend, fake dating, only one bed at the inn etc and they made me really happy when I was reading them and the stories were so cute! Some of them were contemporary and others went deep into the sci-fi fantasy realm which was really fun, and the writers have such gorgeous writing styles (like, I could not get Natasha Ngan's story out of my head, some of the lines she wrote were amazing) and its really different and diverse and overall I really enjoyed this!
However, while most of them were really good, a couple of them took me forever to get through, to the point where I just wanted to skim them. I was excited about the tropes but the execution of them bored me a little bit.
I would recommend reading this, I think you'll find at least a few stories that you love!