Anthology Review: Grim by Christine Johnson

Posted April 6, 2014 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Anthology Review: Grim by Christine JohnsonGrim by Christine Johnson
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 25th, 2014
Genres: paranormal, retellings, young adult
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today: Ellen Hopkins Amanda Hocking Julie Kagawa Claudia Gray Rachel Hawkins Kimberly Derting Myra McEntire Malinda Lo Sarah Rees-Brennan Jackson Pearce Christine Johnson Jeri Smith Ready Shaun David Hutchinson Saundra Mitchell Sonia Gensler Tessa Gratton Jon Skrovron

Since this book is an anthology of short stories by various authors, I am going to do it a little differently. I took notes while I was reading and I wrote a few sentences for each story so you can get an idea of my main thoughts and whether I liked it or not. I am sad to say that most of this anthology was a letdown for me. Perhaps it is just that I do not favor short stories because I really look for that emotional connection when reading and not a single one of these stories gave it to me. I realize it is incredibly difficult to make readers feel emotions when you only have a few pages to do so. So maybe short stories are just not for me. At any rate, there is some good stuff here and I was actually surprised by the stories I liked the most.


The Key by Rachel Hawkins
Seriously? That was so good but that’s how it’s going to end? With no closure and a cliffhanger? Disappointing. I am not usually a fan of open ended anything. 3 Stars
Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready
What a cute story! And kind of unique too! I don’t know if I’ve ever read from the POV of a stuffed cat before. Or ANY stuffed animal, for that matter. In spite of that though, it was just decent. 3 Stars
The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo
Loved this one. Loved the lore, the setting, the writing. I also loved the lebian relationship as I enjoyed the way it was presented. This one took some risks and I loved it! 4 Stars
The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron
Interesting concept but the detached fairytale style is not my thing. I found this to be lacking in substance, which makes sense since I DNFed another of this author’s books way back when. 2 Stars
Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell
This story really made me uncomfortable due to the subject matter. Incest. Between a father and daughter. The writing was lovely but I was grossed out the entire time and unable to fully enjoy it. 2 Stars
Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins
I pretty much disliked this one all the way. I don’t get why it was structured in verse. I know that is her thing, but here it just feels gimmicky. Also, her writing does not appeal to me at all. There was no emotion, flat, boring. 1 Star
Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton
There was lots to like here: connection to the characters, great descriptions and imagery, an interesting interpretation of Beauty and the Beast. I found myself zoning out at times though. And it’s not something I noticed with any of the other stories. 3 Stars
Untethered by Sonia Gensler
Wow. This one was kind of brilliant. Well-written unreliable narrators for the win! Also really loved the tone and feelings of peace I got from this one. 4 Stars
Better by Shaun David Hutchinson
Trigger warning for rape. I didn’t even bother to read the rest of the story because I felt it was completely unnecessary to the story. There was enough drama and emotion without it. Treating rape as a plot gimmick leaves a really poor taste in my mouth. 1 star
Light It Up by Kimberly Derting
Hansel and Gretel retelling. My favorite! Some park rangers are evil. I really liked this one. It was a bit on the grotesque side but well-written just the same! 4 Stars
Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue by Christine Johnson
Wow, this one was interesting. It didn’t have much of a conclusion though. Like a story without a proper ending. And I don’t like how the abuser suffers no consequences. 3 Stars
A Real Boy by Claudia Gray
I’m most surprised by this one. Pinnochio has never been my favorite tale. But this original twist done up in flashy Sci-Fi is even more entertaining than the original story, in my opinion. Plus a sweet romance and robots! 4 Stars
Skin Trade by Myra McEntire
This was just fucking disgusting and made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t like it at all but this author can write. Sexual tension like whoa. But honestly, almost vomiting in the toilet ruined it for me. 2 Stars
Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan
What the fuck did I just read? And I think I liked it. Well, mostly. The beast is a spoiled frat boy and there is a hilarious language barrier with Beauty. Funny. And the only story in this anthology with a humorous slant. 3 Stars
The Pink by Amanda Hocking
The writing was decent and I am surprised because it was absolutely terribly in the first book of The Watersong Trilogy. But this was also completely unmemorable and my brain has already dumped it. There’s just nothing of substance here. 2 Stars
Sell Out by Jackson Pearce
I skipped this one for personal reasons. I just won’t read this author due to behavior. Which means I can’t and won’t review it. 
Altogether this was a pretty disappointing anthology for me. My average rating for everything was a 2.75 which I will round up to 3 to be kind. I know Bekka had better luck with this than I did, which is awesome. There were moments of awesome here though that at least made it a worthwhile read for that. Do I recommend it? Yeah, I guess. It’s worth it for Malinda Lo, Kimberly Derting, Claudia Gray, and Sonia Gensler.

2 responses to “Anthology Review: Grim by Christine Johnson

  1. I just got this for my birthday and am really excited to read it! I’ve heard such varying reviews (including of each individual story), and I do think I will end up liking it, as I often enjoy really weird stories – but it’s always great to get a different viewpoint 🙂
    In the end, I’ve found with almost all the anthologies I’ve read that you never like all the stories – there will always be some you adore and others that are just meh…

  2. I have this ARC too, and I have started reading it several times and just can’t get into any of the stories so far 🙁 It’s really sad, and at the same time, when I see your rating, it makes me not want to even try anymore.
    Thanks for sharing, Kara!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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