From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–The title of this short story collection is a little misleading. Most of the selections have some romance, but they definitely take a backseat to those that run the gamut from fairy spies who can fly to vampires. While some of the stories are a little creepy, they are a far cry from truly frightening. Nonetheless, there are some fine and engrossing entries by popular authors, including Diana Peterfreund's “Errant,” which is set in medieval Europe. It features a sassy nun who is charged with training unicorns that are becoming endangered. Justine Musk's “Lost” is set in modern times and features a girl with psychic power and a very handsome guy named Haiden, which turns out to be a morphing of the word “Hades.” One kiss with the irresistible fellow and she will have sold her soul. Karen Mahoney's “The Spirit Jar” brings a fresh twist to the vampire genre. Sarah Rees Brennen and Carrie Ryan offer very good selections, too, but one of the best is Maggie Stiefvater's “The Hounds of Ulster,” which melds Celtic myth with punk rock.–Jake Pettit, Thompson ValleyHigh School, Loveland, COα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The usual cast of otherworldly suspects—ghosts, genies, demons, banshees, witches, and more—fills the pages of this collection, but these 13 stories of the paranormal come with a twist: all are love stories, of one sort or another. Not surprisingly, there is an air of the ominous about each, and (no spoiler here!) not all end happily. Though readable and entertaining, too many of the stories will probably be predictable to fans of this sort of fiction or are too long to pack much of a punch. Nevertheless, the best selections are wonderfully offbeat, inventive, and, well, haunting. Among these: Sarah Rees Brennan’s “The Spy Who Never Grew Up,” a wickedly funny and wonderfully written story about that eternal child Peter Pan, now grown to a teenager; Diana Peterfreund’s “Errant,” a deliciously dark tale of unlikely nuns and even more unlikely unicorns; and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Hounds of Ulster,” an unforgettable story of music and love, rooted in Irish folklore. These three stories alone make the collection well worth reading. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart