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Love Is Hell Hardcover – November 25, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061443050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061443053
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,297,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Supernatural romance is the well-chosen theme of five original stories by as many authors. After her family moves into a house where a boy was murdered, Laurie Faria Stolarzs protagonist finds herself falling in love with his ghost; Gabrielle Zevin introduces a high school student who may (or may not) be overidentifying with the book she is reading; and Scott Westerfeld looks into a future where hormonal balancers tamp down teen romances and bioframes obviate sleep and dreams. Melissa Marr and Justine Larbalestier reinterpret folklore conventions, Marr writing about selkies and Larbalestier about faeries. Theres enough variety to round out the central theme, and consistently supple storytelling will lure readers through all five entries. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the national nonprofit organization College Summit. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Teens looking for a romance like the one in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series (Little, Brown) will find it in these five supernatural short stories. In Gabrielle Zevin's "Fan Fictions," a teen becomes so obsessed with the love story in a book that she believes it's her own. Marr's "Love Struck" puts a new spin on the classic fairy tale of a girl who must find a way to break free of the spell of a selkie. Laurie Faria Stolarz's "Sleeping with the Spirit" features a girl who falls in love with the ghost of a murdered boy who haunts her dreams. Justine Larbalestier's story truly exemplifies the book's title. Jeannie, a modern-day teen, is cursed by her family to reside in a "living history" village, and the boy she loves is tortured because he's one of the fairie folk. Scott Westerfeld's wry and clever "Stupid Perfect World" portrays a futuristic society in which starvation and disease have been eliminated. Teens have to take a class called Scarcity, designed to teach them what the old days were like. Two teens fall in love as they "embody" afflictions that don't exist anymore—sleep and teen angst. Westerfeld's and Larbalestier's stories stand out from the rest, but all of the selections offer surprising romantic twists that will appeal to teens.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Hmm, I'm never good at the bio bit. I used to teach college & bartend, now I write novels. I love to meet new people, to hear their stories, to walk through new streets and see new vistas. I enjoy art in all its guises--graffiti, surrealist paintings, classic sculptures, tattoos, interesting buildings, Renoir, photography . . . Art & nature, they feed my soul & thus my muse.

Customer Reviews

The final, and perhaps most compelling, story in the anthology is Melissa Marr's Love Struck.
Although it's not something I'll reread or a book that will stay in my head for long, it sure was a nice distraction from the usual.
Each story was interesting enough (and written well enough) that I would have happily read a whole novel of each.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Story collections like LOVE IS HELL allow readers to find some writing from such popular authors as Scott Westerfeld (PEEPS) and Melissa Marr (WICKED LOVELY) while waiting for their next books to be released, and it's an opportunity to sample new authors who will become favorites. Plus, this particular book benefits College Summit, a non-profit organization that helps school districts, especially in low-income areas, send more young people to college.

While there is already a lot to like here, the themes will be irresistible to fantasy and romance fans: Love is hard enough between humans, but what if you love someone who is not human or you live in a time where love is not allowed?

Laurie Faria Stolarz kicks off the collection with "Sleeping with the Spirit," in which Brenda can't explain why she keeps waking up in the middle of the night with bruises. Her family feels she's depressed over the move to a new house and high school, but she knows something even weirder is happening here. Brenda's new friends, Raina and Craig, tell her that a 17-year-old boy was murdered by his stepfather in her new house. Brenda finds information about the dead teen, Travis Slather, and realizes she's been dreaming about him. She begins falling for him and his beautiful blue eyes, though he's not haunting her just for romance. Travis needs her help so he can cross over, but Brenda knows he will go away forever if she assists him.

In "Stupid Perfect World," Scott Westerfeld introduces a future where teen bodies are totally regulated --- there are no hormonal imbalances, sleep isn't needed, diseases don't exist, and passion and intensity are absent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
A hot ghost with a message from beyond the grave. Two futuristic teens discovering the wonders of dreams and hormones for the first time. A hand-fasting that leads to more heartbreak - and magic - than any girl would have thought possible. A mysterious, immortal boy who may or may not be any more real than the paper he's printed on. A selkie who traps a human with his skin - though really he only wanted to date her.

That's a brief glimpse of the stories of LOVE IS HELL, an anthology of romantic and fantastical YA fiction from several of the genre's top authors.

Though most of the stories are dark, there's plenty of humor to be had, especially in Westerfeld's amusing take on a too-perfect future. Zevin's tale will make you question your own reality (in a good way), and Marr, Larbalestier, and Stolarz prove that love is a force more powerful than common sense, hate, or even death.

With plenty of swoon-worthy moments and surprising twists, there's much to enjoy from all.

I found myself wishing that many of the stories were longer, so their characters and events could have been developed more, but that's always the danger with short stories. Readers will race through this eagerly and likely find themselves hoping each author chooses to explore the worlds they've created again in the future.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neutron Lurver Reviews VINE VOICE on November 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
LOVE IS HELL is a neat little anthology composed of five paranormal romances from five popular young adult authors: Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz. The stories include a tension-filled romance about a ghost with unfinished business, a futuristic perfect world where hormones and sleep are turned off, and a seal faery's struggle with the two tugs on his heart, the sea and his mortal love. (Plus two more tales.)

Reading this anthology was a great way to sample each author's work, and I enjoyed four of the five stories. Each tale had a distinct beginning, middle and end, even though they were short. I was most impressed with Marr's "Love Struck" and Larbalestier's "Thinner Than Water." Both of these stories featured faeries and strong female protagonists. I could have easily enjoyed a novel-length story about each setting and the characters that were created.

Westerfield's futuristic tale about a world where sleep isn't needed and the ups and downs of teenage hormones are suppressed was interesting with likeable characters. With a short story, though, there wasn't as much time as I would have liked to become comfortable with the brave new world he created for his characters. Stolarz's tale about a romance between girl and ghost was nice but predictable. Zevin's tale about the blur between fantasy and reality was the one story that I did not enjoy. The author tried to make what seemed like an obvious point about the potentially dangerous blur between the two, but I didn't feel that the story was well-executed.

Overall, this book was a great way to check out new authors and a nice way to finish each evening with a complete story each night before bed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this book as an introduction to some popular young adult authors. I have previously only read work by Melissa Marr and Gabrielle Zevin, all the other authors are new to me, even though I see Westerfeld's books everywhere! Now that I have read Westerfeld's Stupid Perfect World I can see what all the talk is about, he is an amazing writer. If an author can get me hooked with a short story, that is a feat, and it makes them worth checking out further.

All of the stories were completely different from one another and dealt with different aspects of the fantasy world and each were lovely in their own right. The book is definitely a young adult, paranormal romance readers dream of a good time. Some of the stories didn't draw me in as much as Westerfeld's did, but they were all unique and charming in their own way. I will be looking up the other author's works to see how I feel about their novel formats. All in all, pick up this book if you are interested in an intro to an author you may have not tried reading before.
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