So fantastic picks from the YA Paranormal anthology The Eternal Kiss, edited by Trisha Telep, to get started.
"The coldest girl in Coldtown" by Holly Black has been very popular with the rest of the LSS crew, and it's easy to see why. Dark, powerful, and very different, Holly Black has taken a long look at vampirism and what it could mean for the world, with a compelling story resulting.
"Undead is very hot right now" by Sarah Rees Brennan combines the awkwardness that is the music geek teen with the unexpectness of fame, but with a side dose of new vampire to really make life difficult. Brennan hits the cringe buttons while still giving us a strong and strangely endearing story.
Cecil Castellucci's contribution, "Wet Teeth", in turns freaked me out and made me sad. A bleak piece, but well worth reading.
The theme of being undead is not quite as cool as some of those movies and teen books would have you believe is rounded out in Cassandra Clare's "Other Boys". A number of stories in this anthology work to make the reader really consider the implications of being a vampire, rather than that there's all benefits and no downsides. Clare riffs on this and really makes it work.
All of the stories in The Eternal Kiss were highly readable, and these are just my standout picks.
The same can be said of Troll's Eye View - not a single story I didn't enjoy, despite the fact I'm totally not the target audience (it's aimed at 8-12 year olds). Taking us for a look at the dark side of fairy tales, this Datlow/Windling effort is very strong, and a beautiful book to physically read as well. There were great stories and poems in here, but my two favourites were:
"Delicate Architecture" by Catherynne M. Valente - a simply gorgeously written story (which I would peg at the top end of the age range) which kept me reading right to the very end before I realised which fairy tale it was based on - an elegant and powerful piece.
"The Cinderella Game" by Kelly Link. I've been having a bit of a Link feast in recent weeks, as just about every anthology I've picked up has something of hers! This one is dark and eerie in tone, and left me feeling just a bit icky, which is, believe it or not, a good thing! Again, top end of the age range, and it may be why I've picked those two stories out of the great mix that is Troll's Eye View, but the entire collection is well worth reading.