From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), V. E. Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles).
In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.
- “A refreshing anthology depicting worlds where everyone can belong.” –Kirkus Reviews
- “A noteworthy collection brimming with empowering tales that confirm all readers deserve to have their stories told.” –Shelf Awareness
- Title: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology
- Authors Include: Dhonielle Clayton, Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, V.E. Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone
- Publisher: Random House Children’s
- Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Anthology, LGBT
- Age Range: Young Adult
- Trigger warnings: Death, parental death, abuse
- Rating: ★★★★☆
Major thank you to TerminalTours, We Need Diverse Books and Netgalley for providing me with this eARC!
I’ve often struggled with reading fantasy — not for a lack of imagination, but more so because it’s discouraging and disheartening to constantly read about books set in made up worlds with so little diversity. You can’t possibly tell me that authors can create an entire world, but can’t dedicate time to researching and developing characters of color, disabled characters, and/or queer characters? I’ve been trying to dip my toes back into fantasy this year, and so I couldn’t have been more excited to hear that We Need Diverse Books had an anthology coming out called A Universe of Wishes.
On the whole, I found A Universe of Wishes to be exactly what I was looking for, and something that I wish (ha!) I’d gotten to read when I was younger. The foreword was so affirming, and I couldn’t put A Universe of Wishes down after that.
“For far too long some of us have been missing from magical worlds. But not any longer. Because the true secret I learned from books is that we all have magic inside us. We all possess the ability to command the failing spaceship, to break powerful enchantment, and to change our worlds — both fictional and not — for good. The universe is better because we are here. Because you are here.”
I’m a sucker for retellings with a twist, and so I was instantly captivated by Anna-Marie Mclemore’s Cristal y Cerisa and Zoraida Cordova’s Longer Than the Threads of Time – the former being a Cinderella retelling, and the latter being a Rapunzel retelling. Both stories managed to surprise me with a twist to the fairytales that I know so well. I know I’ll be thinking about Cristal y Cerisa – which more so reminded me of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella than any other version of the tale, and Longer Than the Threads of Time for quite some time. Some other standouts for me were Dhonielle Clayton’s The Weight, Natalie C. Parker’s The Silk Blade, and A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim. Without giving too much away, The Weight left me with many questions to reflect upon when it comes to love. The Silk Blade was a wonderfully written sapphic romance which included a competition, and A Universe of Wishes was surprisingly moving.
On the other hand, there were a few shorts that were hard for me to get into. I think if they had been longer, with more chances for world-building and development, I would’ve enjoyed them more. Or maybe they just simply weren’t for me! There were also a few shorts that didn’t seem to fit under the theme of “wishes” as well, which left me a little confused.
While there were some stories that were continuations of other universes that I know very little of — namely Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy and V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, I didn’t mind too much. The Gemma Doyle story was a little confusing for me, because I didn’t know anything about Gemma Doyle. Since the Shades of Magic story (which features Rhy/Alucard’s origin story) was set prior to the series, I didn’t have that same problem, and instead, found myself somewhat interested in picking up Shades of Magic.
Most of the short stories in this anthology left me shocked or wanting more, and I found a lot of them incredibly powerful as well. I’m excited to look into the authors I’m not as familiar with as well!