I’ve been gifted an ARC of Not Meant for Each Other by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Let me show you cover and blurb before I explain why I loved this book.
Sometimes, there is no happily ever after.
In this anthology, talented writers craft 10 diverse tales of heartbreak and failed love.
Tragic, absurd, beautiful, and sometimes horrific, this collection of reverse romance stories explores what it means to be ‘Not Meant for Each Other.
The cover follows the footsteps of Chimera, another anthology from Lost Boys Press. It’s simple and yet evocative, making it clear from the beginning that the reader is about to enter a world of suffering and unhappy endings. The theme itself is fresh and original, and it drew me in as soon as I heard about it. To be honest though, this book was already in my TBR pile, because who doesn’t want to read about hopeless love stories?
First of all, this book is incredibly polished. Sure, I’m not a native speaker and I might miss something here and there, but I’ve counted one single typo in 280 pages and I’m beyond happy. While it’s not everything, reading a book with proper form makes the experience way more enjoyable to me, because my overanalitical brain feels free to concentrate on what’s going on.
Different genres, different approaches, different orientations, different styles; this is a beautiful representation of diversity, and each story adds to the total to create a whole that’s both bittersweet and unique. Bear with me while I describe what I loved.
- He Wore a Poe Smile by LT Ward – With a partner like Tessa, can anyone blame Anthony? I mean, he’s not a saint either, but… This short story is so dark and twisted that, had the relationship not ended, I could’ve seen the characters descend into madness Sweeney Todd’s style. 100% mesmerizing.
- The Shape of Your Shadow by Stephen Howard – This is a story of broken hopes and dreams. The couple was so cute that I allowed myself to root for them even though I knew it had to end badly. Amazing plot twist, I wasn’t expecting that at all.
- Betrayed and Buried by K.A. Warhust – A short story that ticks all my boxes: unreliable narrator, non-linear timeline, plot twists, badass female character. Mind-blowing.
- Overshadowed by Joseph Anderson – People, the pop culture references here are so good! This is a must-read if you are a fan of the Beatles. Or if you like reading. It’s one of those stories that leave you thinking “what if” for days after you close the book.
- Goodbye to Jerusalem by Harry F. Rey – I know you shouldn’t have favorites, but this is it. It has so many layers, shows so many important themes, that it’s simply impossible not to adore it. It hurts, a lot, and it makes you dream the world was a better place.
- Love Across Time and Space by Jamie Perrault – Have you ever experienced loving someone but knowing that staying together would make one or both of you extremely miserable in the long run? I loved this story, it made me cry from beginning to the end.
- Mouth by Scotty Milder – What happens here is a great metaphor for a breakup, with both characters involuntarily hurting each other. I love that things are not what they seem, and that everyone is guilty in the end. Chilling and awesome.
- Nameless by Jess L. Tong – An interesting take on the soulmates trope, and the epitome of bad decisions. These lovers were perfect for each other, but… I’d love to read more about this verse, they need to meet again!
- The Spoons by Priscilla M. Goins – If you want something lifelike, this is it. It is real, real! I’ve witnessed situations like this one over and over again, among my friends and in my own marriage. Of course, not every fight leads to a breakup, but we all can relate to these to some extent. And I sided with her.
- For the Love of the Wind by J.F. Capps – This is epic. This is a story I expect to read in a mythology book, one that inspires others to write. The world-building is massive, the characters act like real gods and the romance is so perfect it broke my heart.
Well, as you might have guessed, I fell in love with these short stories. The only possible rating is 5/5. Congratulations!