Friday, June 20, 2014

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan.

Title- How They Met, and Other Stories.
Author- David Levithan.
Publish date- January 29th, 2014.
Publisher- Text Publishing.
RRP: $19.99

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Eighteen different stories about love. Some about the true kind. Some about the brief kind. Some about the twisted kind. Some the kind where you skip Prom just because the other wants to. Some the kind seen from afar. Some the kind that didn't last.

Image Credit: Text Publishing.
Thank you to Text Publishing for this review copy!

What I thought:
I don't often read collections of short stories, or novellas, because the idea of being thrust into a different world after a number of pages isn't anywhere near as delightful as the idea of plunging into a fill novel (it's odd- I love to write short stories and yet I feel like this!), but the promise, so alluring and perceptible, of How They Met was too fledged to hold back- thus, I delved into it.

Another thing I know is that I either love or, you know, don't when it comes to a book/story by David Levithan.
Boy Meets Boy- love.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson- abandoned.
The Christmas One*- love.
How They Met-... overall, not so much, though one story in particular, titled What a Song can do- absolute love.

Out of the eighteen stories in How They Met, I abandoned around 2, really enjoyed 4 or 5, loved 1, really disliked maybe 3 and felt little towards the remaining 7. With almost all of the stories I did, however, feel drawn into the story, the characters felt alive, and yet, for the most part? I would best describe the characters as being one-dimensional. Many of them felt the same way about certain things (see: Prom) and a lot of the time it felt like they retained the same personality.
Different name, face, life, same person inside the shell.

I found one of my favourite things to be the fact that it took a while to understand the gender of the main character in more than one story- it felt obscure at the beinning of more than one story, a flexible name for the MC (though I do have a tendency to read names wrong... so that could've been me) and no gender identifying words. I liked that and how it kept me wondering and really made think , and I like that, as the book itself says, this is about all kinds of love, so keep in mind that it's not just about the "true" kind.

Rating: A spiralling spectrum between Poor, Hmm and Ooh, very good, depending on the story. One I would rate Excellent/Mind Blown!
I had a few issues with the characters and their individuality, and not every story was to my liking- the majority were somewhere in-between- but the story I loved, it made up for that quite substantially, and, as with every Levithan book I've finished, the writing was beautiful.

*Otherwise known as Dash and Lily's Book of Dares


  1. I don't really read short story collections either, unless written by authors whose works I already like. I haven't read anything by David Levithan before (I know, I am probably the only one on the planet), but I'm glad to hear you mostly enjoyed this, Romi. Great review! :)

    1. Thank you, Sam! That was the case for me with Assassin's Blade- I really adore Sarah J. Maas's writing, so it was something I definitely wanted to read, even though I'm pretty unsure about novellas. I'm so glad I did read it, though- it was incredible! xx

  2. It is really hard to judge an anthology because there are multiple stories in one book and some you'll love and some you hate, like you said. I really do love anthologies. I don't try and read it all at once like a novel though, I usually read a story a day because they are separate stories and are meant to be separately, unless all the stories are linked, then I'll read it like a novel.
    Thanks for the review, not sure if I want to read this one yet since I already have a lot of anthologies on my to-read list and I prefer mine to be speculative.

    1. That's an interesting way of going about it- I like reading pretty quickly, but I suppose next time I read one I could read a story, go to read something next and then the next day read another story. That could work better for me! x

  3. I don't usually read short stories either because I prefer to really delve into the characters and the stories and I find that difficult to do with short stories. As for this collection, that's kind of a disappointing proportion of liked stories vs meh stories. I really am curious about the one you really loved though!

    1. That's how I feel, too, Aylee! I would recommend this just for that story I loved! I hope you have a chance to read it sometime! x

  4. I'm usually not a short story person because I like to be fully immersed in a novel and I don't feel I can get the same experience from a short story. Because, much like you've discovered with this one, there'll be ones that you really wish were longer, while others you were really glad were only short.

    I did read a short story compilation by Cathy Kelly for Christmas a few years ago, and on the whole I liked them and their short snippets into peoples lives, but I definitely wouldn't read them very often (I haven't read one since) and I think it's interesting because most people DON'T like them, when you think about what books are most published and most requested etc, there isn't a huge market for them in mainstream book stores/libraries. Interesting to explore that and find out what it is about them that people don't like so much.

    1. Very interesting thoughts, Lauren! It's also interesting when some are long, like Let it Snow (John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracal) and this, in which all the stories are under, I'd say, 20 pages. x


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