cover image Grim


Edited by Christine Johnson. Harlequin Teen, $16.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-373-21108-1

Johnson (The Gathering Dark) brings together 17 authors in a collection of reimagined fairy tales that hark back to their dark, edgy roots. In this case, it leads to a preponderance of stories with downbeat, nebulous, or twist endings. Romantic elements are prominent, as are queer characters and themes, giving rise to unexpected, even radical interpretations. Standouts include Malinda Lo’s “The Twelfth Girl,” which sees “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” set at a boarding school; Jon Skovron’s “The Raven Princess,” which puts a charming twist on the story of a princess cursed to live as a bird; and Tessa Gratton’s “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, “Beast/Beast,” which gives the Beast a worthy adversary. Sarah Rees Brennan’s “Beauty and the Chad” is a sardonic, tongue-in-cheek flipside to the same source material, one of the more lighthearted pieces offered. The father-daughter attempted incest running through Saundra Mitchell’s “Thinner Than Water” reminds readers that the old tales sometimes took disturbing turns, as does the cannibalism in Myra McIntire’s “Skin Trade.” Overall, the stories are interesting, memorable, and ideal for readers who don’t require happily ever afters. Ages 14–up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.)