Title: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Edited by: Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe
Genre: YA Fantasy Short Stories
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Rating: 5 Witchy Stars
Source: Digital ARC from NetGalley
Has there ever been a better collection of short stories? The answer is no. At least not that I’ve read so far. I adored this SO MUCH! Incredible stories about witchy, strong, amazing women.
I did something a little different while reading this anthology. I knew with as many books as I read I wouldn’t be able to remember every detail of each story, so as I finished a story, I jotted down a few words or thoughts I had while reading and I’m going to share those with you along with some quotes I highlighted!
Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia: Magical, powerful. I love that this story forces me to use google translate.
“That our magic is restless and wild and trouble-bound. But I don’t know if I agree. Maybe we were just two people chasing numbness because we didn’t know what the stardust inside us was for.”
“I, Luna Mendoza, was part of the swirling color and dancing light of a sky that had never seemed so close.”
Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer: LOVED! Classic “towns people don’t understand so it must be the devil” story, but written so well.
The Heart In Her Hands by Tess Sharpe: Food love! Also tea! Beautiful story about choosing your own path.
“This is the thing about falling: It’s tricky. Sometimes you’re tumbling down into love before you realize your feet have left the ground. But it’s a choice too.”
“‘Sweets, we can be scared together,’ Auggie says. ‘But we can’t be scared here. Not anymore.'”
Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith: Reminded me of an episode of Supernatural.
The Truth about Queenie by Brandy Colbert: OMG Brandy Colbert! A new favorite author and I’m so excited to see a story by her here. I loved the contemporary setting so much.
The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar: Beautiful and atmospheric.
The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley: Love! I would read more of Wendy and Karen’s story!
The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma: Subtly powerful.
Divine Are the Stars by Soraida Córdova: So magical!
Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff: Loved this story so much. Everyday witches!
The Well Witches by Kate Hart: OMG Give me MORE!
Beware of Girls With Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood: The saddest story so far. 😦
Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore: So so beautifully written.
The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord: FAVORITE. I have so much love and feelings for this story and the sisters. I relate to Rosemary on a level that is still hard to talk about, but this story resonated with me so much.
“Tea won’t make it not true. Of course it won’t, Novy wants to snap. Tea doesn’t fix anything. It’s just comfort you can hold.”
Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May: So Fucking Powerful. The perfect way to end a beautiful collection.
“Then I think of witches, and understand that there are too many people in this world who would rather see a woman burn than wield power.”
“You understand the truth, though, don’t you? The most terrifying thing in the world is a girl with power. That’s why they watch us burn.”
*Please note, these quotes are from an ARC copy, so they may change in the final copy.
Synopsis: A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.
History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.
Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.
A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.
From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.
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