A Diverse Books Anthology

A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton

Publication Date: December 8, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

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.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Jenni Balch, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, 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

ARC provided by Random House Children’s via NetGalley for an honest review.


Writing a review for a story anthology is always a bit tricky. Do I say something about all of the stories or just the ones I liked? Do I just say what I liked about the whole in general terms or keep to the specifics? I think in this case I will do a little bit of both. This is a very nice anthology of stories filled with diverse characters and story lines. For the most part I enjoyed all of them, although there were a few that left me wanting more, and a few that just didn’t quite do it for me. But on the whole a very nice collection.

I am going to pick out a few of my favorites and tell a little about them and why I liked them.

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim

This story centered around a boy who could draw magic out of dead people so that he could make or grant wishes. Such a wonderful concept which I would love to see a whole book dedicated to. I loved the characters, both Thorn and Sage, and how their relationship developed. I also very much enjoyed the ending.

The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray

I have not yet read the Gemma Doyle series, but after reading this, I have moved it up the TBR pile a bit. I really enjoyed the characters, although I was a bit lost in the plot. It felt a bit unfinished, so not sure where it falls in the sequence of the series. But I still liked it, although the ending was open-ended.

Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie Mclemore

This was an excellent Cinderella retelling with a latinx bruja twist to it. This is another one that I would love to see more of the story, or maybe more fairytales told through this world’s diverse lens. I have not read anything by this author before, but I really liked her style and will certainly be keeping an eye out for other works by her.

The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse

This was a great science fiction story that takes place in space. I loved how the characters were both so interested in saving their ancestor’s history from the victors. Great little heist story and I certainly could get behind more stories about these two.

Wish by Jenni Balch

I loved this science fiction twist on the Jinn mythology. I really liked Lane and his issues with being a Jinn, but also his desire to help Ariadne. Ariadne was also a delightful character, so full of loss and loneliness. The way they solved the wish issue was also very lovely.

I could probably go on about a few of the other stories, but that is enough to hopefully entice you into picking up the wonderful anthology of stories.

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