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Love Is Hell

Love Is Hell

4.1 105
by Scott Westerfeld, Melissa Marr, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Sure, love is hell. But it,s totally worth it.

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers—Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)—love may be


Sure, love is hell. But it,s totally worth it.

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers—Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)—love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Supernatural romance is the well-chosen theme of five original stories by as many authors. After her family moves into a house where a boy was murdered, Laurie Faria Stolarz's protagonist finds herself falling in love with his ghost; Gabrielle Zevin introduces a high school student who may (or may not) be overidentifying with the book she is reading; and Scott Westerfeld looks into a future where hormonal balancers tamp down teen romances and "bioframes" obviate sleep and dreams. Melissa Marr and Justine Larbalestier reinterpret folklore conventions, Marr writing about selkies and Larbalestier about faeries. There's enough variety to round out the central theme, and consistently supple storytelling will lure readers through all five entries. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the national nonprofit organization College Summit. Ages 14-up. (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Teens looking for a romance like the one in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series (Little, Brown) will find it in these five supernatural short stories. In Gabrielle Zevin's "Fan Fictions," a teen becomes so obsessed with the love story in a book that she believes it's her own. Marr's "Love Struck" puts a new spin on the classic fairy tale of a girl who must find a way to break free of the spell of a selkie. Laurie Faria Stolarz's "Sleeping with the Spirit" features a girl who falls in love with the ghost of a murdered boy who haunts her dreams. Justine Larbalestier's story truly exemplifies the book's title. Jeannie, a modern-day teen, is cursed by her family to reside in a "living history" village, and the boy she loves is tortured because he's one of the fairie folk. Scott Westerfeld's wry and clever "Stupid Perfect World" portrays a futuristic society in which starvation and disease have been eliminated. Teens have to take a class called Scarcity, designed to teach them what the old days were like. Two teens fall in love as they "embody" afflictions that don't exist anymore-sleep and teen angst. Westerfeld's and Larbalestier's stories stand out from the rest, but all of the selections offer surprising romantic twists that will appeal to teens.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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1 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Love Is Hell

Chapter One

Iwake up in a cold sweat—a sharp, biting sensation stretches down the length of my spine and makes my fingers jitter. I pull the covers around my shoulders, feeling my heart beat fast.

And noticing the ache in my wrist.

I click the reading lamp on and look down at the spot. Another soon-to-be bruise—a giant red welt that covers the front of my wrist and wraps around to the underside. So I grab the pen on my bedside table and add another point to the tally I've been keeping for the past two weeks since we moved here—to mark the sixth time this has happened.

Six times.

Six times that I've woken up with a sore spot on my body.

Six times that I've found myself lying awake in my bed, too terrified to fall back asleep.

Because of the voice that haunts my dreams.

Ever since we moved here, I've been having these weird nightmares. In them, I hear a male voice. I never see his face. It's just his voice, whispering things that I don't want to hear—that ghosts exist, that I need to listen to him, that he won't let me rest until I do.

Luckily, I'm able to force myself awake. But that's when he grips me—so hard that it leaves a mark.

I know it sounds completely crazy and at first I tried to find some logical explanation—maybe I had twisted my arm the wrong way during the night; maybe I had banged my leg on the corner of my bed or rolled over into an awkward position.

I tried to tell myself that the dreams were the result of stress—of having to move halfway across the country; of changing high schools andleaving all my friends behind. I mean, there's bound to be a period of adjustment, right?

But now I know that it's more than stress. Because, between the bruising and the aching, and the growing sacks underneath my eyes from lack of sleep, I feel like things are getting worse.

"Brenda?" my mother asks, standing by my bedroom door. "What are you doing up?" I bury my wrist in the mound of covers, noticing how the smell of him—like spiced apple—still lingers in my sheets.

"You were moaning in your sleep," she continues.

I glance at the fire-red numbers glowing on my digital clock. It's 4:05 A.M. "A bad dream, I guess," I say, trying to shrug it off.

She nods and plays with the belt on her robe, just lingering there in the doorway, until she finally ventures the question: "You're not hearing voices again, are you?"

I study her face, wondering if she can handle the answer, but decide that she can't. So I shake my head, watching her expression shift from anxiety to relief. She lets out a breath and forces a smile, still fidgeting with her robe, probably wondering about my sanity.

But that's okay.

Because I wonder about it, too.

This isn't the first time my parents have found me awake in the wee hours of the morning. This isn't the first time they've complained about the moaning, or given me that frightened look—the one that says I'm going crazy.

Or noticed all my bruises.

The first time I got one it was around my ankle—a large purple splotch, lined with a handful of scratches. The night it happened, I went to their room, asking if they could hear the voice, too, wondering if maybe someone had broken into our house—if maybe the voice wasn't part of a dream at all.

But my parents said no, they hadn't heard anything. They looked particularly concerned after my father had checked things out, upon my insistence, like they were far more scared for me than with me.

"Do you want me to fix you some warm milk?" my mother asks now.

"No thanks," I say, still able to hear the voice from my dream. It plays in my mind's ear—a slow and rhythmic breath that pushes out the two syllables of my name over and over and over again: Bren-da, Bren-da, Bren-da.

"I just want to get back to sleep," I lie, catching a glimpse of myself in the dresser mirror. My normally bright green eyes are troubled with veins of red. And my hair is a mess—an unruly tangle of auburn curls swooped high atop my head in a sloppy ponytail, because I can't deal with actually having to style the high-maintenance mane.

Because I haven't gotten a full night's sleep since we moved here.

"Good night, Mom," I whisper, and lie back on my pillow to appease her, so she'll go back to bed. I pull the covers up over my ears and silently hum a little tune inside my head, in hopes that it will calm me down.

In hopes that it will drown out his voice.

Love Is Hell. Copyright © by Scott Westerfeld. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Scott Westerfeld is the author of ten books for young adults, including Peeps, The Last Days, and the Midnighters trilogy. He was born in Texas in 1963, is married to the Hugo-nominated writer Justine Larbalestier, and splits his time between New York and Sydney. His latest book is Extras, the fourth in the bestselling Uglies series.

Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.

Justine Larbalestier is the author of Liar, How to Ditch Your Fairy, and the Magic or Madness trilogy, as well as the coeditor with Holly Black of Zombies vs. Unicorns. She and her husband, author Scott Westerfeld, divide their time between Sydney, Australia, and New York City.

Gabrielle Zevin is the author of Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and Margarettown. She also writes screenplays.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of the hugely popular young adult novels Blue is for Nightmares, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as Bleed and its companion novel Project 17. Her work has been named n several award lists, including ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She is currently working on a new series, also for young adults.

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Love Is Hell 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Get4crazier More than 1 year ago
A collections of today's best young adult novelist yet. This book has all the things your looking for in short stories. Each story particularly Stupid perfect world by Scott Westerfeld caught my attention because if your like me and love to read sassy, futuristic stories that change point of views you'll enjoy this portion of the book. It's about a guy and girl name Keiran black and Mary they both take a class that's called Scarcity. Scarcity is a modern day history class except its focus is on diseases and illness. Anyway, Keiran and Mary have to pick a illness from our time to research and live for a week. Keiran, being a regular slacker forgets to pick one and makes one on top of his head. He picks sleep, in there time the have this suit sort of thing called a "bioframe". A boiframe controls your emotions, body, activities, behavior, and temperature. Keiran thinks sleep would be the easiest because he doesn't have to give up any thing important to him. Mary picks her hormones and emotions. Sooner or later they get in over they're heads and start acting weird. Keiran and Mary start developing feelings for each other because Keiran has to listen to Mary before he can "sleep" and Mary starts writing poems. The ending is a bit predictable, but he the story is only 50-56 pages. Make sure to read the other books as well. XOXO Esther
Deby_Fray More than 1 year ago
An amazing funny book for those free times when we need read something not to emotional or anything, just to have fun and increase your faith on paranormal love!! And if you don´t enjoy it, you can always complain to me!!
aidyn_loves_miguel More than 1 year ago
With all the crazed teens out there looking for a love story, you'll find five in this one book. These are unforgettable and unlike anything you'd ever expect from another love story. After all you don't see many love story's today where someone falls in love with a ghost... This book will make you laugh, make you cry, but most impotantly show you that true love existsout there for everyone, you just have to keep your hopes up and search for it.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
A hot ghost with a message from beyond the grave. Two futuristic teens discovering the wonders of dreams and hormones for the first time. A hand-fasting that leads to more heartbreak - and magic - than any girl would have thought possible. A mysterious, immortal boy who may or may not be any more real than the paper he's printed on. A selkie who traps a human with his skin - though really he only wanted to date her.

That's a brief glimpse of the stories of LOVE IS HELL, an anthology of romantic and fantastical YA fiction from several of the genre's top authors.

Though most of the stories are dark, there's plenty of humor to be had, especially in Westerfeld's amusing take on a too-perfect future. Zevin's tale will make you question your own reality (in a good way), and Marr, Larbalestier, and Stolarz prove that love is a force more powerful than common sense, hate, or even death.

With plenty of swoon-worthy moments and surprising twists, there's much to enjoy from all.

I found myself wishing that many of the stories were longer, so their characters and events could have been developed more, but that's always the danger with short stories. Readers will race through this eagerly and likely find themselves hoping each author chooses to explore the worlds they've created again in the future.
jorgan91 More than 1 year ago
The first and last stories were my favorite, but all the stories were really good in this book. Its also not that hard of a read, so it doesn't take an awful lot of time to read it. The stories are just the right length, not to long, but not to short. All in all, it was a very good book.
alex414 More than 1 year ago
I read the entire book in a little over two hours. Each of the stories were good (i thought some better than others) but overall I liked the book a lot. I'll definately read it again and would recommend it to anyone that loves supernatural love stories.
murphyslibrary More than 1 year ago
from Murphy's Library Love isn't always just flowers, right? Sometimes it can be a little hellish, and thinking of it some authors have done a collection with little stories about how love can be a tad too paranormal sometimes. I first thought the stories would be scary, but I was wrong. Some of them were sickeningly sweet! In Sleeping with a spirit we are presented to a girl who can't sleep without having very strange dreams that make her wake up startled since she's moved to her new house. She is scared, because the dreams feel truly real, and her parents are starting to think she's gone crazy. It is when she meets Raina and Craig, her new friends, that she starts to see her dreams for what they truly are-or can be. Scott Westerfeld contributes with Stupid Perfect World, using his dystopian abilities to tell a tale about a world where people are almost robotic. But if the world is robotic, is there space for such a thing like love? Maybe when they need to incorporate some human experience for a class it will help them to fell human emotions too. There is a story about a girl who is forced to forget her dreams of being a doctor for a tradition, but sees herself falling in love in the process, just to have her heart broken after that. Can a broken heart be mended by a right choice? We read a little fan fiction-yeah, your read it right-in a short history about a girl who is a little intertwined with The Immortals plot. And last but not least, we read a short story by Melissa Marr about a girl who needs to accept her mate, but is struggling with it. As you can see by my descriptions, my favorite stories were the first two. All of them had some appeal, but the first two were the ones that truly got my attention. The book is fast paced and I read everything really fast. You can read a short story each time and when you less expect it, the book is finished. A good read!
rainpuddle22 More than 1 year ago
I loved every little story in this book and admire all the others individually. Every story was packed full of drama and sucked you in by the first page. The novella Thinner Than Water by Justine Larbalestier had me bawling my eyes out half way through!
dholland08 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed these stories by five of todays hottest teen authors. They were well written and each one was surprisingly different. The first story, Laurie Faria Stolarz's "Sleeping with the Spirit" is the least remarkable of the five. But it's still an entertaining if predictable tale about a girl in love with a ghost. Next is "Stupid Perfect World" by Scott Westerfeld. It's set in a futuristic world, reminiscent of his Uglies series. Two students experience hormones and sleep for the first time, and realize what life was like before their "perfect" society was created. Now we come to my two favorite stories, Justine Larbalestier's "Thinner Than Water" and "Fan Fictions" by Gabrielle Zevin. "Thinner Than Water" is set during modern times, but the main character lives in an old fashioned village. When the villagers suspect her true love of being a faerie, both their lives are in jeapordy. In "Fan Fictions" Gabrielle Zevin paints the picture of a lonely girl who meets a mystrious purple eyed boy who changes her life forever. Finally there is "Love Struck" by Melissa Marr. The story builds off the Celtic myth of selchies, seals who turn into people. I'd reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy or is a fan of these exceptional authors. Love is Hell sure is a good read. I couldn't put it down!
1bigvikki More than 1 year ago
In this book, it has at least 5-6 stories per author. This book is really good. Some are ghost stories and some are just plain out weird stories,but some involve love, suspense, some drama, and fanatasy. .......I liked it because of this. Some of the stories had endings that i would not have imagined after I read the first page, and some of the stories were just sweet and made you want to read them again, but you wanted to finish the whole book first, so you didn't. .......My favorite part in this book is the story by Scott Westerfeld. He is a great author. The story that he wrote in the book was about the future. In the future such things such as hormone inbalance, using doors, and more do not exist. They have transporters and other new inventions. In this class their project is to do something related from the past, so one person experiments on riding a boat (and she gets sea sick for the first time), another does hormone inbalance (girl), and another does sleeping (boy). In the end because of this change, the boy and the girl are no longer just best friends. They get into a fight, but later they fall in .... .......This book would be good to get because it is like no other and i recommend that you read it, from me to you! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a very cool and good quick read. It opened me up to a few new authors and is excellent way to test out their writing styles if you dont want to sit and read one of their full length novels.
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Thiss was an exceklent book although a few of these stories could have been longer! But there was one or two that was hard to understand. It was the one about the girl whos bf was out of a book and the other one was about the old fashion town, well i sorta understood that one. If u know what those are about please tell me! Otherwise else this was a great book! Read on
Alexis Steadman More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book. =]
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