Grim edited by Christine Johnson

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen

Published: February 25, 2014

About the book         Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today: 

Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Kimberly Derting, Myra McEntire, Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees-Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Christine Johnson, Jeri Smith Ready, Shaun David Hutchinson, Saundra Mitchell, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton and Jon Skrovan.  [Source:  Harlequin]

I read through this short story anthology out of curiosity since these are rewrites of fairy tales and I was wondering if they could be used in class as part of a comparative lit unit.

A couple of the stories might work, for example, “The Key” by Rachel Hawkins contains elements of the Bluebeard story, which has also inspired various authors (maybe consider “Bluebeard’s Egg” by Margaret Atwood, Jane Eyre by Bronte?). The characters of Bluebeard and his wife are teenagers, and the setting is contemporary. Hawkins’ writing is descriptive and I probably would have read a novel-length version by her.

Another modernized story I wanted to point out is “The Twelfth Girl” by Malinda Lo, which retells the story of the twelve dancing princesses. One unusual comparison to use with students could be the French-Canadian short story by Honore Beauregard, “La Chasse-Galerie” (“The Canoe”). In “The Twelfth Girl,” a group of boarding school students sneak out every night to go dancing. They must keep it a secret, and no one at the school suspects anything. Their journeys each night take them to places that are impossible to travel to, yet they always arrive back to their dormitory in time.

The rest of the stories in this anthology might be of interest to some students, but this anthology would not be appropriate for use with a class as a whole, as an official text, due to the mature content in a few of the stories. Still, many popular YA authors have contributed stories to Grim and so it might be a possible recommendation to students who have already read previous novels by some of these writers.