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Color outside the Lines: Stories about Love

by Sangu Mandanna (Editor)

Other authors: Samira Ahmed (Contributor), Elsie Chapman (Contributor), Lauren Gibaldi (Contributor), Lydia Kang (Contributor), Michelle Ruiz Keil (Contributor)12 more, Lori M. Lee (Contributor), Sangu Mandanna (Contributor), L.L. McKinney (Contributor), Anna-Marie McLemore (Contributor), Danielle Paige (Contributor), Karuna Riazi (Contributor), Caroline Tung Richmond (Contributor), Tarun Shanker (Contributor), Adam Silvera (Contributor), Tara Sim (Contributor), Eric Smith (Contributor), Kelly Zekas (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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835329,589 (3.67)None
An anthology of short stories exploring interracial and other relationships, in which differences are front and center, but may or may not matter.

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Showing 5 of 5
This book has been on my tbr for a very long time, probably since the day it was announced. And I was so happy the day I got approved for the ARC. This is such a delightful read, full of adorable meet cutes and chance encounters and every story in its own way emphasizes that our differences can bring us closer and it’s so much better to learn from each other, than letting the color of our skin divide us. Really a nice set of empathetic stories and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. My experience was also enhanced by the fact that I buddy read it with my dearest friends.

Below are my individual reviews for the stories:

Turn the Sky to Petals by Anna-Marie McLemore

It’s always jarring when the first story starts off in second person, but this one turned out to be easy to adjust to. This is the story of a Latina girl who loves dancing and a Romani boy who’s very passionate about playing the cimbalom, who bond over the fact that the thing they love so much is also the reason for their body getting battered and having to live in constant pain. Their dread of maybe having to give up their art for the sake of living a relatively less painful life was very palpable and I could totally feel it. But what made this story was the descriptions of the amazing variety of flowers which made this a very atmospheric experience.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Prom by Danielle Paige

Another little story in second person, this was about two childhood friends who feel it’s just inevitable to be together, but one of them is a bit worried what others will think of their relationship. I’m actually unsure how I feel about this because it was too short to form an opinion.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️

What We Love by Lauren Gibaldi

The story of a Jewish girl and an Indian boy, this one quickly took a dark turn with a white girl continuously bullying the protagonists. And while they wanted to fight back, I thought it was both cute and awesome that they took inspiration from Star Wars to make their point but also not take revenge, deciding that they were better than the bully. I found the development of friendship and more pretty adorable.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Giving Up the Ghost by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

A world which has ghost mentors for each person, this story was hilarious. I loved how snarky and bitchy Sanjiv’s ghost Ching was, but it was nice discovering she was a softy inside (probably “inside” isn’t a valid term for a ghost ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
RGG: Love stories of diversity. Stories vary in quality, interest. Fine for fans of short stories. Reading Interest: 13-YA
  rgruberexcel | May 3, 2020 |
RGG: Love stories of diversity. Stories vary in quality, interest. Fine for fans of short stories. Reading Interest: 13-YA
  rgruberexcel | May 3, 2020 |
RGG: Love stories of diversity. Stories vary in quality, interest. Fine for fans of short stories. Reading Interest: 13-YA
  rgruberhighschool | May 3, 2020 |
"We won tonight because we saved what we love."

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for racism, misogyny, and ableism.)

I swarm the stage with the other girls and here is Lourdes, jumping up and down like a circus girl on a pogo stick. She grabs my hand and I jump with her, the mess of our kiss less important than this moment when a tiny powerful woman stands, feet spread wide, and the crowd of boys parts for the shining raging mass of girls.

“GIRLS TO THE FRONT!” she yells again, and she is pure magic.

(“Gilman Street” by Michelle Ruiz Keil)


“Shiva,” he said quietly, “it was one conversation. It doesn’t mean I’ve been programmed.”

What if he doesn’t want to figure shit out?

“Of course you have. We all have. You just don’t notice because the program has been meticulously designed to benefit you.”

(“Five Times Shiva Met Harry” by Sangu Mandanna)


Anna-Marie McLemore and Adam Silvera are two authors on my (relatively short) insta-read list, making Color outside the Lines a no-brainer for me. Though I was emotionally devastated (!) that Adam Silvera's story was not included in an early ARC of the book, some of the other stories made up for it (okay, almost). In my experience, anthologies tend to be uneven; and, while Color outside the Lines is no exception, I'm happy to report that each story is mildly entertaining at worst.

The overarching theme of the collection is YA fiction about interracial relationships, both opposite-sex and LGBTQ. Some of the stories are contemporary fiction, as I expected, but there's a nice mix of historical fiction and fantasy as well. There are some happily ever afters here, while other endings will reduce you to a puddle of tears. A few are...frustratingly ambiguous. (To Elsie Chapman's “The Boy Is," I say: WHY NOT HAVE THEM BOTH?!? Like for real though, they both sound delightful, and it's just toasted cheese and a donut, yo!)

Anna-Marie McLemore's “Turn the Sky to Petals” is achingly beautiful and magical; no surprise there! “Five Times Shiva Met Harry” by editor Sangu Mandanna is as charming as it is brief; I'm really looking forward to reading more from her (The Lost Girl just jumped up a few spots on my TBR list).

Speaking of new-to-me-authors, Michelle Ruiz Keil's “Gilman Street” is a freaking revelation. Set in 1980s California, and boasting a rad punk vibe, I can only hope “Gilman Street” is just a little taste of what we're in store for with All of Us with Wings, Ruiz Keil's upcoming debut novel. Having just been ghosted by her friend Kelly (for her sleazy BF Ben and his racist friends), Tam skips school and heads down to Berkley, where a chance encounter with a badass drummer named Lourdes changes the course of Tam's life for the better. Spoiler alert: there will be Bikini Kill.

I also quite loved “Giving Up the Ghost” by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. In this world, kids are gifted Ghost Mentors at the age of nine, to help guide them through adolescence - and life, if they so choose. (A Ghost Mentor is mandatory only until one's seventeenth birthday, at which time you may opt to have it removed.) Whereas his parents got a Buddhist monk and a cobbler from Mumbai, Sanjiv got stuck with Ching, a bloodthirsty pirate from the nineteenth century. Her advice, among other things? To re-introduce himself to his childhood crush Addy thusly: "Hi, do you remember me? I’m Sanji and we used to try and glue our hands together in preschool so we wouldn’t be separated at the end of the day—wanna bang?" The story's structure is a countdown to Sanjiv's birthday. Cue: dramatic tension.

Samira Ahmed's period piece “The Agony of a Heart’s Wish”, featuring two star-crossed lovers - both victims of British colonialism, circa 1919 - will shred your heart to pieces. Ditto: Lydia Kang's “Yuna and the Wall,” though in a much happier and more hopeful kind of way. Oh, and Lori M. Lee's “Starlight and Moondust”? 110% as ethereal as the title would have you believe.

Color outside the Lines is a really fantastic collection, in both concept and execution, and even if romance isn't normally your thing.

“Turn the Sky to Petals” by Anna-Marie McLemore - 4/5
“What We Love” by Lauren Gibaldi - 3/5
“Giving Up the Ghost” by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas - 5/5
“Your Life Matters” by L.L. McKinney - 3/5
“Starlight and Moondust” by Lori M. Lee - 4/5
“Five Times Shiva Met Harry” by Sangu Mandanna - 4/5
“The Agony of a Heart’s Wish” by Samira Ahmed - 5/5
“The Coward’s Guide to Falling in Love” by Caroline Tung Richmond - 3/5
“Death and the Maiden” by Tara Sim - 4/5
“Faithfull” by Karuna Riazi - 4/5
“Gilman Street” by Michelle Ruiz Keil - 5/5
“The Boy Is” by Elsie Chapman - 3/5
“Sandwiched in Between” by Eric Smith - 3/5
“Yuna and the Wall” by Lydia Kang - 5/5

TK from Danielle Paige and Adam Silvera

http://www.easyvegan.info/2019/11/12/color-outside-the-lines-edited-by-sangu-man... ( )
  smiteme | Apr 10, 2019 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mandanna, SanguEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahmed, SamiraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chapman, ElsieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gibaldi, LaurenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kang, LydiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keil, Michelle RuizContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Lori M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mandanna, SanguContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKinney, L.L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McLemore, Anna-MarieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paige, DanielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Riazi, KarunaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Richmond, Caroline TungContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shanker, TarunContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silvera, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sim, TaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zekas, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buck, LeilaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ho, CatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keating, Laura KnightNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liatis, MariaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathan, SnehaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nankani, SoneelaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shah, NeilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waites, ChannieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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An anthology of short stories exploring interracial and other relationships, in which differences are front and center, but may or may not matter.

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