Review: A Universe of Wishes, edited by Dhonielle Clayton

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books AnthologyA Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Universe of Wishes is an upcoming YA Fantasy Anthology from We Need Diverse Books, edited by the talented, Dhonielle Clayton.

Featuring fifteen diverse stories from some of the best OwnVoices authors currently writing in the YA genre, this collection has something for everyone.

As I read this collection, I kept track of my rating for each story, as well as a short description. The following are my initial notes:

1. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim, ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I really enjoyed this one, surprisingly moving for such a short story. Buzzwords: m/m romance, dark magic, family tragedy, hope, justice, wishes.

2. The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker, ⭐⭐⭐.5
The Bloom of Everhart is ready to choose his consort. A competition ensues. One contestant feels more drawn to another than she does to her stated prize.

3. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray, ⭐⭐⭐
New York City, 1897. I feel like I am missing something? Am I supposed to know Gemma Doyle?

4. Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie Mclemore, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Cinderella retelling where a peasant girl sneaks into the kingdom during a ball, hoping for an audience with the King and Queen, to plead for the rights of her two mothers, their relationship and others like them. She meets the trans-Prince and he changes everything.

5. Liberia by Kwame Mbalia, ⭐⭐⭐.5
Following a crew on a futuristic mission. One of the characters is attached to the plants they are cultivating from their long distant homeland. I don’t think I got as much out of this as I should have, but Mbalia’s writing is so strong.

6. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Now I definitely need to read the Shades of Magic trilogy!! I loved this. Following Alucard Emery, his relationship with Ray Marshall, and how he came to Captain the Night Spire.

7. The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roadhouse, ⭐⭐⭐.5
A solo space Captain who has lost everything sets out to steal back artifacts stolen from her people and housed in a museum. She discovers an unlikely and charming ally along the way.

8. Dream and Dare by Nic Stone, ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
The story of two misunderstood girls being crushed by traditional gender roles and societal expectations. Remember girls, to always Dare to Dream!

9. Wish by Jenni Balch, ⭐⭐⭐.5
A wish granter from a lamp is surprised when he is summoned to find he is no longer on Earth, but a colony on Venus. The wisher has very special circumstances and he is determined to help her, no matter the cost.

10. The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Every heart tells a story. Futuristic and odd, this story of a young couple secretly questioning love gave me chills!

11. Unmoor by Mark Oshiro, ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
In a world where magic exists, young Felix uses a very different method for ridding himself of heartache. This was powerful.

12. The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed, ⭐⭐⭐⭐
An uninhabitable Earth left behind. An abandoned wasteland. A futuristic archeologist finds record of a girl who once lived. Sadly too realistic.

13. The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton, ⭐⭐.5
An architect who redesigns human form begins a relationship with the heir of a King whose body she is redesigning. Enjoyed the commentary on gender and gender fluidity, but other than that, I found this one quite slow.

14. Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Cordova, ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Boy meets girl. Danae and Fabian. A girl from the DR, locked in a tower for decades. A brujo with the power to save her. A delightfully dark Rapunzel retelling.

15. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A powerful closing story for this collection. Two young men, a world apart, are each held in solitary confinement. One, from Long Beach, California, the other from the Gaza Strip in Palestine. They develop a channel for corresponding and build a deep and binding connection.

This is a really well-rounded collection. Obviously, there were stories that I connected with more than others, but that is always the way with anthologies.

Every person who reads this will have a different experience with these stories, and that’s okay. That’s what it’s all about.

I think all of the contributors to this collection should be proud of their work. I am so happy that this book, and others like it, exist.

I highly recommend this anthology and hope that We Need Diverse Books continues to produce materials like this for a long time to come. For more information on WNDB, click this link:

We Need Diverse Books

Thank you so much to the publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

It was one of my most anticipated anthologies of the year and it definitely did not disappoint!!

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