About the Book

Title: Faraway
Published: 2020

Cover Story: Hints
The Most Fist-Pump Worthy: “The Wickeds” by Gayle Forman
The Least Satisfying: “The Princess Game” by Soman Chainani, “Hazel and Gray” by Nic Stone
The Bizzare (But Beautiful): “The Prince and the Troll” by Rainbow Rowell, “The Cleaners” by Ken Liu
Bonus Factors: Retellings, Heavy Hitters
Break Glass In Case Of: Need an Escape

Cover Story: Hints
The Most Fist-Pump Worthy: “The Wickeds” by Gayle Forman
The Least Satisfying: “The Princess Game” by Soman Chainani, “Hazel and Gray” by Nic Stone
The Bizzare (But Beautiful): “The Prince and the Troll” by Rainbow Rowell, “The Cleaners” by Ken Liu
Bonus Factors: Retellings, Heavy Hitters
Break Glass In Case Of: Need an Escape

Cover Story: Hints

Each of the covers for these short stories certainly look the part (for fairy tales), and all include hints at what the stories are about in their somewhat anachronistic elements.

The Deal:

Faraway is a collection of five new short stories that reimagine fairy tales for a more modern world.

The Most Fist-Pump Worthy: “The Wickeds” by Gayle Forman

Forman’s story revisits the “villains” of the Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel stories long after their daughters got their happily ever afters. It’s a story about how appearances—both literal and figurative—can be deceiving, and it ends on a surprisingly upbeat and positive note for all involved.

The Least Satisfying: “The Princess Game” by Soman Chainani, “Hazel and Gray” by Nic Stone

Chainani’s tale is like The Descendents, but … grosser. “The Princess Game” is the story of an investigation of a series of murders of young women who attend a prestigious high school where the popular boys—the Princes—play a game to see who can hook up with the “best” of the girls. It’s a very modern reimagining, but it also made me hate all of the princes. And the ending is frustratingly non-resolved.

Stone’s story reimagines Hansel and Gretel-like characters as a couple who get lost in the woods and find themselves at a very different house of delights. They, like their fairy tale predecessors, get away, but I again wanted a better resolution. Didn’t need to be a complete HEA, but since when do the villains get off easy in fairy tales?

The Bizzare (But Beautiful): “The Prince and the Troll” by Rainbow Rowell, “The Cleaners” by Ken Liu

I honestly don’t know what Rowell was trying to say with her story, which tells the tale of a young man who lives in a “perfect” world and his growing relationship with the troll that lives under a bridge he passes over every day on his way to work (and Starbucks). Rowell’s world building in this story is vague (in an unsettling way), but also super intriguing. And the man’s relationship with the troll is quite lovely.

Liu’s tale is the most original of the collection. “The Cleaners” tells the stories of three different people in a world in which memories are deposited, physically, on objects, and people are employed to clean said objects. It’s a very unique and lovely story that feels a little like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but more magical and less sci-fi.

Bonus Factor: Retellings

Maria and Tony from West Side Story singing on a balcony.

I love a good retelling, and although I liked some of these stories more than others, all of them scratched that itch for a familiar story with a brand-new twist or five.

Bonus Factor: Heavy Hitters

Each of the authors with stories in this collection is a pretty big name, and it’s fun to see them bring their talents to these short stories.

Break Glass In Case Of: Need an Escape

Much like their classic fairy tale inspirations, the stories in this collection take readers somewhere “else” for a short period of time. The stories are much more modern than the originals, but that doesn’t make them less magical. Definitely pick this collection up—or any of the stories separately—if you need a bit of escapism this holiday season.

Literary Matchmaking

Poisoned

Jennifer Donnelly’s Poisoned features another evil Queen who’s a lot more well-rounded than the fairy tales would have you believe.

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)

Marissa Meyer’s Stars Above is a set of short stories from her Lunar Chronicles series, probably the most famous of YA retellings.

The Magic Fish

And Trung Le Nguyen’s The Magic Fish is another (wonderful) example of how to make fairy tales more applicable to modern times.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.