Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy is a short story anthology that was curated and edited by the amazing, and so very talented, Ameriie. Seriously, Ameriie is an angel and I’m so thankful that she put this anthology together. I completely believe this collection will appeal to so many readers. I mean, these stories surround villains and their often misunderstood back stories, and then throw in some amazingly talented and popular authors, and then some of the most popular Booktubers around right now, and you truly have something different that many YA readers can appreciate and get excited over. It’s honestly genius and a great way to celebrate reading and the literary community in general.
There is a lot of controversy about whether or not these Booktubers “deserved” to get published, and I’m not here to start a war over that, but I will say that these people put a lot of work into their videos and have been doing it long enough to get pretty substantial followings. This book is going to sell a lot of copies, and for that alone it makes sense that they “deserve” to be published. I mean, capitalism exists in the book world, too.
I know many Booktubers don’t read as much as the average reviewer and I know many want to write their own books. I also know many people in the book community are upset the Booktubers don’t read the ARCs they are sent and I know many people dislike their paid promotions. I see these things, I truly do. But guess what? These Booktubers are human beings, who read your hurtful words, and are just accepting opportunities that the publishers are giving them. If you don’t like them, unsubscribe to them. If you don’t like their writing or their books then write a review saying why you don’t like their writing or their books.
Also, you all have free will. You don’t have to pick this book up. I’m a firm believer in “speaking with your money/wallet” and no one is making you support these people. And let’s be real, most the people who are complaining about this, will be complaining about people speaking up against harmful representation tomorrow. It’s okay to bash on Booktubers who don’t “deserve” to be published, but God forbid someone write a review on a book they’ve never read about how people from that culture are saying that the representation hurts their people.
Lastly, most Booktubers are aware of their privilege, and some of the people on this list use their platform for good discussions that I wish the book community would actually listen to. You guys know I always give my honest opinion, and you know I will with this review, too. I’m not going to judge the Booktubers I love and subscribe to differently than the Booktuber I’m not the biggest fan of. Also, I’ll even give you guys full disclosure on the Booktubers I love in my break down of each story.
Overall, this was actually a pretty strong anthology and it held a lot of really good stories that I would completely recommend, especially if you are a fan of these authors. Maybe it impressed me because I had my expectations set so low, but I truly closed this book happy that I read it.
With every anthology that I review I break down and rate each story individually. I just want to preface this breakdown by saying that I will be critiquing these stories and prompts and these essays. I also gushed a little bit about a couple of my personal favorite Booktubers. I’m sorry if I didn’t enjoy something that your favorite Booktuber prompted or that your favorite author wrote, but I hope you still respect my opinion(s) and understand that everyone has different tastes, especially with reading. I broke down and reviewed each story individually, while also giving each story its own star rating, and I gave my personal thoughts on every prompt.
Also, if you’d prefer to go into the anthology completely blind and unaware of any of the prompts, please do not continue reading any further. I won’t be giving any spoilers or anything like that, but while reading this book, the prompts come after you’ve read the story! So, again, you should not read this break down if you want your reading experience to be a complete surprise!
➽ The Blood of Imuriv by Renée Ahdieh – ★★
• Prompt and The Evil Vaccine: Keep the Darkness at Bay by Christine Riccio at PolandbananasBOOKS
I was really disheartened that this was the start to this anthology, because I really didn’t enjoy this story at all. I mean, if I could get a full length story about this world I would probably read it, but I just personally feel that it didn’t make for that great of a short story. This story is about a boy, who is forced to sit by the sidelines and watch his sixteen year old sister get ready to one day rule. He obviously doesn’t like that and wishes that he could change the future he is destined to only watch from the sidelines. I’ll be honest, I really disliked the prompt and I even thought her essay thing was trying way too hard to be funny and it felt so forced and ended up being really unfunny. Also, making jokes and/or light hearted fun about vaccination just kind of feels bad anyways. Renée Ahdieh’s beautiful writing did shine through, and for that I gave it two stars, but I honestly did not enjoy this story what so ever. The best part was that it takes place in a matriarchal society. Also, I honestly and truthfully hate the Beatles.
➽ Jack by Ameriie – ★★★
• Prompt and Giants and Tyrants by Tina Burke at Lushables
This story was better than the first and I loved Amerrie’s writing. Tina Burke’s idea to use a real life historical figure villain with an old classic fairy tale villain was beyond wonderful and so creative! I also loved Tina’s very thoughtful and informative part at the end. Her closing section was seriously one of the best in this entire book, and I loved reading it as much as I loved reading the story. This story is a never before seen take on Jack and the Beanstalk and it, too, does not disappoint. Amerrie wrote a completely captivating story that even made me laugh a few times.
➽ Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani – ★★★
• Prompt and The Bad Girl Hall of Fame by Samantha Lane at Thoughts on Tomes
You guys need to understand that I tried really hard not to be biased here, but I love Sam! Like, she is such a bright shining light in this community, and I’m not sure what the book world has done to deserve her. Plus, she’s such a strong woman, whose aesthetic is beyond words, who loves video games, isn’t afraid to be critical of what’s popular, calls out problematic things, and is such an amazing analyst of books in general. Plus, when I think of book reviewers that love villains, I think of Sam. I knew her prompt was going to be nothing short of amazing. And her final thoughts with social media posts and comments were nothing short of brilliant. Her prompts spoke to me and my likes on every level and I am so happy for her and proud of her.
Also, this story was amazing. Just know, if you like or are just familiar with Arthurian legends about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table you are going to enjoy this. And everyone knew that this would have Hades and Persephone elements because of Sam. Yet, I also would recommend this short story if you are a fan of Illuminae, because Soman Chainani has created an amazing story just in multimedia format via IMs. I know I gushed a lot about Sam, but Soman’s story unique and really enjoyable to read! Also, his villain was the perfect amount of grey that I’m always looking for.
➽ Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard – ★★★
• Prompt and Dear Sasha, the 411 for Villains by Sasha Alsberg at abookutopia
I also have a soft spot in my heart for Sasha. She just genuinely seems like such a little sweetheart to me, and she’s one of the few Booktubers on this list that I genuinely am excited for and want to read her published work. Also, her prompt was short, simple, and perfect.
This story just feels bad. Like, if Susan Dennard would have just wrote a Sherlock and Watson gender-bent love story people would have lost it and completely loved this. Instead she gender bends Sherlock and Watson so they can gush about Moriarty? Like, she could have just, you know, left Sherlock and Watson boys, and had Sherlock gush over Moriarty and people would have loved that too. Instead, we get this bad feeling, pointless gender-bend modern day version of Sherlock Holmes. It is extra sad, because this short story was pretty addicting. Also, it’s beautifully written, but it just feels so bad thinking of what could have been.
➽ The Blessings of Little Wants by Sarah Enni – ★★★★
• Prompt and Will the Real Villain Please Stand Up? by Sophia Lee at thebookbasement
This story was so good. The prompt and the story were close to perfection. This story is about two witches that are trying to save magic. Half way through, these two characters were sitting in their common room, surrounded by books, I thought I was reading a much darker version of some kind of side quest in Harry Potter. Seriously, this short story is amazing.
Also, I already said Sophia’s prompt was perfection, but her essay at the end was what I wish everyone’s essay was like. It was informative, while making me think, and even pulled at my heartstrings a little bit. And I, too, want to know all of the things Sophia wants to know upon finishing this short story. Like, I hope they pair up again and give me at least a novella about Sigrid and the consequences of her choices.
➽ The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer – ★★★★★
• Prompt and Villain or Hero? You Decide! by Zoë Herdt at readbyzoe
The only complaint I have about this short story is that I wish it was a full length novel. Marissa Meyer is the queen of fairy-tale retellings for a reason, and Zoë was so very smart to give her an inspiration that plays to her strength. This book is a take on the sea witch from The Little Mermaid and it was everything I could have asked for and more. This short story also talks about loneliness in the face of only wanting love, and then betrayal when you only wanted to be accepted. Perfect villain, perfect messages, perfect story. Like, if you’re a fan of Marissa Meyer, this short story is a must read.
Also, Zoë is so sweet. How can anyone not love her? And her essay was so amazing as well. She really talked about a side of her life that I think so many people can relate to, even though I believe she is nothing close to a coward. I also loved her quiz, even though I ended up being a villain!
➽ Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon – ★★★★★
• Prompt and Without the Evil in the World, How Do We See the Good? by Benjamin Alderson at Benjaminoftomes
TW: Rape (very minor and nothing graphic, but it is there.)
This story was also perfection. I love the discussion on beauty standards and expectations, while even touching on the expectations of young girls to remain virginal. Also, this story probably has the most evil villain in this entire anthology, and the twist was so beautiful and nothing you’d expect in a Medusa remake. Also, now I want to read everything Cindy Pon has written.
I also am a pretty big fan of Ben, and his prompt was exactly what I wanted and expected from this anthology. Ben broke down different elements of the story and talked about some of his favorite parts. I wish all the Booktubers did this, instead of their “creative” things, because this flowed so well and just highlighted Cindy Pon’s story, while adding a great perspective.
➽ Death Knell by Victoria Schwab – ★★★★★
• Prompt and Dear Death by Jesse George at JessetheReader
I had a pretty good feeling that VE Schwab would write one of the best stories in this anthology, no matter what her prompt was, and she didn’t disappoint. Her story made me so unexpectedly emotional, too. Like, I had tears on my cheeks through the entirety of this short story. I actually think this could be my favorite thing that VE Schwab has ever written. Seriously, if you’re a fan of her beautiful and mesmerizing writing, read this short story.
Jesse’s essay ended up hitting really close to home for me, too. It was really impactful and showed a vulnerable side of him that I really appreciated, especially surrounding the topic of death. I loved both parts of this collaboration.
➽ Marigold by Samantha Shannon – ★★★★★
• Prompt and Evil Revealed by Regan Perusse at PeruseProject
Okay, I know I’ve handed out a ton of five stars in a row, but this short story felt like it was written for me. Her prompt had to do with a folklore story about a fae queen that kidnaps young girls in nineteenth-century London. If you follow my reviews, you know that this screams “Melanie”! I couldn’t not give this five stars, and Samantha Shannon weaves an amazing tale that balances whimsy and female empowerment. Like, I want an entire series surrounding this short story immediately.
I love Regan (and Matilda) and she, like Ben, broke down Samantha’s story with her thoughts and feelings, which made for such a wonderful transition that felt so right and cohesive. Also, I think she might be one of the few Booktubers that is not planning on writing a book, which is a damn shame, because her writing is absolutely fantastic. This was, hands down, the best written thing from any of the Booktubers, and I even enjoyed it more than some of the actual stories written by published authors in this anthology. Regan is so talented, and it shined so brightly through with her essay. Oh, and her prompt was the second best of the entire collection, too. Regan gets all the stars!
➽ You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera – ★★★★
• Prompt and Behind the Villain’s Mask by Catriona Feeney at LittleBookOwl
I really enjoyed this story, and it felt so much different than the rest of the anthology, in a good way. Also, teenage girl crime lord that wears a mask made from the old skin of her abusive father? Like, please, allow me to buy this full length novel. Also, the different drugs that Adam’s main character dealt were so interesting. They were all so inventive and I honestly wish I knew even more. This was a really strong story and I think many people would really enjoy this one.
I didn’t really care for Catriona’s essay on different masks. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it, again like many of the others, made my reading experience feel disjointed after I read Adam’s beautiful story.
➽ Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith – ★★★
• Prompt and Julian Powell: Teen Psycho Extraordinaire by Raeleen Lemay at padfootandprongs07
I enjoyed this story well enough, and it definitely made you want to keep turning the pages to see why Julian cannot for the life of himself get in trouble for his mysterious powers of willing people to die. I almost thought the prompt was going to have to do with Death Note, but it was just a generic prompt about psychopaths in the future. I did like how this story bordered on not knowing if Julian really had these powers, or if he just thought he did. Being in an unreliable narrators mind is always a fun thing to read about, and I feel like Andrew Smith did a really good job executing that.
I’m not sure if she creates Booktube videos anymore, which, I’m not going to lie, feels pretty bad, because I know there are so many active Booktubers out there that would have loved to be a part of something like this. Obviously I didn’t hold that against her prompt, but I also won’t lie that I felt a little disheartened when I looked up her channel and saw she hasn’t posted a “Booktube” video in five months and that she’s only posted three videos in all of 2017.
➽ Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke – ★★★★
• Prompt and Glamorized Recovery: Expectations vs. Reality by Whitney Atkinson at WhittyNovels
Anyways, her prompt had to do with Beauty and the Beast and it was magnificent. I’ve never read anything by April Genevieve Tucholke before, but her writing was fantastic and so engrossing. I was instantly pulled into this retelling that somehow merged Bell, the Beast, and Gaston all into one. Like, I can’t explain it without spoilers, but it was very well done. I love the whimsical in this, I loved the feministic undertones, and I loved the ending.
➽ Sera by Nicola Yoon – ★★★★
• Prompt and The Bad Girls’ Guide to Villainy by Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy at Cuddlebuggery
This story is a look into a child’s life, and why she is “evil”. The look at each time period was a little boring at first, but when I got to the present day part? Oh, boy, it was amazing and such a powerful story to end this anthology on. I really enjoyed it, and I want to know everything about Sera and where life is going to take her now. Also, the prompt was “Gender-Flipped God of War” and when I read those words I actually got Goosebumps. Plus, Steph and Kat’s essay was also perfectly executed with feminism and just the glory of being a strong woman. It was also funny while also talking about some powerful and real situations in today’s world. I loved it. Easily the best prompt in this entire collection. Praise and bless all three powerful women that collaborated on this story! Wonderful story and a wonderful prompt.
I gave Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy 4 stars overall, because out of a possible 65 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 13 stories) this collection accumulated 50 stars (83%).
I won’t lie; the added essays, or whatever it is you want to call them, didn’t add much to this book. Sometimes they actually felt really disjointed and sort of took me out of the groove of reading this book. I really wish they would have only done the prompts, and I think that would have made for a much more cohesive read.
I went into this anthology apprehensive and only truly buying it to support some of these Booktubers who I really love, but I came out of this really impressed and happy with my purchase. Again, I completely understand why some people have no desire to support this, but if you enjoy some of these authors then their stories are totally worth the purchase. I am wholeheartedly impressed and would completely recommend this anthology.