Review: Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles

Fresh Ink: An AnthologyTitle: Fresh Ink
Edited by: Lamar Giles
Genres: Young Adult anthology

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.


I have said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m not the biggest fan of anthologies. Short stories often just don’t work for me so, why do I keep picking them up? Because in every single anthology there’s always at least one short story that I absolutely adore, and that makes the entire anthology worth it. And, luckily for me, this anthology had quite a few of those stories.

Here’s a little overview of my thoughts on all of the stories:

Eraser Tattoo by Jason Reynolds, 4 stars – Jason Reynolds is one of my favorite authors, and I always love his writing and his characters. But I think I like his full-length books more than his short stories.
Meet Cute by Malinda Lo, 5 stars – A f/f story set at a convention? Sign me up! I loved this a lot, and I kind of want a longer version of this.
Don’t Pass Me By by Eric Gansworth, 4 stars – I always really enjoy Eric Gansworths writing, and the story was very important. Loved the characters.
Be Cool for Once by Aminah Mae Safi, 3 stars – This was enjoyable and I liked the setting, but me and Amina Mae Safi’s writing just don’t match.
Tags by Walter Dean Myers, 4 stars – I normally never read plays so it was a bit confusing at first, but this was incredibly chilling and powerful. (TW: death, gun violence)
Why I Learned to Cook by Sara Farizan, 5 stars – If you can get me to cry over a story within just a few pages, you automatically deserve 5 stars. Plus, I’m just a sucker for food descriptions and cooking scenes.
A Stranger at the Bochinche by Daniel José Older, 4 stars – Daniel José Olders writing is just incredible, and I really enjoyed this story.
A Boy’s Duty by Sharon G. Flake, DNF – This just did not work for me at all. The setting was great, it was very atmospheric, but I felt very lost. Plus, you know something’s wrong when a short story feels like it’s never going to end.
One Voice by Melissa de la Cruz, 3.5 stars – It was an enjoyable story, but the ending felt super abrupt.
Palladin/Samurai by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham – This was basically impossible to read on my kindle, so I really hope that’ll be fixed in the final copy. But the illustrations looked really good, as far as I could see.
Catch, Pull, Drive by Schuyler Bailar, 5 stars – This was very hard to read, mostly because my eyes were filled with tears the entire time. (TW: transphobia)
Super Human by Nicola Yoon, 5 stars – Nicola Yoon’s stories in anthologies are always so unique and I love them a lot. This was incredible. (TW: gun violence)

This was definitely one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read many, but still), and I’d totally recommend all of them!

(trigger warning: besides the trigger warnings next to certain stories, almost every single one of them deals with racism.)

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