Review: All Signs Point to Yes anthology
by Cam Montgomery, Adrianne White, g. haron davis, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Mark Oshiro, Eric Smith, Emery Lee, Byron Graves, Karuna Riazi, Roselle Lim, Alexandra Villasante, Lily Anderson, Kiana Nguyen
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A literal star-studded anthology that delivers a love story for every star sign straight from the hearts of thirteen multicultural YA authors.
A haunted Aquarius finds love behind the veil. An ambitious Aries will do anything to stay in the spotlight. A foodie Taurus discovers the best eats in town (with a side of romance). A witchy Cancer stumbles into a curious meet-cute.
Whether it’s romantic, platonic, familial, or something else you can’t quite define, love is the thing that connects us. All Signs Point to Yes will take you on a journey from your own backyard to the world beyond the living as it settles us among the stars for thirteen stories of love and life.
These stories will touch your heart, speak to your soul, and have you reaching for your horoscope forevermore.
I’m not a huge astrology fan. Pretty much every I know comes from random internet articles, but I’m a big fan of anthologies (author speed dating!), so I hopped in hoping for the best. Luckily, each of the thirteen stories has a list of characteristics for that sign before the story starts. Yes, there are thirteen stories, the twelve traditional zodiac signs plus one that my limited googling indicates is controversial.
Aries: “ruler and killer” – g. haron davis – ★★
F/NB. Not a strong start unfortunately. There’s a non-binary vampire queen who’s looking for a consort and they’re holding a championship to determine who’s best fit to rule beside them. Chi is a witch, which are technically forbidden since they tried to overthrow the vampire monarchy… Look, there is way too much that needed explaining for such a short story, and I never felt like the important thing – Chi’s magic – got enough explanation. There wasn’t enough focus on the relationship between Chi and Álava for me either. It’s all vibes no romance.
“The two very things I’d always wanted were connected and somehow, for the first time in my life, the food didn’t seem as important as the guy.
Was this what real love tasted like?”
Taurus: “The Taste of a Kiss” – Roselle Lim – ★★★★
M/F. Look, if you can get through this story without ordering some Korean fried chicken, you’re a better person than me! It’s childhood friends to lovers (one of my favorite tropes!), plus a side of figuring out what to do about Asian parent pressure. Super cute, still a bit light on the romance, but this one worked better for me.
Gemini – “Doublespeak” – Tehlor Kay Meija – ★★★★
F/F. This is a case of “twins” who are cousins born close together and are complete opposites… though they seem to share the same taste in girls. Ana’s pranks have gotten Jessi in trouble in the past, so she’s not completely thrilled that she’s coming to stay with her but resolves to make the best of it. And then Ana starts hitting on Jessi’s crush, and the next thing she knows, somehow Jessi is filling in for Ana on long phone conversations with Ana’s girlfriend. Fun, even if I spent most of the story wanting to smack Ana back to her own house.
“Tomorrow, she would be able to keep up the pretend of being a somewhat witch, and try again.”
Cancer – “L(Train)iminal” – Karuna Riazi – ★★★★★
M/F. I’m a cancer so I was inclined to be partial towards this one – and it’s about a library witch!!! Mia’s a homeless witch who has to gain power by riding the L train. Normally witches gain power from their homes, but without one, she has to make do with the scraps from riding on the train as long as possible, while somehow managing numerous part time jobs and trying to find a full-time one. There’s a tiny bit of romance, but mostly it’s about finding the space you fit in. Would 100% read a full length novel about this!
Leo – “Alternative Combustion” – Kiana Nguyen – ★★★
F/NB. Princess has a crush on Lala, a skate boarding enby hottie, but she’s too afraid to even talk to them. But a late night conversation about astrology may just lead to something more. I liked that Lala shouted out the Girl Scouts, and the amount of crushing Princess was doing over Lala was sublime, but not much else happened.
Virgo – “Sometimes in September” – Byron Graves – ★★★★
M/F. A surprisingly touching story about a boy who’s leaving a treatment program and meets a girl just starting the program. This one hit me hard in the feels.
Libra – “Fake Scorpio” – Mark Oshiro – ★★★★★
M/M. Efren, who makes his spare cash as the high school astrologer, discovers that he’s not exactly who he thought he was. Efren’s the type of OTT queer disaster that I love (err, or identify strongly with). Super cute and funny, and I’m definitely picking up the rest of this author’s work.
“Though the idea of not thinking about Kim almost feels ridiculous. She’s an ever-present thought, as much as part of me as Gritty is to Philadelphia, the feelings strange and wonderful. Again, like Gritty.”
Scorpio – “The South Street Challenge” – Eric Smith – ★★★★
M/F. This story is deeply sweet, plus it’s set in my beloved Philly. Miguel’s leaving for college and his parents are moving to California, so he’s spending his last days of summer with his best friends, doing all the cheesy (pun-intended) Philly tourist things with his best friends, including his crush. A little bittersweet, but ultimately hopeful.
“It’s a special thing for a girl to take up space. A more special thing for a queer Black girl to do so.”
Ophiuchus – “Formation” – Cam Montgomery – ★★★★★
M/F (with trans rep!!!). The world-building in this story is phenomenal! Five girls, including Luna, are preparing to make the trek up the mountain to serve as conduits for the Other and, well, New Orleans. There wasn’t quite enough to the romance for me, but I’d totally read a book length work about this. Another author added to my TBR!
Sagittarius – “Anchor Point” – Lily Anderson – ★★★★★
M/F. Nothing like going all in and doing a story about archers for Sagittarius! A story, told over four years and numerous archery competitions, of “Katniss” and “Robin Hood,” two extremely competitive high school archers. I loved this one: the banter, the competition, the ending! Seriously the best romance of the whole anthology!
“But I love you. And that never can change. It also is eterno, you understand?”
Capricorn – “Mucho, Mucho Amor” – Alex Villasante – ★★★★
F/F. An adorably sweet story about love and acceptance and the death of a TV astrologer. Definitely made me cry.
Aquarius – “I Come from the Water” – Adrianne White – ★★
I have absolutely no idea what happened in this story. There’s a river? There was a cool ghost, though, so bonus star for that.
“I think you’re really smart. And funny. And snarky, but like, in a funny and smart kind of way.”
Pisces – “The Cure for Heartbreak” – Emery Lee – ★★★★★
M/M. Luis, who works at his parents’ magic shop, reluctantly helps the school jock Al when he comes in asking for a cure for a broken heart. And then keeps coming back. Oblivious grouchy loners are my kryptonite! My second favorite romance, and a great ending to the book!
Overall, while there were definitely some stories that didn’t work for me, I’m going to give the anthology as a whole four stars because several of the stories were excellent! Plus, I’ve got several new authors to check out! If you’re looking for an anthology featuring many diverse queer voices, I’d definitely recommend this!
Content notes: View Spoiler »violence (including murder), homophobia, reference to self-harm, reference to past substance abuse, bullying « Hide Spoiler