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Never Be Younger: A YA Anthology | Various Authors | Review

*image via Goodreads

Shakespeare's classic plays are given a modern twist in this new YA Anthology.

There's high school drama and space explorers, dreamy love stories and darker tales of magic and witchcraft. The book brings together all the best bits of the timeless Bard's work, including revised versions of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, providing a unique collection of short stories for the Millennial generation.

What’s my verdict?

The easiest way to review this one will probably be to take each story individually - they're all very different and penned by an array of authors.

Star Cross Lovers: The first story eases you into the anthology with a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. The two star crossed lovers are literally living in among the stars in this Utopian space adventure, which I could totally picture turning into a fully fledged series.

The Scarf: A revenge based story based on Othello (without the death and stuff - this is a theme with these adaptations). I really enjoyed the high school politics of this one, as it focused more on the relationship dynamics and characters than a super complicated plot.

A Day of Errors: Total teen comedy fodder very much in the same vein as a lot of Shakespeare's modern adaptations have been done (think She's The Man/10 Things I Hate About You). This short story - inspired by A Comedy of Errors - is the type that'll give you so much second hand embarrassment for everyone involved. It's super fun and probably the quickest story to read in the Anthology.

Any Way the Wind Blows: I would say this one was probably the most confusing and the least similar that I know of to it's original text. Inspired by the dark tragedy of Macbeth, the macabre tone of the original play is still there in the themes of this one.

To Undreamed Shores: The most dreamy out of all of them. Romantic and fairytale-esque, this story was a nice change of pace from many of the others. From what I know of The Winter's Tale, this adaptation is probably the most similar to the original.

A Witches Life: My brain immediately flew to American Horror Story: Coven reading this one (and you'll have no problem picturing Talia and Evan in the lead roles). I liked the paranormal element of warring witches and warlocks (based on ??), but felt the short story format didn't suit the plot line of this one and I finished it feeling a bit rushed.

Mark the Music: Merchant of Venice is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays so this was a really interesting one for me to read. I did enjoy the complete modernisation of Belmont into a EDM club, and it totally reminded just how gross and the original text was. In terms of style, this one felt a bit 'fan-fic-y' for my liking.

A Gargoyle's Prom Nightmare: Based of A Midsummer Night's Dream, this is pretty close to the original but I didn't enjoy it as much. The magical elements and tom foolery of love spells and cases of mistaken identity were all still present, but it kind of mad it more confusing.

Overall, Never Be Younger was really fun to read and perfect if you have a short attention span for long YA novels/series. The great thing about this anthology is that you don't necessarily need to know the original text. Each story stands alone as a unique piece, but if you have read any of the plays it's cool to try and find the similarities. The short story format at times can feel a bit stop/start and some resolutions come about far quicker than I'd like them to - but this is totally expected considering the need for short page counts. 

My own personal favourites - if you could tell from the mini reviews - were the stories based of Romeo & Juliet, Othello and The Winter's Tale. These ones in particular were great standalone stories, as well as cool tributes to the Bard's work.

For lovers of...Baz Lurhman's Romeo & Juliet; She's The Man; and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Disclaimer: Review copy c/o Netgalley

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