“Foreshadow” is an ethereal YA anthology edited by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X.R. Pan and published by Algonquin BFYR. It’s out October 20th, and you can purchase a copy here. With thirteen original stories from new voices, introductions and analysis from bestselling authors, and writing prompts that make it totally interactive, this is a gift to readers.
Anthologies aren’t read like novels, and it didn’t feel right to review this as I would a novel. So, here are the thirteen stories that make up “Foreshadow” as zodiac signs.
Content warnings for these stories can be found here.
Aries – Risk by Rachel Hylton – This story is Metamorphosis, but make it YA. Like Kafka in high school. At its core, this story is all ambition. From the unusual plural third person narration to the undeniably YA voice, this story is all about a group of girls who – as the author puts it – “are not gazed-upon but gazing.” This story is special, written with the kind of bold ambition that makes it the perfect Aries read.
Taurus – Glow by Joanna Truman – Nova Ren Suma writes about emotional resonance in the afterword for this story, and that is as fit a phrase as could be. This narrative practically GLOWS with emotional resonance, pun intended. The story is deeply emotive, and is grounded in that emotion the way Taurus is grounded in the Earth. The physical, tactile nature of a specific piece of the Earth is critical to this story and its descriptive setting. The Venus-ruled Taurus is rooted in love in all forms, and the uncompromising love depicted here is a perfect choice.
Gemini – Flight by Tanya S. Aydelott – Super atmospheric and great depth of character, especially for an unnamed narrator. This story is truly captivating, and I won’t spoil why, but the unnamed narrator’s mother displays the exact duality in personality stereotypical of Geminis. Throughout the narrative, there is this prevailing sense that we don’t know who we’re seeing on the page in front of us, and it’s that special dichotomy that makes this my Gemini choice.
Cancer – Pan Dulce by Flor Salcedo – This story is full of intense nostalgia. Inspired by real life events, the roots of this story are in the beginning stages of friendship. Deeper than the friendships developing here, is the relationship the narrator, Rosa, has with her mother. There’s so much growth there, I won’t spoil it, but it really is the most impactful part of the story. That deep emotional loyalty is what makes this story perfect for Cancer. There’s a Cancer-like sentimentality to it, as well, that makes it a lovely read.
Leo – Break by Sophie Meridien – Leos are bright, creative, and warm-hearted, just like this beautiful story. It’s structure is incredible, accounting for the creativity points toward its Leo score. What really embodies the Leo spirit, though, are the characters. They’re such fun people with impeccable chemistry. This story deals with microaggressions, and it’s done in a way that bonds the characters together without tokenizing their experiences as people of color. This was a beautifully bright romance that I will read over and over again.
Virgo – Solace by Nora Elghazzawi – To be honest, I’m having trouble coming up with coherent thoughts about this one. It’s so deep, so deeply personal and emotive, that it’s something to be felt, not discussed. The reasoning behind this choice is less logical than that of the other signs. I have a personal fondness for Virgos, and that’s purely why this story is here. Besides the themes of loyalty and kindness running through the narrative, the Virgo spirit this story has for me is just because I adore it. This is the best short story I’ve read in a long, long time.
Libra – Princess by Maya Prasad – Balance is the essence of the Libra, and the essence of this atmospheric story. In a beautifully built world, Prasad depicts a teenager who just wants it all. Her circumstances are dire, and her dreams are made of galaxies. She’s diplomatic and fair, and she wants everything she possibly can get out of life. This narrative of rich culture definitely proves that teenagers contain multitudes, and they can balance them all.
Scorpio – Sweetmeats by Linda Cheng – This story is a modern day fairy tale that is done beautifully. Running through it is an innate spookiness that makes it a perfect October read. Beyond that, though, is a deep sense of human connection, and in some places, a lack thereof. All kinds of relationships are depicted in this narrative, shaped by eerie, horrific events. Marlie and Mei have the kind of determined stubbornness and genuine relationship that make them the ideal Scorpio pair. Beyond that, Scorpio-ruled Pluto is the planet of transformation and regeneration, and I won’t spoil why this story epitomizes those traits.
Sagittarius – Escape by Tanvi Berwah- This story has the kind of idealistic, putting thoughts to actions, fire sign energy of a Sagittarius. The generationally mystic nature of the story shrouds nearly everything about it in secrecy, giving the narrative a mysterious tone. Readers are just waiting for a plot twist, and it is a complete departure from the one I was expecting. What best illustrates this story’s fire is the protagonist’s own agency. She has the unending curiosity and indomitable traveling spirit of a Sagittarius.
Capricorn – Resilient by Mayra Cuevas – This story has an incomparable sense of identity. Every character, from the narrator to a man she begins to bond with over coffee, has the same sense of unbearable loss. In trying to regroup from that loss, they end up together, all in the same situation. That’s resilience. The emotions running through this story were raw and real, I felt so attached to these characters by the end of the story. They each possess a Capricorn’s sense of independence and discipline. The story itself embodies its title, and the Capricorn spirit.
Aquarius – Belly by Desiree S. Evans – Though not a water sign, the Aquarius is represented by the water bearer symbol. Water is the great equalizer in this story, its power is a character of its own. There is a deep sense of self with this narrator, and so much depth of character is woven into the fabric of this story. This character is at one with the water, and it makes for a compelling flood of a story.
Pisces – Monsters by Adriana Marachlian – Pisces are intuitive people, emotionally expressive and empathetic. Intuitive is the best word I can think of to describe this story. There is a deep sense of fear and an aching loneliness running through it, and yet, the narrator is always perceptive to the feelings of others around her. The fish swimming in opposite directions that represent Pisces are the perfect symbols for this narrator, who is divided by what she sees and feels.
Ophiuchus – Fools by Gina Chen – Ophiuchus is the least known sign in the zodiac. It’s validity is often debated, giving it a natural sense of otherness. Everyone on Ahma’s island shares this sense of otherness. There are multiple languages and dialects within this story, multiple instances of othering in each character. With the secrecy and bravery of a Scorpio, and the idealistic curiosity of a Sagittarius, this richly developed story is perfectly nestled between them, in the eighteen days that make up Ophiuchus.
Thanks to the publicity team at Algonquin BFYR for letting me be a part of the blog tour for this powerhouse of an anthology! How did I do? Let me know what you think of my choices in the comments or on Twitter @MarissaEller.