"Every one of these 20 tales shines; there's not a lackluster one in the bunch. In her introduction, Machado declares her intention to ignore any artificial lines drawn between those stories considered "literary" and those labelled as "genre," and she says that her chief criterion in selecting these works was whether they provided her with pleasure. That doesn't mean these stories offer happy endings or simple answers. If there's one theme that unites them, it's the characters' desire to escape: from that haunted house...the restrictions of expected fictional tropes...racism and classism...misogyny and the associated bonds of social convention...and of course, foolish and dangerous preconceptions about the world that everyone holds in some measure (that's just about every story). A strong collection that will inspire, disturb, and, yes, give pleasure.”
– Kirkus, STARRED review
"Experimental...literary, and...boundary-pushing...there’s a decidedly global, multicultural feel to these pieces, which exemplify diversity and representation. A masterful showcase of what’s possible."
– Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
"The stories selected by guest editor Machado for this acclaimed annual anthology reflect her commitment to interrogating the boundaries between literary and genre fiction, asking "what sort of pleasures does this story bring me" instead of "what category is this?" Among the many and varied pleasures of the collection are stories that share Machado's love of formal experimentation...this brilliant and beautiful collection is a must-read for those looking to enjoy the fullest range of narrative pleasure."
– Booklist, STARRED review