I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!
Book: My True Love Gave to Me
Author(s): Stephanie Perkins (Editor), Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Description: Collection of twelve short stories suitable for young adults
Publishing Information: Released October 14, 2014 by St. Martin’s Press
First Sentence: It was cold out on the patio, under the deck.
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(taken from Goodreads)
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms, and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
Cover Review: I hate to tell you this, but the people on the actual cover don’t move around. However, isn’t this gif absolutely adorable? It made me love this cover even more. I was always one of the people that liked the fancy British edition of this book more, but I’m really starting to appreciate this one a lot more. It just screams “It’s the holidays – holla!” I also think all of the couples (twelve of them, you’ll notice; guess who those people are?) on the ice are a nice touch.
Most of the reviews I’ve read on this book have broken up the review into twelve parts (one for each story) and I had such differing opinions on each story that I thought I would do that to0. Here we go:
1) Midnights by Rainbow Rowell:
This story was one of my absolute favorites (even though I’ll say that for a ton of them). It’s by Rainbow Rowell – what’s not to love? I actually was laughing out loud within the first two pages, mainly because the love interest is a semi-awkward person who’s severely allergic to tree-nuts who’s walking around asking if there are tree nuts in things which is literally me in every situation ever. I loved that this story was told completely on New Years Eves of different years. It was fascinating and beautiful and adorable and a brilliant way to end a brilliant book.
2) The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
This story was… interesting. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it – it was genuinely entertaining and kept me reading, but I’m not sure I’d be able to tell you what was going on if you asked me. It was a tale of magical realism around Christmastime, and I just wish we would’ve had more time to understand all of the magic and the reasoning for things happening. But then, of course, it wouldn’t be a short story.
3) Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
I’ve seen Matt de la Peña’s name everywhere, but I’ve never read one of his novels. Now, I wish I had. THIS STORY WAS FANTASTIC. It was so cute but also a really awkward and sad situation. I just love the way that the entire premise came to be. Like, He’s dog sitting in the building she lives in, and her shower is broken. TWO WORLDS COLLIDE. I don’t know. It was so fun. I didn’t want it to end.
4) Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
Jenny Han’s story wasn’t what I expected it to be, although I don’t know what I was expecting. A girl accidentally sending her letter to Santa to her crush? Still, I wasn’t at all disappointed. Han’s story was different than the others because it took place at the North Pole. It follows a girl who was adopted by Santa who is in love with an elf but knows it will never work out. It was kind of reminiscent of the movie Elf, but was also unique and very entertaining in its own right.
5) It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
I read Anna and the French Kiss, and I thought it was really cute. Still, it wasn’t my favorite contemporary ever. I was interested to read more of Stephanie Perkins works outside of that series.
This? This was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. It might be my favorite out of all of the stories, but don’t quote me on that. I can’t make up my mind. I just really, really enjoyed it.
A girl goes to a Christmas tree farm to ask a boy (of the cute variety) for a favor, and is talked into buying a tree. Which is kind of an issue, since she walked there.
6) Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
I’ve never been able to really get into David Levithan’s writing, and unfortunately I didn’t completely love this one. It wasn’t bad, at all, but it just wasn’t one of my favorites. The main character’s boyfriend asks him to dress up as Santa and “just happen to run into” his sister, in order to preserve her belief in Christmas magic. It was a cute premise, but I just feel like not much happened. Still, it was cute and helped get me in the holiday spirit. Who doesn’t love Santa?
7) Krampuslauf by Holly Black
Holly Black is another author that I’ve read nothing from but I’ve been hearing so many things about. This story was really, really… funny? The premise was really unique and kind of unexpected, and I don’t even know what to say about that ending. I really enjoyed it though. I didn’t necessarily want all of these stories to be realistic, and this one certainly wasn’t. It was a fun touch of magic within all the other stories.
8) What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
This was a really solid one as well. It wasn’t in my top three, but it would probably be among my top six. It was a cute little story that had some interesting messages tied in. It also made me want to try eating apple pie with cheese, and how many books make you want to do that?
9) Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
Myra McEntire is yet another author that I hadn’t read anything from, but that’s sure to change because I absolutely loved her writing style. The narrative was absolutely hilarious. The story follows a boy who accidentally burned down a church a few weeks before Christmas, and now has to help save the annual pageant. The twist? His long-time crush is the pastor’s daughter. This was such a fantastic, Christmas-y short-story. It radiated love and forgiveness and holiday joy and I LOVED IT.
10) Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This story had me laughing from the first page. Its protagonist is a girl who lives in a town named Christmas and works at a run-down diner named The Christmas Café, which perpetually bears Christmas decorations and waitresses wearing reindeer antlers. Then the diner gets a new, incredibly talented chef. And guess what? He’s attractive.
I honestly loved this book so, so much. It made me cry.
Yup. And not just like, If I concentrated really hard right now and blinked a lot, I’d be crying. Like, uncontrollably, there were actual tears streaming down my face and onto the page. I very rarely actually cry at books. The weird thing is, it’s not even that sad. I just thought it was really cute.
11) Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
This story was incredibly clever, although I can’t go too much into why without spoiling things. The entire premise was insane. I kept waiting for the ending to pop up saying something like, “Then I woke up from that crazy dream. I can’t wait for Christmas!” or something like that. Nope. It was nuts, and real. It was incredibly unrealistic, but I didn’t really mind. It was a fun, fast-paced story that made me smile.
12) The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
If you ever read anything from Laini Taylor, you know how absolutely beautiful her writing style is. It blows me away. Within a short story, she created an entire world with its own customs and traditions. Apart from taking place in December and leading up to Christmas, it wasn’t incredibly Christmas-y, but that’s okay. It took a little bit to get into it, and I wish that we would’ve been able to learn more about this world than we did in the short story (because it was a little confusing), but I was impressed by how much I grew to hate one of the characters in such a short time!
If you couldn’t tell already, I really liked this collection. It was so much fun to read in the days leading up to Christmas, and I could definitely see myself reading and during Christmastimes to come. Obviously every story wasn’t my favorite, but there is definitely something in here for everyone to enjoy, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.