Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Author(s): A lot. I’ll mention them individually in the review.
Published: October 14th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press
Genres: YA, Romance, Short Stories
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 international bestselling author 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.
Most of these stories (keyword: most) are light and fluffy and romanc-y (romance-y?), which I enjoy immensely but I very rarely give 5 stars to. So, while this is a great book to read snuggled up in a blanket while the world outside is being dusted with snow, the stories did get a little repetitive and predictable after a while. However, there were some fantasy holiday romances thrown in, which were as unexpected as they sound, and they shook things up a bit.
Also, they weren’t all Christmas-themed, which was nice. Some centered around Hanukkah, there was one about New Year’s, one about the Winter Solstice, and there was one that literally just made up a holiday. So if Christmas isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy at least some of the stories.
Overall, it’s a cute, quick read with stories by some great and well-known authors. While some of the stories fell flat for me, there were some gems that make the book worth reading. (And with twelve holiday stories, it’s basically perfect to read over the twelve days of Christmas.)
Okay, so, since this book is a collection of 12 short stories, I’m just going to review each story separately because that seems like the best way to go about it.
ALSO: I’m reviewing the stories in the order that they appear in the book.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
“You’re a kaleidoscope. You change every time I look away.”
Nothing tops this one. This story was set over a course of four years, at a New Year’s party, and it was just the kind of holiday romance I wanted. It’s cute and simple, but endearing, and the writing is absolutely amazing (Rainbow Rowell never ceases to amaze). Noel and Mags have the relationship I want and the friendship I need.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
He is somehow perfectly still, perfectly poised to catch the eye. Unnaturally natural.
I honestly don’t know how to rate this one. It’s a good story with even better writing, but it felt way too complicated and weird for this type of book. It felt like it tried to hard. Kelly Link wanted to go big or go home in a book that is not about going big or going home. Also there were a lot of parts of the plot that didn’t really make sense and just confused me even further.
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
My one talent in life? Filling in those little bubbles on Scantron sheets. That was it. Honest to God, I had a gift for those damn bubbles.
This one was cute, but unfortunately I didn’t like the love interest and the main character made some stupid decisions. Also there were some lame lines of dialogue I couldn’t take seriously. HOWEVER, the concept of two people with basically a whole apartment complex to themselves is really cool and it gave me a kind of cozy feeling as I was reading about it.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
I don’t even have a favorite quote for this one. This story was…bad. It’s a story of a human girl who was raised by Santa at the North Pole, and she has a crush on an elf. Except the elves in this universe are way taller than humans?? To make it less weird, I guess?? Also, it ends abruptly and with almost no resolution. The only good thing, I will say, is Jenny Han’s writing. She knows how to write light and fluffy.
It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
A thrill went through her, hearing his voice again at such a close range. Superior and aloof, but definitely with that paradoxical underpinnings of friendly amusement. It probably allowed him to get away with saying all sorts of rude things.
This story is the definition of a cute holiday romance. There’s witty dialogue, great writing (Stephanie Perks knows how to write romance with some spark); it was light at the right times and emotional at the right times. I am completely satisfied. I am just like, a hoarder of 5-star ratings, and don’t like giving them out a lot. It just didn’t have that something extra, you know?
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
“Yes, little girl,” I say. I am very conscious that this makes me sound like the Big Bad Wolf, so I cheer it up about halfway through, which makes me sound like the Big Bad Wolf after three Red Bulls.
This was…darker than I thought it’d be. And it was really short, which didn’t give me enough time to really care about the characters or get a solid grip on the situation. But! Shout-out for this story having the only gay couple. The concept was also really cute and it was definitely the funniest story.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black
I wondered if it was possible for reality to bend so far it broke.
Oh, man. What was this story?? I’ll tell you what it was NOT: a cute holiday romance. I don’t know what this was but I was not in the mood for it. I didn’t relate to any character, the writing felt stilted, and it was just…a mess. I didn’t connect with it on any level.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
“It’s really only a minor miracle,” she added.
Russell looked at her and cocked his head. “Not sure there is such a thing as a minor miracle.”
It’s a good story and I’m loving the diversity but…I didn’t care about it?? I felt very detached from the whole thing. Maybe I’m just not into the writing, who knows. It was just really boring for me.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
“Are you trying to fix me?”
“Why? Are you broken?”
Okay, I was seriously thinking about skipping over this story because the title didn’t appeal to me at all and I didn’t know the author, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I wasn’t feeling the first couple of pages, but I started to feel for the characters after a while and the ending was absolutely ADORABLE.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
When he smiles, his whole face lights up. It’s like his other expressions are placeholders.
I didn’t like the main character at all (or any other character, really), she was just so mean?? To EVERYONE?? It didn’t blend well with the romance aspect and so the romance felt kind of forced. But, it did get better at the end. There was a great message and I found myself grinning like an idiot so I can’t really give it 2 stars.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
The ranch spread out before us, white and clean and stretching for miles. It was the kind of place most people only see in movies and out of airplane windows.
It was a really interesting story of these two girls switching plane tickets for the holidays without anyone knowing- and who doesn’t love a good identity swap? Even though the ending was really, really, cheesy, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s one of those fluffy romance stories you can’t think too hard about. I think this one was the most like a Hallmark movie out of all of them.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
He was the god of tide-lap and wingbeat, talon and pearl. She was the goddess of…herself. And he could not look away from her.
I think the ending ruined it for me. I was all ready to give this 5 stars because the story was so original and fascinating and intricate, and the writing was BEAUTIFUL. (Seriously, my jaw dropped a couple times just reading some of the descriptions, Laini Taylor has a serious gift for writing) But the ending was just kinda…absurd? Ridiculous? I don’t know what to call it but I DID roll my eyes at it. Even though the story had magical elements it was still grounded in reality, which I liked, and the ending obliterated all that realism and I was a little disappointed.
Whew! I think this is the longest review I’ve ever done. Did you guys read this book? Do you agree or disagree with any of my ratings? Let me know!