Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Authors: Stephanie Perkins (Editor), Holly Black , Ally Carter , Matt de la Pena ,Gayle Forman , Jenny Han , David Levithan , Kelly Link , Myra McEntire ,Rainbow Rowell , Laini Taylor , Kiersten White
Number of Pages: 320 pages
Date Published: October 9th 2014
Publishing Company: St. Martin’s Press
Let’s take a second to look at all of these amazing authors who wrote one book together!
I thought this book was perfect for the holidays so that’s exactly when I started to read it. The collections of short stories really vary from the different authors. However, these stories are all related to the holidays and each one contains characters that have a joyful time celebrating one of the many holidays out there! The stories are full of spirit and they can help you discover some new authors you might want to look into. What’s also amazing is that each story comes with a little sketch that connects with the story. The sketches are really cute and small, but they meant a lot to me. I felt like it made the book have a more festive quality. However, out of the many stories, I only enjoyed a few.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell 4/5
The story is about two friends who spend their New Year’s Eve together ever year and the main character, Mags watches her friend Noel kiss a girl every year. The plot was very clever and definitely captivating. Going through many New Year’s Eves sequentially, was very fun. The plot from each year tied together well, and it felt like the same day was repeated over and over. Time also felt like it sped up and in a short few words, I experienced Noel and Mag’s relationship developing in the real life time of 4 years, but in the book time of a few pages. The characters were cute as well. There was constant banter between the friends and Noel was allergic to many things which Mag would always test for him first .
“‘You didn’t eat any of the chicken salad tonight, did you? There were almonds.’
‘Still saving my life,’ he said.”
This was a great, fun, holiday read! I’ve never read Rainbow Rowell before, but I think I’d really like her books.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link 2/5
This story was strange. Basically, Miranda’s mom is in jail and she has to stay with the Honeywells, the rich and beautiful British family. Every Christmas, Miranda meets this mysterious man and I’m pretty sure you can tell she likes him. The plot of this mysterious man was unique, but we find out he’s an old Honeywell ghost or something like that. Falling for an old ghost wasn’t really a holiday plot I wanted. The characters were also frustrating. I found Miranda unappreciative of what she had. The other characters weren’t even developed.
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena 2.5/5
Shy can’t be home for Christmas and he is cat sitting for a friend. In the same building, there’s a girl, Haley, who isn’t going home for Christmas either. Several events cause them to interact. First Haley’s plumbing doesn’t work, then she has to take a shower at Shy’s place. When she goes to his place, she says she doesn’t trust him and that they have to get to know each other first. This ends up with sharing some personal thoughts.
“‘In order for me to feel comfortable taking a shower down here, we have to both share something about ourselves first…”
This story was ok. Shy and Haley didn’t do anything to make me really connect with them or understand them. They were weak characters to be completely fair. However, the plot was festive, unique and fun. Two people alone in a building, stuck by themselves during the holidays was an interesting concept…
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me 5/5
I loved this story! It was cute, cheesy, festive, full of spirit and so unique! I’ve read Jenny Han and this did not disappoint me! Santa has an adopted daughter and she has a huge crush on an elf. Natty was really funny and her wittiness really made this story amazing. The plot was also very fast paced and unique. Natty wants Flynn, the elf, to ask her to the Snow Ball (hehe get it? Snow Ball…). She also tries to make him jealous with the story of her first kiss when her dad was delivering gifts. The writing had a style I liked a lot. I was looking for a cozy read for the holidays and this was absolutely it!
“Elves. Elves in motion are otherworldly. They are long and lovely and lean; when they dance they are whirling dervishes that sparkle and gleam like sun shining on snow. I should know. I have been watching them my whole life.”
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins 2/5
I feel like I might be the only person who didn’t like this story. The plot was very bland. Marigold buys a tree, talks to the guy who sells the tree and bam they’re together. There’s nothing exciting with that and it was an instant love kind of development between the characters. I didn’t connect with any of the characters because they were dull and unrealistic. I only liked the fact that there was a Christmas tree farm which is definitely unique. I usually enjoy some of Stephanie’s books but this sure wasn’t it.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan 1/5
I like the variety in this collection of stories. This story had a LGBT romance and that was nice. Not many popular YA authors write about them but Levithan does. However, once again a story where the characters were very weak and hard to connect with. They didn’t have much emotion or personality to make them realistic. The plot was also very flat. The main character pretends to be Santa for his boyfriend’s little sister and then after he does that, he goes to his boyfriend’s room. Yep. That’s it. Sorry for ruining the story *dripping with sarcasm*.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black 2/5
This story was really unique. A girl has two friends and she holds a holiday party. The holidays they celebrate are really different. They celebrate Krampuslauf where they dress up as scary creatures. There are strange creatures, like Chimaeras from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and magic and also drama. Then, drama is added to the story when one of girls’ boyfriend is cheating on her. It sure heated up the story. The characters were hard to connect to (again) because the author didn’t give them personalities at all. The plot was decent but the writing style brought my rating down even more.
“‘Season’s beating!” yelled one guy in a green fur suit, with horns crafted out of red Solo cups and painted black.”
I thought they words didn’t have a flow that I usually like and adore. This story was eh.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman 3/5
Sophie goes to a university in a small town. It’s her first year, and already, she feels like she doesn’t belong. Then, on Christmas everything turns around when she meets a boy who doesn’t seem to belong with the crowd either. Sophie celebrates Hanukah, which I think is the first story in here that doesn’t celebrate Christmas (excluding Holly Black’s story). The plot was cute since it’s the interactions between these two characters who actually have a developed relationship. Although I found it a bit bland, because nothing surprised me. The setting is in this small town that brings a cozy feeling with it which I ended up liking. The characters were also comical *sigh, finally*. Sadly, not many of the stories have humor.
“‘Yo, you just say something about Ned Flanders?’…
‘I didn’t say it so much as mutter it,’ she said.”
This story wasn’t amazing or as good as Rainbow Rowell and Jenny Han’s but I enjoyed this one a fair amount.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire 3/5
I didn’t like all the characters in this story but I adored the main character of this story because he pulls pranks. Finally, this is the spontaneous feeling I wanted! It just so happens, he burns down a church and he has to do community service to make up for it. The church’s pastor’s daughter, Gracie, just happens to be his crush so it looks like he’ll be spending time with her *wink*. I also liked the pastor because he was so sweet, caring and what everyone wants in a father.The plot of the story really brought out the Christmas spirit of changing into a better person and caring for those around you. I didn’t particularly enjoy the writing style, but that’s just personally for me. Otherwise, it was very adorable.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter 3/5
This story was also a warm and sweet read. It really shows what family means in the holiday season. The plot and characters were all sweet and adorable, but I would have liked more information about the characters Liddy and Hulda (the protagonists), because at times I was thoroughly confused. This is the classic switching lives plot except with Christmas now I really think about it. It was a short and good read for this time of the year!
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White 3/5
Maria lives where it’s Christmas year round and she can’t wait to get out of this miserable town, away from her family that she hates. Then at her diner job, a new cook arrives. Ben. This story was very cute. I loved this unique setting and the plot was also heartwarming. Ben’s cooking making people happy everyday made me smile. The characters also had a lot emotion to them which really helped me connect to them and have empathy towards them. I’m just slightly upset because Maria is a very selfish person. She is the classic “I hate my mom’s new boyfriend” kind of girl. It made me angry how unappreciative she was. Honestly, why can’t she realize she is so lucky? Besides that, you and me, Welcome to Christmas, we’re all good.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 3/5
I was anticipating this. You can almost say I read this whole book just to get to this story. Was I disappointed? Yes. I love the writing of Laini Taylor, because it always leaves me in a dream-like trance. The descriptions in this book were just like that. I just couldn’t connect with Neve, the main character, no matter how hard I tried. She felt emotionless to me. The plot was very beautiful, full of fantasy and uniqueness, but it wasn’t very exciting either. Here’s a fast summary, Neve, like all the other girls are given presents by suiters and they can reject them or take all of their presents through the 12 days and then marry the person. Neve gets to marry the mystical “Dreamer”. To summarize my thoughts, I wanted more, and I really tried to love this book because I loved the series Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I couldn’t. I’ll still give you a beautiful quote though.
“All evening long, real snow would fall from the ceiling to glitter on the lashes of dancing girls and ardent boys, but Neve and the Dreamer didn’t linger. They had other things to do: *all* of them. All the things, dreamed and undreamed, in the depth and breadth of the whole spinning world.”
This is a great treat for the holidays, nonetheless. It really gets you pumped up for it. If you like the sound of any of the stories, I would suggest that you read the book or just the stories you like. This is once again a recommendation for everyone because of the variety of stories. You’ll find at least one piece that suits your taste. My average of all the ratings is a 2.7, but overall I felt like the book was a 2.5. It was so close to a 3 which means I liked it, because many works weren’t that good, which really pulled my rating down.
2.5 out of 5 cups of tea
The perfect tea to go with this book (you can drink anything similar or get this at Teavana):
White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea has just the right amount of holiday spirit!