Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me

Posted February 1, 2015 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 3 Comments

Book Review: My True Love Gave to MeMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 14th, 2014
Genres: short stories, young adult
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

I don’t usually do the short story thing. When I see them at the book store, even in the YA/MG section, I just pass right over them. To me, they seem like they’re teasers for some potentially awesome books. That is just my take – I apologize to the short story enthusiast. I enjoy getting very invested in a novel.

So why is this here, reviewed by hater? Two words: Laini. Taylor.

gif_hellyeah_zpsivl996y9

 

Yes, I bought the entire thing for one author. What really pushed me over the edge was seeing someone post up the picture of the UK edition on Twitter.

Heart stolen, money exchanged online, and book owned.

It felt wrong to JUST read the one story, so I dove in, ventured out of my comfort zone, and completed the collection. For the final rating, I took an average of all 12 stories.

border

 

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell. Can I mention that I am slowly starting to love Rowell’s story? I was a bit skeptical at first, but Midnights was just a straight-out cute, heartstring-tugging story.  I actually enjoyed the characters, and the imagery was crystal clear and beautiful. I gave a little cheer towards the end. This one helped draw me into the rest of the book. Adding in a New Year’s Eve themed story gave the themed novel a twist, and drawing out a very sweet romance over numerous decades while incorporating an important lesson about moving on gave a bit of bite to this tender passage.

Rating: 4/5

 

Lady and the Fox  by Kelly Link. I can’t say I liked this one or disliked it. The concept and the setting was dazzling, but the emotional bridge was never built. I would have liked the conflict resolution to have been fleshed out a bit more, but the story idea was clever, even if it was a bit shoddy. At least the story held some fascinating magic and appeal, and the female was the one rescuing the distressed.

Rating: 3/5

 

Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena. I hated this one.

gif_ronnotamused_zps4ron33uu

 

Bringing up race for no reason doesn’t endear me to the story. I liked that there was some cultural diversity, but cheating on a boyfriend and going after a girl that is clearly attached to someone else doesn’t make the story hot and dangerous, it just makes it flat and rage-inducing.

Rating: 1/5

 

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. What a dazzling premise! I loved this one! Mixing Tokien-elf imagery with the Christmas elf snagged me to the story line. I have a huge weakness for the Tolkien-style elf archetype.

gif_sctwirl_zpsvmhhn3gp

 

The idea of an adopted daughter of the jolly old Christmas sprite isn’t new, but it seems to never get old. The biggest issue I had with this one was that I felt that I was reading a book sampler, not a short story. There was a lot going on for such a short passage, and I wanted MORE from this story. A lot more. Way WAY more. Like, 300 pages more. It left off so suddenly that I thought I was missing some pages.

Rating: 4/5

 

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. Perkins: Redeemed. I did not like Anna and the French Kiss at all, so I was very hesitant when I spotted the name in the title. It turned out to be one of my top three favorites of the book!

gif_TOTALLY-AWESOME_zpsgbrlah0m

 

I liked how Perkins was able to add so much detail in such a small story, and the antagonistic attraction between the two MCs was adorable and addictive. More than anything, I loved how the author tackled socieoeconomics in her novel, discussing how small businesses practically draw in no profit, and how children are usually the victims of the horrible decisions of adults. It was a lot of heavy subject matter packed into one touching little story, but it was well worth the read. Lovely Christmas story, and an important social example.

Rating: 5/5

 

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. I applaud that the male author wrote about two gay characters, but the entire thing just didn’t really draw me in. The story line felt clunky. I suppose I just didn’t understand the drive for the characters in this one, since I never saw the reason for the motives or the angst.

Rating: 2/5

 

Krampuslauf by Holly Black. Alright, after some lingering reluctance after reading The Darkest Part of the Forest, I celebrated my unapologetic enjoyment for this one.

 

gif_lokipleased_zpsewigrkvu

The best word I can use to describe this story is DELICIOUS. Tackling a new realm of “paranormal” to include the rarely presented Krampus creature and using the concept in a very delightful and crazy “anything goes” storyline has made me stop and consider picking up more of Black’s work. Also – I NEED THIS AS A BOOK PLEASE THANK YOU.

Rating: 5/5

 

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman. While having some redeeming values, I didn’t care for this one at all. It seemed so dramatic  for the sake of DRAMA, and I didn’t care for the smug, snotty undertones of the main characters. Why the hell did you have to ruin the story with your snooty attitude, Sophir Ruth?

Rating: 2/5

 

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire.  It was slightly sweet, but it didn’t really do anything for me. Combining some elements that I despised, including Civil War pride, into a religious-themed story: meh. However, it wasn’t as gospelly as I feared when I noticed the title. I just never really cared for this Southern-style passage.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White. When I started this story, I was ready to skip over it. I didn’t like the main character, and her bratty, entitled attitude just rubbed me the wrong way. Rebellious and craving attention is one thing, but flat-out acting hateful and rude to parents trying to make ends meet just ticks me off.  When Ben arrived in the story, it helped ease some of my anger. Using food as medicine for the mind and heart triggered my own warm, happy memories of family meals and baking the perfect dessert for someone’s birthday.  By the end of the story, the entire piece redeemed itself as the main character learned humiliation and to be thankful for what she has. The charm of this title couldn’t be ignored. I really ended up enjoying the life lesson, the sweet, budding romance, and the discussion of domestic issues all wrapped up in one little Christmas package.

Rating: 4/5

 

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. Ugh. Possibly the corniest story in the collection. This one was overly cheesy, making the story just hard to swallow. Cue the eye rolling. I liked some of the descriptions of the county living, but the plot was over the top and overly dramatic.

Rating: 1.5/5

 

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

gif_selenaexcited_zpsga7mittj

 

I can’t even. Yes yes yes to a sedative to ease my Daughter of Smoke and Bone hangover! This fantasy-flavored treat allowed the collection to go out on a very VERY high note. Go read it, go read it and let your emotions bleed out.

Rating: 5/5

Overall

Not a terrible collection, and I am mostly positive regarding the stories in the novel. My final average sits at 3.25, so I am awarding an extra .75 stars for the aesthetics of the book.

 

lyn

3 responses to “Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me

  1. Kat

    I was surprised when reading this review that we had a lot of opposing opinions… maybe it’s because you like a more paranormal or fantasy theme and I’m more of a contemporary person, I don’t know.
    And I’m totally not judging you for picking up this book because of one author – I did too (I’m an Ally Carter fan).
    Kat recently posted…Review: Wild OrchidMy Profile

    • I was shocked regarding the range – it seems like I poorly matched up with many others. Except for the Laini crowd – we’re all just fanatics.

      I did enjoy some of the contemporary stories, such as Perkins’ story, but you have a good point – I tend to lean towards fantasy.
      Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: My True Love Gave to MeMy Profile

  2. Oh gosh, when I first saw the 1 by the 4 stars I was like NOOOOO WAIT DID LYN GIVE THIS BOOK ONLY 1.4 STARS BUT WHY.

    Clearly I’m just out of my mind to have even considered that.

    Me neither on the short story thing. I’ve read maybe 5 anthologies total and most from my early YA days, before blogging.

    “To me, they seem like they’re teasers for some potentially awesome books.” — RIGHT??? I still remember the first time I read this YA anthology, I kept looking for more stories by this one author and I was like WHY WHY IS THERE NOTHING MORE EXPANDING THIS INTERPRETATION OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY GRRR.

    But yes, Laini Taylor is an excellent reason to go after True Love. And the UK cover is BEAUTIFUL.

    😀 Rowell’s story was one of my favorites too. I agree that it was a great way to start off the anthology + NYE for one of the stories was also a good idea.

    “Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link. I can’t say I liked this one or disliked it. The concept and the setting was dazzling, but the emotional bridge was never built.” — YES that is a really good summary of my feelings too, except I think I may have felt more confused by what was going on than you had.

    “Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena. I hated this one.” — Really??? This was one of my favorites of the anthology because it felt really realistic, the MC’s backstory. I was definitely less a fan of the girl and her actions… But why do you think the race was brought up for no reason? It seemed so directly linked to both of their identities.

    “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. What a dazzling premise! I loved this one! … The biggest issue I had with this one was that I felt that I was reading a book sampler, not a short story. There was a lot going on for such a short passage, and I wanted MORE from this story.” — Agreed. Esp with the wanting more. I may disagree a bit on the 300 pages more because I dunno if I would read an entire novel about this premise, but I did want *more* even as I really liked the adorable premise.

    YAAAAAAS the Stephanie Perkins story was in my top 3 too :). “It was a lot of heavy subject matter packed into one touching little story” — So interesting that you bring that up! I feel like one of the biggest complaints about SP’s books are that they don’t focus as much on “real-life issues” despite people for the most part liking the romance she’d created (though you said you disliked Anna). Also I don’t think I entirely realized these social commentary aspects of the story… HUZZAH FOR LIKING IT EVEN MORE NOW.

    “Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. I applaud that the male author wrote about two gay characters, but the entire thing just didn’t really draw me in.” — Same.

    Krampuslauf by Holly Black. — I do like the idea of the Krampus creature, but this one I had the same reaction that you did for Jenny Han where I felt a little confused and like there might have been something missing. More, I needed more. And hey, Holly Black made a book out of a short story before, so who knows? You might get your wish.

    “The charm of this title couldn’t be ignored. I really ended up enjoying the life lesson, the sweet, budding romance, and the discussion of domestic issues all wrapped up in one little Christmas package.” –> Yes. I’ve liked everything Kiersten White has done and this story was just perfect for how the anthology was advertised, right??

    YAAAAAAAS to the Laini Taylor story.

    Hey hey hey, since we mostly felt the same way about a lot of the stories, though differed enough for discussion on some, our read-along of Chime will be GREAT! 🙂
    Christina @ Christina Reads YA recently posted…January RecapMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge