Published by St. Martin's Press on October 14th, 2014
Genres: short stories, young adult
Buy on Amazon
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.
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.
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.
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.
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena. I hated this one.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
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.
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.