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.Featuring: Stephanie Perkins (editor), Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Matt de la Pena, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White.Hardcover, 320 pagesPublished October 14th 2014 by St. Martin’s PressSource: Publisher in Exchange for an honest Review
Three stars: A holiday themed anthology with a few stories that shine, while the rest are mediocre.
I eagerly picked up a copy of My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Stories Anthology because not only did I want a light, fluffy holiday read, but I couldn't resist having an anthology with many of my favorite authors: Laini Taylor, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell and Gayle Forman. While I was pleased with the contributions from my favorites, and pleasantly surprised by a few others, overall I was a bit disappointed because many of the stories failed to be sweet and feel good, and a majority of the stories ended on a cliffhanger note, leaving me wanting more. This was an interesting read, but one I would recommend borrowing before rushing out and purchasing. Here is a quick run down of the stories:
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (Four Stars)
Rowell excels at writing adorable, heart melting romances and this one is no exception. The book leads off with a bang with this heartfelt story about two long time high school friends who never seem to get it right on New Year's Eve. Will this year finally be the year? A charming romance that made me smile.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (Two Stars)
This was truly a head scratching story. It is about a girl who keeps encountering a ghost type boy on Christmas Eve when she visits her aunt. I didn't get this story and it lacked any type of holiday charm. Not a fan.
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena (Three and a half stars)
This is a book that features a new, unexpected romance between a young Latino man and a girl who end up stranded in an apartment building during a snow storm in New York. I liked that this is written from a male point of view and that it subtly explored themes of racial stereotyping, grief, loss and the difficult father/ son relationship. I liked that the romance takes its time to build upon a new found friendship, and that it ends on a sweet, hopeful note.
Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han (Two Stars)
I have been long wanting to try a book by Jenny Han, but after this I am somewhat hesitant. This is a story about a young Korean girl who was adopted by Santa and lives at the North Pole amongst the elves. As the only human girl, Natalie finds it difficult to fit in, and she has a huge crush on one of the elves. Just when it seems that her dreams will come true, the book ends on a strange cliffhanger that left me scratching my head. A disappointment.
It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown (Four Stars)
Thankfully, Perkins comes through and delivers a charming, heart warming story about two young people who are trying to find their paths. I loved this unexpected romance, and how North went out of his way to help Marigold brighten the holidays for her mother. Loved this one.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (Two Stars)
This was another one of the I don't get it stories. It features a LGBT romance which is basically the backstory. In order to please his new boyfriend, a young man agrees to play Santa. What ensues are a couple of awkward encounters with an older sister and a mom, while the boyfriend sleeps through it. I didn't like the ugly meeting with the older sister. I just didn't feel this one and it wasn't warm and fuzzy. It ends on a happy note at least.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black (Three Stars)
I thought this one started off well, and it was different and interesting especially with the strange addition of the Krampus. This one is about a group of friends who go about planning an elegant holiday party in order to get a boy there that one of the friends likes. Things take a weird, magical unexpected turn when the Krampus shows up and makes magic. This was the strangest of the bunch. Interesting and different.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (Four Stars)
Gayle Forman is an author who delivers terrific coming of age books. Her characters are always struggling with the big changes they face as they head into adulthood. This one features Sophie Roth, a young Jewish girl from New York, who finds herself transplanted to a pastoral college in the middle of nowhere. Sophie questions her decision to fit in, and she wonders if she make a horrible choice. That all changes with an unexpected encounter at a caroling concert. Sophie meets one of "the Black Boys on Campus" and a fun conversation ensues that turns into a lovely friendship that makes Sophie rethink everything. This is a sweet, feel good story.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire (Three and a half stars)
This is a holiday themed story about a young man who pulls off a prank that burns down the local church. To make amends he must help put on the holiday pageant. During the process, he begins to see things in a new light and reevaluate his opinions of people This is a nice second chance story with a subtle romance.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (Four Stars)
This was the surprise of the bunch. I loved this little story packed with magical realism. This is all about a young lady, who feels stuck in a small dead end town. Maria wants nothing more than to pack her bags and get the heck out of Christmas. She changes her mind about her family, her future and her friends once she meets the new cook at the diner where she works. Ben has a magical ability where he knows what people want to eat and he cooks it up. A sweet friendship forms with the possibility of more. I loved when Maria's blinders come off and she sees the truth around her. I wanted more of this one.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter (Three and a half stars)
This an interesting story about a girl who makes a last minute decision and changes her airplane ticket with a girl from Iceland in the airport. She has no idea where she is going and she ends up in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma, taken in by a family expecting an exchange student from Iceland. I liked how Liddy found a new home and the sweet ending, but I was left dying to know more about Hulda. What was up with her?
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Four Stars)
I am huge fan of Laini Taylor as I adore her writing. This was a strange little holiday tale that showcases Laini's amazing story telling ability. I liked how this one unfolded and ended, leaving me wanting more. This was a unique fantasy story.
My True Love Gave To Me was an anthology that is about what you come to expect with an anthology. You get a few stories that shine while others are just okay and a few are complete disappointments. I enjoyed many of these stories, but I was frustrated with the fact that many ended on cliffhanger notes making me want more. This is a mixed bag. Half the stories are great while the other half leave something to be desired. I was also a bid sad that there wasn't more holiday cheer and feel good in this book. Still it was an interesting read. If you are not the biggest fan of anthologies I would recommend borrowing this one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.