Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Posted January 22, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 14 Comments

My True Love Gave to Me

edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me

Original Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Length: 321 pages
Obtained Via: Borrowed from library
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Anthology
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the story morning glory

 

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself?

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.

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Yes, I read and reviewed a holiday anthology in January. What can I say, I’m a rebel. Overall I found the My True Love Gave to Me anthology to be an incredibly mixed bag. That’s par for the course for anthologies, but few have as many ups and downs as I found in My True Love Gave to Me. There were a few stories that were so fantastic, then a few that I enjoyed, some that were just okay, and then another couple I could barely get through. I averaged my rating per story and came up with 3 stars. There are some short stories I would re-read, but I don’t expect to find myself re-reading the entire collection in holidays to come.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell–5 stars

This story was truly adorable. Rowell’s writing is always great and Midnights started My True Love Gave to Me off on a strong foot. I loved watching the sweet interactions between Noel and Mags on three different New Year’s Eves over the year. It’s such a brief glimpse of a friendship, but somehow Rainbow conveyed so much about the two of them.

Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link–DNF

Yeah, so. . . I managed about four pages of this story before I decided to skip to the next one. I found the writing so dry and the staccato sentence style just grated on me.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena–4 stars

I loved the voice of this one, the way it dealt with culture, race, etc, and the realism. I appreciated the realism’s of Shy’s lack of money and how it would affect his holidays. The characters felt deep for such a short story.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han–2 stars

This short story revolves around Natalie, a girl adopted by Santa who lives at the North pole. The idea was fun, but the story itself felt kind of all over the place and I finished it feeling very unsatisfied.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins–5 stars

Color me shocked. To this point, I have not enjoyed Stephanie Perkin’s novels, so much to the point I considered skipping this story, but it turned out to be my favorite of the collection. Part of that is because it revolves around the purchase of a Christmas tree and I have a soft spot for holiday stories that are about Christmas tree acquisitions(probably because I am allergic to Christmas trees and thus never get to participate in these traditions), but I felt so much chemistry in the two leads. North was one of my favorite love interests in this book and I found him fascinating.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan–2 stars

A guy plays santa for his best friend’s young sister. It was an okay story, but didn’t really resonate with me and I wasn’t a fan of David Levithan’s writing style in this particular instance.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black–3 stars

My notes for this one just say “WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT?” This story was weird. Incredibly weird. And yet I liked it–I think. I did like the inclusion of magic, at any rate, and it was certainly a memorable story.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman–3 stars

I loved the set-up of this story and the inclusion of Hanukkah, the love interest Russell, and the dismantling of stereotypes, but I was less pleased with Sophie’s elitism about being “big city”. I promise you, sarcasm is not limited to people who are from new York or Chicago or LA or whatever other big city. It’s not a foreign language. Us small town folk don’t get to take sarcasm 101 instead of Spanish or French in high school, promise.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire- 4 stars

I really liked this one! It’s one of the few stories told from the male POV, and it really worked for this story. The pastor’s daughter and the town prankster was not a pairing I thought I would like, but it worked great in this context. The story was funny and sweet.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kierstin White–5 stars

Another surprised. I also really loved this one, especially with the focus on home and family. There was a great theme of accepting things and people and also had some small town charm. It’s not my favorite of the bunch, but it’s probably the most memorable.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter–2 stars

This one was just okay. I didn’t even really have anything to say, so. . . ehh.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor–4 stars

I loved Laini Taylor’s lush writing. This story felt very much like a fairytale and I loved ending the anthology on this high note.

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A rather mixed collection of stories. There were plenty I found forgettable, but the ones I enjoyed I REALLY enjoyed. I’d probably like to re-read Myra McEntire’s, Stephanie Perkin’s, Rainbow Rowell’s, and Kierstin White’s in the future.  3/5 cupcakes.

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3 Stars

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14 responses to “Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

  1. I have such an issue with anthologies for this reason. They’re not consistent and they cost just as much as a regular book! A few months ago, Brandon Sanderson released a Cosmere story in an anthology but he also released it as an ebook single and I was ecstatic. I didn’t care about the other authors and the Cosmere story was worth $3 to me. 🙂

    • Stormy

      Yeah, anthologies are tricky. I love the IDEA behind them but they’re never consistent! I did really loved the Unnatural Creatures anthology edited by Neil Gaiman. That one was consistently pretty great. I think there was only 1 story I didn’t like at all, and then only 1 more I thought was okay. The rest I was REALLY into.

    • Stormy

      Yup, I looked at Goodreads and it seems that most of the bloggers I know agreed on our favorites/the misses.

  2. I’ve actually been debating if I should even bother posting a review of this book because it’s so much past the holidays, so I’m happy to see you have! I’m actually glad to see it because it is nice to get to talk about a book I read in recent memory. My ratings of the stories line up pretty closely to yours… I think Kiersten White’s story and Matt de la Pena’s were my favorite favorites (at least the ones that stuck with me longest), though Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman’s stories were also quite good. I was really surprised to like Kiersten White’s story so much, like enough that I kind of want to read Paranormalcy now and that is not my favorite genre. The fantasy stories mostly disappointed me, though Laini Taylor’s writing was excellent. I really did not like the Kelly Link and Jenny Han stories- one was boring and the other overly saccharine.

    • Stormy

      Yeah, I considered not reviewing this one but I had THOUGHTS so I decided to just go with it. I was so surprised to like Kiersten White’s story too! I read one of her novels, Mind Games, and was not a fan. I didn’t hate it, but it was a solid 2 stars for me. I think I might need to give her Paranormalcy series a chance now, though.

  3. Maraia

    Stormy, I am so sorry that you are allergic to Christmas trees! I’ve never heard of that allergy before. I hope you can at least have a fake one.

    These stories were definitely hit-or-miss, but you’re right about It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown being the best. As a sarcastic Midwesterner myself, I found Sophie’s “big city” jibes insulting. I also agree with you on Midnights and Welcome to Christmas, CA, but I just could not get into The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer. It was upsetting, because I usually love Laini Taylor’s writing. Maybe I should give it another chance at some point.

    • Stormy

      I think it’s an allergy that’s mostly common in children & most people find it easier to deal with later in life(and mine has gotten better, but still not enough to put up with a tree).

      Those “big city” jibes were so annoying. I tried to think of it just as a character trait(and every character has flaws of course), but it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I really liked The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer, but I didn’t LOVE it. It’s not my favorite of Laini Taylor’s writing at all. It also felt less. . . “holiday”-ish, almost, then most of the other stories for some reason(at least to me).

  4. I couldn’t get this from the lib in time for Christmas-but for 5 stars to Rowell and Perkins I’ll definitely keep it on my list to request next year!

    • Stormy

      Oh, definitely do! Like I said in my review, it was pretty mixed in my opinion quality-wise, but the stories I loved I REALLY loved.

  5. I didn’t get around to reading this before Christmas 🙁 And now I’m in a very UN-Christmas-ey mood I don’t think I’ll be reading it for a while (maybe next holiday season??) BUT I never saw any of the titles of the stories and now that I’ve read your review I LOVE them!!! I mean, Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus!!! What’s not to like?? Thanks for listing them!!

    • Stormy

      Yeah, it was kinda sad I didn’t get to read this before Christmas, but since I didn’t want to buy this book & checked it out from the library, January it was! It was actually kinda fun to read it post-Christmas, but I do wish I had been able to read it during the height of the holiday season.

    • Stormy

      I was super surprised by how much I loved Welcome to Christmas, CA. It was sweet but not sappy, and I loved the inclusion of family. Not my *favorite*, but like I said in my review, it was definitely the one I found the most memorable.

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