My True Love Gave to Me
edited by Stephanie Perkins
Original Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Length: 321 pages
Obtained Via: Borrowed from library
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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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.
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.
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.