Author: 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
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Source: For Review
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
I was really looking forward to a collection of YA holiday romances in My True Love Gave to Me, but overall I was quite disappointed. There are some good stories here, but some of my favorites were more for their ideas rather than the execution. Several of them just felt too big for so few pages, which is a shame. I also didn’t feel too much holiday cheer while reading these, as most of them were just kind of set around the holidays but didn’t really focus on them.
★★☆☆☆ Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
This story had a really cute premise: showing the three New Year’s Eves of two best friends, plus food allergies. It’s obvious that Mags wants more from Noel at each of these parties, and it’s obvious that she’s going to get what she wants at the most recent one. While I loved the idea of the story, the execution was really boring, and I didn’t like the choppiness of the author’s writing.
★☆☆☆☆ The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
I cannot even begin to explain what this story was about. I have no clue what was going on. I don’t know where it was set, where Miranda was from, why she spends Christmas with these people, why her mother is in a Thai prison for life, or what that has to do with a maybe-ghost named Fenny who sits in the snow. I seriously have no idea.
★★☆☆☆ Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
Another boring one. Shy is cat sitting for his boss over Christmas, when the lovely neighbor, Haley, stops by to use the shower because her pipes are frozen (or something). Of course, the two get to know each other and there’s some kissing. There’s also a lot of Shy complaining about starving, and being too proud to accept nice, homemade muffins from Haley. I didn’t particularly care.
★★☆☆☆ Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This is the shortest story of the bunch, which is unfortunate, because it has the best premise, but doesn’t take it anywhere! Natalie is pretty much the Rudolph among the elves. She doesn’t have a red nose; she’s human. They also don’t like her because they think she makes up stories for attention, the latest being about a boy named Lars she met on a present delivery trip with Santa. She also has a crush on another elf, Flynn, but knows it can never happen. And that’s basically it. I was so sad! I wanted to love this one so much! It definitely would have made an amazing longer story or full-length novel!
★★★☆☆ It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
I really liked this one for the most part! Marigold and North are so sweet together! I loved how he helped her with the apartment without even knowing her, and of course getting to know her while they clean. However, I could have done with Marigold’s animation project, which prompts her to seek out North. It didn’t add anything to the story, but felt like a forced way to make her even more quirky. I would have preferred if she just went looking for a tree, and then him helping her with it.
★★★★☆ Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Finally, I felt the holiday cheer! Well, kind of, since this story is actually kind of sad but sweet. It’s the night of Christmas Eve, and Connor has asked his boyfriend to dress up as Santa for his little sister, so she’ll keep believing. He (I don’t know his name!) goes through with it, but Connor’s older-younger sister, Lana, confronts him, because she’s not happy about what he’s doing. It was quite an emotional scene, but I do think he was doing the right thing. Very sweet.
★★☆☆☆ Krampuslauf by Holly Black
That was just super bizarre. I liked it at first because the whole Krampus thing is pretty awesome, but then it turned into annoying teenage drama. But the kind of drama that I don’t like. Then it got weird, yet kind of interesting and magical, but mostly just weird. This story definitely stood out from the rest, but not in a good way. It was like the author was trying too hard to set her story apart, and yet still fit within the holiday theme.
★★★★☆ What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
I really liked this one! It was sweet and funny, and had an interracial romance! Sophie is Jewish, Russell is black, and neither feels like they fit in at their rural college. They bond over cynical comments in regards to the campus caroling concert, and then go out for pie. Russell also helps Sophie have a kind of makeshift Hanukkah since she’s stuck on campus for the time being. It was all just very sweet and I believed it, and I wanted more!
★★★★☆ Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
That was so fun! I feel like this one would make a hilarious made for TV holiday movie! Vaughn is a prankster. His latest one has gone wrong and very well may have set off a snowball effect that ruins Christmas. Basically, he burned down the set of the church’s nativity play, and the new location accidentally double booked, so it’s a scramble to set everything up somewhere else and make sure the audience knows where to go. Of course, Vaugn is recruited to do all of the dirty work, since it’s his fault, but there’s also a girl he wants to impress. It was all just very Christmas hijinks and good times.
★★★★☆ Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
It’s like Chocolat, but with teenagers, and a diner! And better! Cuter! And should also be a cutesy TV movie! Maria lives in Christmas, a small, not-even town in California, and works at a diner that serves holiday themed dishes. Then they get a new chef, and he doesn’t exactly follow the menu or the recipes. He has some uncanny ability to know just what each customer needs to eat. It’s all super sweet and magical, and I even enjoyed Maria’s relationship with her mom’s boyfriend.
★★☆☆☆ Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
Another good premise that didn’t work as a short story. Lydia is at the airport, sees a girl who desperately wants to change her flight but has a nonexchangeable ticket. Lydia happens to be heading to New York where the girl wants to go, so she trades with her. New York is the last place Lydia wants to be, so she doesn’t even know where the other girl’s ticket is for until she gets there. Turns out she was a foreign exchange student heading to stay with her boyfriend’s family. I absolutely loved this set up, until we learn who Lydia is and then things get rushed and just end. I did like the twist, but everything that quickly followed made me roll my eyes. This would have been super fun and enjoyable as a more fleshed out story.
★★★☆☆ The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I was most excited for this one, but I’m a bit disappointed. There’s definitely some really imaginative ideas here, but I felt like it barely skimmed the surface of those ideas. Creepy old priest who wants a 17 year old girl as his fourth wife, and magic? Awesome! Unfortunately, it all just wasn’t developed enough, so the magic of the Dreamer came across as just strange.