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.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
I fell in love with this story after the first midnight. And then the last midnight came, and I began to cry tears of joy. Also, I love how Rainbow Rowell started in actual time before jumping back and telling the story. Mags and Noel create the perfect friendship and couple to look up to, as do most of Rainbow Rowell’s characters. Bravo, Rainbow, bravo.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
When I first began reading this story, I felt confused for a while. The ending, also, confused me. Everything in-between, however, made me cry. I feel like the plot with the mystery man appearing and disappearing with snow hinted at a form of magic, but I was not feeling 100% certain of the fantasy aspect within the story. Until the end, of course. I loved seeing the development of the main character, Miranda, from being a small child to a young adult. I definitely hold this story close to my heart.
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
After the first two amazing stories in the book, Matt de la Pena’s story did not have as much oomph and emotion-arousing characters and plot as I wanted. The story felt awkward and stilted between the characters, with no real chemistry revealing itself. Overall, the story felt cliche and underwhelming compared to the prior stories. I will, however, give Matt de la Pena another chance with a different story.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
I have a love-hate relationship with Jenny Han. Some of her books (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy) I love while others (Burn for Burn trilogy) I didn’t particularly enjoy. Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me fits somewhere close to Burn for Burn. I felt like the story almost almost copied the famous Christmas movie Elf, which I love to death. The main girl gets picked up from South Korea (a little different from Elf, but she’s still human.) and doesn’t fit in with the elves when she grows up due to her human status. I would have liked to read about the developing love story between Lars and Natty instead of Natty growing up at the North Pole.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Can we please talk about how adorable and completely unrealistic this story is? I know, I know… cute boys do not help random girls clean their apartment and set up for Yuletide/Christmas like North did for Marigold. But can we take a moment and please imagine the happy daydream? Ahhh… okay, good. Now, Stephanie Perkins has a way of creating these gorgeous boys (Anna and the French Kiss ring a bell?) for girls to fall in love with, and she did it again with North. The entire story brought laughter and a warming heart to my holiday season.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
I have tried multiple David Levithan books, but for some reason I just cannot like one of his books. This story is not an exception. While the idea of having a boyfriend dress up for your little sister may seem fantastic in theory, in reality, it’s creepy as all get out. I understand where Connor was coming from, but just stop. This story did not get me in the holiday mood.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black
And Holly Black pulls another amazing story out of the bag with a fantasy twist! I have not read one of her stories in quite some time, so I felt refreshed after reading the PHENOMENAL Krampuslauf story which drew readers back to a cultural aspect of Christmas. Man, oh man. The fantasy aspect of Krampuslauf left me yearning for more. Personally, I could read an entire book on this story alone. I LOVED IT! For sure a must read when you pick up this book.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
While this story touched my heart in its opening scene of flashing sweaters and carolers, nothing could have prepared me for the rest of the story. I am still not completely sure how I feel about it, to be honest. The “problematic” part of the story felt forced between the characters, as well as the end scene with the make-out session. All of the interaction after the initial meeting felt forced. Gayle Forman normally sweeps me away with the chemistry between characters but not this time.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
I definitely feel the love from this story. If you could see my smile right now just thinking about it, you might get an idea of how much I love this story. From the very first sentence, I knew I was going to love it. “The whole mess started when I lit the church on fire.” I thought to myself, “Man, this is totally not how it seems. And I am going to love it!” I was right. A typical bad boy gets good girl story but with few great twists to mix things up a little.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
While I loved the mixing of cultures and the mystery cook I felt jipped by the great potential. When the cook, Ben, seems to magically create dishes people want deep down inside but didn’t order, I saw great Hallmark movie potential happening. Perhaps Ben could be the son of Santa Claus. But nope. Not even close. Ben just magically knows what people want because he learned to cook while he was in a bad place in life. (Don’t want to give too much away.) The story went downhill after I figured out he didn’t come from the North Pole.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I feel like I need to start using a synonym for the word ‘love’ now because of how much I have used it in this review. Welp, too late to turn back now. I LOVED this story to a point. The idea of switching places with a foreign exchange student intrigues me. Even the hilarious city girl turns to a country girl intrigues me. What I didn’t like, however, was the concept of her being a big-name star. I would have loved the story even if Lydia was an average girl who wanted to switch places with Hulda. But I understand the need for a bigger conflict motivating Lydia to switch places. If this story ever expanded into a full-length book, then I would love see the story from Hulda’s perspective and more details of the relationship developing between Lydia and Ethan. Overall, a great story with unnecessary conflict.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Now we reach the final story of twelve. Big pressure is on. But… Laini Taylor passed. I fell in love with the characters and story. Actually, I wish Laini Taylor kept this story to develop into a full-length book about the society, twins, and gods. The story felt a little rushed due to the complexity of everything intertwining. I loved it anyways. Definitely a great way to end a book full of ups and downs and mixture of cultures and lifestyles. Congrats, Laini Taylor, on another phenomenal story.
Overall, My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories passed the holiday test. I easily picked up and set the book down due to the short story format. A lot of the stories could be lengthened if the authors wanted. Definitely a must-read during the holiday season no matter if you celebrate or not!
Have you read the book? What stories did you like/dislike? Tell me in the comments below!
Much love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~