Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me ed. Stephanie Perkins

Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Release date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: No
Source: Purchased
Length: 320 pages
Rating: While not all the stories in this holiday anthology are a hit, the ones that are REALLY ARE.

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.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
SO FREAKING ADORABLE. This is about two best friends who met on New Year's Eve, but have never shared that fateful New Year's Kiss... even though Mags very much wants to. I don't know how Rainbow managed to pack so much shippery into so few pages, but... well, yes I do. She's Rainbow.

 The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
I don't think this story did itself any favors by coming right after the effortlessly adorable Midnights, but sadly this story never really gelled for me. It has a lot of elements I like: magic and family curses and England gentry and great estates and parties, but it was a bit all over the place, and sometimes the writing struck me as odd. I think Kelly Link can write, but this one just didn't hit home for me.

Angles in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
I've never read de la Pena before, but man, am i going to know. I LOVE his style. This was another contemporary about a college freshman who's cat sitting in a friend's nice apartment, snowed in, running out of money, and too proud to admit it to the pretty (and wealthy) girl upstairs. While I didn't super love the love interest, I adored the narrator, Shy who is Mexican YAY FOR MY PEOPLE BEING REPRESENTED, homesick, and funny. Super loved.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
Now, I love Jenny Han (or at least, I loved To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which is the only book of hers I've read), but this story didn't work for me. It could have. It's a story about Santa Claus' adopted daughter and the only human living at the North Pole. She's like a teenage Buddy the elf, only she has a crush on a cute elf boy and elves are normal-sized. This could have been a sweet love story, but then it just... ended? And bittersweetly at that? I was both confused about the point of the story and disappointed because I DID NOT CHOOSE TO READ A HOLIDAY LOVE STORY ANTHOLOGY FOR THE SADS, no I did not. I came for the kissing and the cutes.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
SPEAKING OF CUTES. I read this story with a big huge smile on my face. it's about a girl named Marigold who is most definitely having a bum Christmas until she goes to by a tree and meets the super cute guy whose family owns the tree lot. So follows a magic and adorable night full of adorableness and feels and CUTES SUCH CUTES this story was practically written in heart emojis and glitter and smiles and I had major heart eyes going on

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Sadly, this story didn't work for me at all. It started out cutely, with a guy dressing up as Santa to surprise his boyfriend's youngest sister, but then it veers in a very strange direction and... I don't know. I'm not sure I click with Levithan's writing all the time. This was also another semi-bummer of a story and felt very tonally strange after Perkins'.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
Okay, full disclosure: I skipped this one. I can't say if it's bad or good, just that as I was reading this book, I realized that at the point I hit Black's story, I realized it wasn't what I was in the mood for and skipped over it. When I do read it, I'll probably like it, because it's got this kind of dark edge that I like. But I was in the mood for kisses and cutes. What can I say.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
YES. I loved this story BUNCHES AND BUNCHES. Sophie is a Jewish Brooklynite freshman who is feeling verrry out of place at her white, (probably) Midwestern college. It's the last day of Hannukah, she's stuck on campus away from her mom, and she's full of bitterness and sarcasm... until she meets a kindred spirit. Much flirting and PIE!!!! ensue. All good stories have pie.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
I loved this one! I've never read McEntire's books before, but I think I'll check her out. Vaughn is the town prankster, but he's never done anything truly bad... until he accidentally burns down the church barn containing the nativity pageant's props. Oops. While paying his dues by helping to save the imperiled pageant, he falls for the pastor's daughter and learns about second chances and my heart grew three sizes. Also Vaughn's voice is perfection.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Ultimately I liked this story, though it was a bit of a mixed bag. Set in the tiny, not-so-quaint town of Christmas, CA, this story is about a girl named Maria who is desperate to get as far away from Christmas as she can. There's a magical realism element to this story that I ended up liking (it's food-related, which helps), a cute chef, and a few too-tidy emotional reversals, but I love White's breezy, bantery writing, and I liked sarcastic, snippy Maria quite a bit.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I'm a relative Carter newbie, and though I liked the book of hers I just read, this story was kind of a biiiit ridiculous. Cute and funny in places, but over the top and beyond cheesy. It's about a girl who trades plane tickets with a stranger, an exchange student named Hulda, and ends up kind of assuming her identity and staying with the family of the boy Hulda was meant to see. A lot of things are never explained, and it's verrry Hallmark in places...which I guess isn't bad. I have a pretty high cheese standard, but rolled my eyes a little at the end. There is a cute cowboy, though.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
MAGIC. ABSOLUTE MAGIC. I can't even tell you what this is about other than I want to eat Taylor's writing with a spoon and bathe in it's otherwordly magic and let it soak into my skin and then decorate my house with it and weave a soft starry blanket made of her prose and JUST. Her writing. It's so good I found myself forgetting to read the story and just reading her literal words and then I'd have to go back and read again and then I'd die because it's all so original and magical and unffffffffffff

 Happy Boxing Day, lovelies! Hope you had a fantabulous holidays.


  1. You need to read Holly Black's story!! Even if I wasn't too keen on it because of me hoping that the horned guy skating in the cover was gonna be Ziri and all that... but it was a very good story! And the Laini story was gorgeous but since my hopes for a Ziraz story were foiled, I was too hurt to truly enjoy it as it deserved!

  2. I agree, I came for kissing and holiday cuteness! I think that's why I didn't like David Leviathan's story either, and why Matt de la Pena was a little hit or miss for me. Looooved Midnights and Charlie Brown and Sophie Roth :D And I really liked Christmas CA because it reminded me a bit of Chocolat. I have to finish Laini Taylor's story... Holly Black's was weird but I sort of liked it? The only one I liked that you didn't was The Lady and the Fox- it could have been an amazing book but something about it swept me away anyway. Felt magical :)

  3. I lurk here a bit, but wanted to comment this time because I'm SO glad to see that someone else isn't gushing about Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me. I also love Jenny Han and it was cute enough, but I felt pretty much exactly the same as you. I just did a review of this book and I have very similar feelings as you on each story. :) I also hadn't read anything by Matt de la Pena or Myra McEntire but loved their stories enough to want to pick up more by them!

  4. I haven't read this yet. But after your review I may just pick it up and read it before the year is over. Have a great New Year xoxo
    Book Nerd Addicts

  5. Your rating is EXACTLY what I thought of this one. I hope you had a wonderful holiday! :)

  6. I felt the same way about My True Love Gave To Me! Some of the stories were really wonderful, and some were... not so wonderful. But I felt mostly warm and fuzzy after reading the anthology, so I guess it works? ;)


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