My True Love Gave to Me: 12 Holiday Stories

20309175Rating:  4 Stars
Published: October 2014
Genre: Young Adult // Short Stories

Do you love cheesy romantic holiday stories? Do you watch Hallmark Christmas movies 24/7 starting at Thanksgiving? Then this book of young adult short stories is for you.  There’s a mix of genres, though, admittedly mostly contemporary.  Curl up with a blanket and hot chocolate to enjoy these delicious pieces of storytelling.

Initial Thoughts

  • When this came out last year, I needed it immediately.  I tried not to read it until December rolled around but even then, I only read about half. Christmas is always a busy time of year but I didn’t mind the wait.
  • Some of these authors were very new to me.  I was most excited for Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, Ally Carter, David Levithan, and Kiersten White.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (5 Stars)
Well, it’s Rainbow.  So, there’s that.  I absolutely LOVED this.  It was a great opener to this selection of holiday stories.  The story was compelling and realistic.  The characters were memorable.  My only annoyance was that it was about NYE and I felt like it should have been at the end of the book (since New Year’s Eve is the cap on the holiday season). But that’s just a personal thing and no way altered my love for the story.

I need you to be my person. I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they’re standing next to you when the ball drops.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (4 Stars)
I adored this.   It was subtle but that’s the power of a great storyteller.  Kelly Link is new to me and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff.  I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about this that I liked so much.  I know many didn’t enjoy this but I liked the whimsy & mystery.

Angels in the Snow – Matt de la Pena (3 Stars)
I liked the diversity in the characters.  It was fun getting to know the characters and their prejudices.  I liked reading a new voice that I hadn’t heard of before but for me, there were much stronger pieces than this. It made me want to read more from him, though. I’ve put The Living (featuring Shy) and I Will Save You on my TBR lists.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me – Jenny Han (2 Stars)
Easily forgettable just more proof that I’m not a fan on Han’s. It was cute when I was reading it but I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of the others.  For me, it was the weak link in this selection.  By no means was it bad, but it wasn’t for me.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown – Stephanie Perkins (5 Stars)
To be honest, I was pretty giddy reading this.  It was adorable in every way. Perfectly lovely.  It was such a sweet story.   And I got really excited when I realized it set in Asheville because I’ve been there and that’s happy-making to me.

Your Temporary Santa – David Levithan (3.5 Stars)
Short & sweet and laugh out loud funny.  I love Levithan’s writing style.  This would be rated higher but I’m deducting because it was too short.  I wanted to know more about the relationship between the main character and his boyfriend.

He says presents aren’t important, but I think they are – not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say I understand you.

Krampuslauf – Holly Black (4 Stars)
I hadn’t heard of Krampus until I read this story.  I love Holly Black’s style and always enjoy how she weaves magic into every day life. I wish I could have attended the trailer park NYE party.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? – Gayle Forman (3 Stars)
There’s no doubt that Forman can write a compelling story but this almost felt like it was shoving diversity down my throat and that was bothersome.  Don’t get wrong, I smiled & laughed a little while reading it.  I could mostly relate to the college experience aspect of it but really felt like it would benefit from being a longer story.  The end was cheesy and kind of perfect.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus – Myra McEntire (No Rating)
I started reading it and for some reason, it just didn’t grab me.  Decided not to finish it.

Welcome To Christmas, CA – Kiersten White (3 Stars)
I thought this was cute. Different than what I was expecting.

Star of Bethlehem – Ally Carter (4 Stars)
I love Ally Carter and thought this was a really heartwarming story. I wish I could jump on a plane and just pretend to be someone else for a while.  It seems thrilling.  It was unrealistic but that’s nothing new for Carter stories.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer – Laini Taylor (5 Stars)
Another one of my favorites and the perfect ending to this collection of short stories.  I love how Taylor writes fantasy and makes it seem like it could be possible.  I get swept away in her stories and revel in the magic & whimsy.

All evening long, real snow would fall from the ceiling to glitter on the lashes of dancing girls and ardent boys, but Neve and the Dreamer didn’t linger.  They had other things to do:  all of them. All the things, dreamed and undreamed, in the depth and breadth of the whole spinning world. Amen.

End Thoughts

  • This is a great collection of short stories by a varied and excellent group of YA authors.  I loved that the stories were diverse (in race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality etc), unique, and magical.  There will be some you love more than others but once you read them all, you can always go back and read your favorites!
  • Fun Fact: the couples on the cover represent all the of the couples in the book.  Try and see which couple belongs in which story! And if you give up, check out a labeled version of the cover from Holly Black’s tumblr here.

I can’t wait to read Stephanie Perkin’s new compilation of stories due out June 2016 called Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories.  Are you excited, too?

Have you read these short stories? Which one did you like best? What’s your favorite book to read during Christmastime?


6 thoughts on “My True Love Gave to Me: 12 Holiday Stories

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