My True Love Gave To Me by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Holly Black, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Genres: Holiday, Young Adult
Published by Macmillan on October 14th 2014
Also by this author: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Only the Good Spy Young, All Fall Down, Out of Sight, Out of Time, United We Spy, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up, Not If I Save You First, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, Eleanor & Park, Landline, Fangirl, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Summer Days & Summer Nights, There's Someone Inside Your House
Format: Hardcover (336 pages) • Source: Purchased
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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 (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, 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.
Book Buddies is a discussion-style review that takes place with one of my two buddies. (Learn more and see past reviews here) We both read the book and then have a private discussion about it. We post our discussion as a review on the last Wednesday of each month. You’ll be able to see our similar/different opinions on the overall book, characters, writing style, etc. – just like a regular review. Half our discussion will take place right here, and the other half will be on Cristina’s blog! (Link at the bottom)
For this particular review, because it included short stories, we alternated the stories between the two of us and shared our thoughts on all of them. Because of that, I’m featuring six stories but will share my overall rating for the other six stories at the bottom of the page.
I absolutely loved reading this anthology. There were quite a few stories that left me wanting more, for different reasons. Some of them had such great characters that I would have loved a full story with them. Others felt kind of rushed or unfinished, which unfortunately can happen with short stories. They would have benefited from a few more pages for characterization, wrapping up the stories, or just better developing it overall. Regardless, I would highly recommend this collection of short stories to anyone who enjoys the Christmas season. At the bottom of my post, you can see some of my story recommendations!
#2- The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
C: I liked how magical this story felt, and the Ghost of Christmas Past element to it, but I spent so much time being confused! The writing style was a little clunky for me and I kept being teased with interesting tidbits about the characters’ backgrounds (such as WHY Miranda’s seamstress mother is being held in a foreign prison) and felt that a lot of big plot elements were introduced without closure. I’m also still not sure what happened in the end…
#4- Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
#6- Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
#8- What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?
C: This is my first time reading Gayle Forman and she didn’t disappoint! I really loved that this story focused on college aged young adults because it’s such an unexplored age in novels, and the aching homesickness and loss of belonging that one experiences that first semester was captured so spot-on in this story. I loved that Sophie was flawed and was aware of those flaws, and her romance felt awkward and sweet enough to be believable. I also liked that Sophie was Jewish and we as readers got to glimpse some Hanukkah traditions. This story also has my favorite quote from the entire anthology: “There really was no such thing as a minor miracle.”
L: I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t like If I Stay/Where She Went as much as others did. The one thing I did like about those books was her writing style, though! She has a beautiful way of writing. The story was developed incredibly well and I loved the characters. I was completely homesick my first semester of college so I really related to this one was well. I just loved the whole message behind it all, too. Definitely one of my favorites from the collection.
#10- Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
#12- The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4 Stars)
C: Beautiful and magical and unparalleled in its prose, this story was the perfect way to end the anthology, as it really evokes a that fairy tale feeling of dreaming yourself to sleep on the tides of magic the night before Christmas. This story is set both in the human world and beyond it, on a foggy, far away isle where a girl is plagued by a ill-intentioned suitor for the annual advent courting season. As she fights for an independence society doesn’t want her to have, she awakes a dreamer, a mythical figure from a long-ago pantheon of creator deities. This story was beautiful and magical and tied together with a seamless blend of magic and religion that only Laini Taylor can pull off, and her vivid imagery of the Dreamer and his manipulation- no his synthesis- with the forces of the universe was utterly breathtaking.
L: It took me a really long time to get into this one. It was confusing at first and her writing style is just not for me. I’m not 100% sold on the idea that this should be included in a Christmas story, let alone the last story in the anthology. It didn’t leave me with a happy Christmas feeling that I was hoping to end on. To be honest, I may have enjoyed it better if it was nestled towards the middle of the book and the whole thing ended with something fluffier. Nonetheless, like I said, this story took a bit too long for me to comprehend and appreciate. Within the first few pages I almost just stopped reading it. It was a cool bit of magical realism (kind of? Maybe just magic?) but it didn’t click with me for some reason.
Cristina’s rating: Lauren’s rating:
Continue reading the other half of our discussion on Cristina’s blog here!
- If you like Stephanie Perkins and her adorably fluffy romantic tales, definitely check out her story in this book: It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown! I loved the banter between the characters and seeing their relationship grow quickly in a way that didn’t feel fake.
- If you like holiday food and stories that will make you a little misty-eyed, check out Kiersten White’s story, Welcome to Christmas, CA. You’ll love it if you’ve ever been unsure of where you want to go, had issues with your family, or would love to live in a town called Christmas!
- If you like magical realism done right and/or the work of Holly Black, read her incredibly unique story Krampuslauf! This one won’t be for everyone, but it’s worth checking out if you want something different and magical.