Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peńa, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Maya McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult | Short Stories | Romance
Synopsis: 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.
Check out this book’s Goodreads page!
If My True Love Gave to Me is anything, it is cute. There were some good stories in this bind-up, but even those that didn’t do anything for me had some major “aw” moments. Surprisingly, the authors that I had read before ended up disappointing me the most in this, and the authors I had never even heard of before ended up pleasantly surprising me.
I don’t read a ton of short stories, and while this collection was a great way to get me out of my reading slump, I wasn’t impressed. Many of the stories were generic – followed a simple formula. Two people meet, fall in love, get together. Falling in love and getting together in a maximum of 30 pages is a recipe for disaster, for me. This book is essentially this: twelve stories of insta-love. For some authors, they made it work. For others… not so much.
Since all the stories are different, I’m going to review and rate them individually. Hang tight.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell | 2.5 stars
I was expecting a lot more from Rowell, considering I’m the most familiar with her work from all of these authors. Unfortunately, her story did nothing for me. I thought it was unnecessarily cheesy. I wasn’t invested in the characters. I didn’t buy the romance – it escalated way too quickly.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link | 4 stars
Unpopular opinion: this story was pretty good. It was odd. It was perhaps one of the strangest things I’ve read, but Link created an eerie atmosphere around her characters, who I became invested in very quickly. The romance was sweet with an air of mystery. The writing was beautiful and atmospheric. I just wished the end wasn’t what it was…
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Peña | 4 stars
This was the most relatable story among the twelve. I loved the characters. I am willing to read a full length novel about these people. The author did full justice to the protagonist’s back story. It was sweet, it was emotionally deep and Matt de la Peña wrote it wonderfully. However, I thought that the relationship among the characters would’ve been better if it had been platonic.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han | 2.5 stars
I thought the premise for Jenny Han’s story was brilliant. A child adopted by Santa, and they all live together in the North Pole? Hell yeah. But there was virtually no plot in this story. It was mainly just a narrative among a narrative.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins | 4 stars
Perhaps one of the more insta-lovey stories in this collection, but it was good nonetheless. I loved the dynamic between the two protagonists – Perkins brought the characters to life, even though she only had thirty pages to do so. I knocked down a star only because of the ‘more’ insta-lovey aspect of it.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan | 3.5
This was the first and only LGBTQ+ love story, if it can be called a ‘love story’ at all. The two guys are already together in this, and our protagonist is trying to make his way around his lover’s family and life. In this aspect, Levithan’s story was different from the rest in the collection. It was short, it was funny, and incredibly sweet. But I thought Levithan was tackling some things that were too much for such little space.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black | 1
I didn’t finish this. I just couldn’t bring myself to give a shit. There were too many characters for such a short story, and I didn’t care about any of them.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman | 2.5
A manic pixie dream girl who is lamenting the fact that her college has no manic pixie dream girls? Meh. I thought the initial interaction between our two characters was adorable, but after that, everything escalated way too quickly for it to be realistic.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire | 1 star
This was so dull. The characters were one-dimensional. The story went nowhere. There was no spark between the protagonists. I can’t bring myself to say anything good about this.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White | 1 star
Perhaps one of the stupidest things I’ve read. The guy in this has a superpower: he can tell what people need to eat. He’s a food psychic. What the fuck.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter | 2.5
This one started off really well. There was a certain slow-burn to it, but around the halfway point, Carter hit the accelerator and everything started happening way too fast for it to make sense. I would gladly read a full length novel set around this premise, but it didn’t work as a short story.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | 1 star
I love Laini Taylor, which is the only reason I didn’t DNF this. Her writing style, her world-building and her story was completely different from anything in the novel, which made it stick out in a not-so-good way. The writing was Taylor-esque – incredibly detailed and beautiful, but it didn’t work with the short story format. Because she made the writing so unnecessarily complicated, I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything else.