Thursday, December 25, 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt De La Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published: October 14th, 214
Hardcover, 320 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favourite 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 best selling author Stephanie Perkins. 

This is the first time I've read an anthology all the way through. Normally I just pick out the stories by my favourite authors and read those ones, promising to go back and read the rest but still haven't. So I read this one from start to finish, in order, and it was wonderful. It brought out the warm, cozy emotions you get around the holidays. Each one was so different and diverse, they each stood out from the others and got me into the Christmas spirit.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell 
5 Gold Stars

Rowell's story is super cute, Set over a few New Year's Eves, we watch as Mags and Noel, a pair of friends, spend every New Year's together with the wrong ending. Noel always ends up kissing someone at midnight, and it's never Mags. It's sad, realistic, and has the cutest happy ending there is. Sometimes it takes years to realize what's right in front of you.

Mags held on to his neck with both arms. She pushed on his forehead. He smelled like skin. "I can't get close enough," Noel said.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
4 Gold Stars

A cute, magical story told over many Christmases. Miranda spends every Christmas with her god-mother Elspeth Honeywell, and one year she sees a strange man outside in the snow. His name is Fenny and he can only be out when it's snowing. Miranda quickly falls in love with him, uncertain of who he is and how he's here but determined to give him the life he deserves. It read like an old-fashioned fairy tale and I loved the link to the fox through Fenny and the creepy lady that went with him.

"Could I stay with you. I vow I would. I would stay and grow old with you, Miranda. Or as long as you wanted me to stay."

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
5 Gold Stars

Shy is spending Christmas alone cat-sitting in New York, the first year away from his family. He's broke and starving, but too proud to do anything about it. That's when Haley shows up at his door claiming her shower is broken. She is sweet and loving, also alone and wanting someone to spend Christmas with. They are both broken people who find each other on a cold winter's night. Shy is a great character and Haley is his perfect counterpart. This one warmed my heart!

I felt like I was breathing the world into my lungs.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
4 Gold Stars

This one was very cute! Natty has a magical life. When she was a baby, Santa brought her up to the North Pole and now she lives among the elves. At the annual Christmas party, Natty is ready to get the one she thing she really wants for Christmas, an elf named Flynn. She's always felt out of place and no one believes her stories. This one was too short for me, and I felt like I couldn't really get into the story, but it was sweet nonetheless.

"Living where I live, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between magic and make believe."

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
5 Gold Stars

Marigold does not live a typical life. She wants to get out of town and her new animation series is just her ticket, but needs a voice and North is just the right guy for the job. She just needs to talk to him first. What begins as an innocent trip to a tree farm becomes a lovely evening as North helps Marigold get into the Yuletide spirit. These two are the cutest ever (as expected from Stephanie!) This one was probably my favourite of the twelve and I wish I had more time with these characters.

"I've always felt lucky to live someplace where snow is rare, you know? It's the rareness that makes it so special."

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
4 Gold Stars

Connor needs someone to play Santa for his little sister, for one last year before she stops believing. Our narrator, Connor's boyfriend, dons the suit and sneaks into the house late at night to put presents under the tree. When he encounters both of Connor's sisters, he learns a lot more than he thought he would. It helps him find where he belongs. It was cute little story, reminded me a little of the Grinch, but in a good way. It's a cute reminder of what Christmas is really about.

"It's hard not to feel just a little bit fat when your boyfriend asks you to be Santa Claus."

Krumpuslauf by Holly Black
5 Gold Stars

Hanna bargained with the universe many years ago, and this winter she celebrates Krumpuslauf this year, she meets someone that makes her second guess everything she believes in. She plans a New Years party that to her seems like a million bucks, but not so much to the douchebag her best friend is dating. But sometimes miracles happen and bad people get what they deserve. This was a very different story and I loved the magical aspect to it.

"And then I found myself in the hall, kissing Joachim, a boy I barely knew, a boy with a pretend name and who might be a demon or a faerie or a disturbing hallucination."

What the Hell Have you Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
5 Gold Stars

Sophie is very different from the rest of the people at her college. She's a scholarship kid and from New York ,so no one really gets her sense of humour or lack of money. They wear Christmas sweaters on purpose and sing awful Christmas carols. But when Russell shows up enjoying her little sarcasm, she realizes she may just have a friend after all. They spend the evening together doing fun things and celebrating Hanukkah. They are both different and find solace in each other. Full of Gayle harm, this one made me smile and feel very cozy and warm.

There were only nine emergency candles on the shelf. "That's almost like the actual Hanukkah miracle."

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
4 Gold Stars

A very different take on the nativity. Vaughn is the kind of kid who gets up to no good and always find way to prank people. But when he has the chance to impress Gracie, the Pastor's daughter, he jumps at the chance to be a better person. With his help, the church is able to put on their live nativity, with him as Joseph and Gracie as Mary, he realizes he has family everywhere.

Q"Although I'm glad he ruined it for you. I'll be happy to be the one to set things right."

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
5 Gold Stars

Maria lives in the barely there town of Christmas, CA. She can't wait to leave her small apartment and the tiny Christmas diner she works at. But when a new chef starts working there, with a mysterious name and background, Maria starts to actually have fun while she's at work. Soon everything starts looking up and she realizes that everything she really needs is in this small Christmas town. The best little story about what really matters at Christmas and all year round.

"I might be okay with Christmas, but Santa is still the worst."

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
4 Gold Stars

Lydia wants to escape for the winter, so when she has the opportunity to switch plane tickets with someone at the airport, she does it in a heartbeat. While in the middle of nowhere, she learns about real families and falls for Ethan, the boy who doesn't know anything real about her. But things have a way of catching up to us. This was cute story that could easily be turned into a movie for Christmas. Very Hannah Montana and very cute.

"If you just want to go away then any ticket will get you there."

The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
4 Gold Stars

I hate to say that this was my least favourite. Laini is such a great writer and this world was very different, but not very much happened. Neve will do anything not to have to marry the Priest so she prays to the forbidden Wisha and in doing so wakes the Dreamer. Can he help her escape her inevitable future at the clutches of the man who wants to marry her? And can the Dreamer give her what she really wants? It was lovely to read and very different, but I wish it had more pizzaz.

"If I spend all my disappoint before breakfast, what will I go on for the rest of the day?"

The cover of this is the cutest. I loved being able to pick out the characters from each story as I met them. This is a book I'll be picking up every Christmas to get me into the spirit.

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