Published by St. Martin's Press on 14th October 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
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.
Reviewed by Shannon
I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I will admit that I wanted to read this anthology because I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell and will read anything she writes. I have read books by Laini Taylor and Gayle Forman as well and have heard of most of the authors in this collection so I was excited to read this book. Plus I liked the idea that it was all holiday stories. And I just love the cover! It has all the couples from each story on the cover. To make it easier for me, I decided to review each story separately. So here goes.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
To say I was pleasantly surprised that Rainbow’s story was first is an understatement. On one hand I was super excited, but on the other I was nervous that no other story would live up to hers and I was mostly right. While Midnights was my favorite story, I did find others that I loved just as much. Midnights was a very cute story about New Year’s Eve in 2011 through 2014. Each night took place at the same party every year and featured the friendship between Mags and Noel. It was a cute, short story in true Rainbow fashion. I just fell in love with it and gave this collection a great tone to start off with.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
This story featured Christmas over several years and was about a girl, Miranda, who saw a man outside the window of the house she was at to celebrate the holidays and went to talk to him and continued to do so as the years went on. It was a little slow for me and even though I figured out what was going on before the end it still wasn’t a good enough hook for me. Miranda was an okay character to me but the pacing of the story really brought it down for me. It also didn’t help that it was right after Rainbow’s story that I really loved.
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena
Angels in the Snow featured Shy, who was cat sitting for his boss, who meets his boss’s next door neighbor, Haley when she needed help with her shower pipes. What happened after that was Shy and Haley getting to know each other when Haley would come down to use the shower since Shy couldn’t fix hers. I thought this was a good story. It definitely didn’t feel like a short story. I felt like we learned a lot about Shy and his life and his struggles. The only complaint I had was that I wanted to know what happened after the end. It left it open ended and I wanted to see if it was a happy ending for Shy and Haley. I guess you could make your own assumptions but I’m a sucker for a happy ending and I wanted that dammit! 🙂
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This story took place in the North Pole and featured Elinor, the only human who lived there. She was adopted by Santa when she was left in his sleigh in South Korea as a baby. It explored what it was like for Elinor to grow up among elves and her crush on Flynn. This story had a little sadder tone to it in my mind since Elinor felt like an outsider among the elves. It was a good story but it also had an open ending, even more so than Angels in the Snow, so I was a little sad by that. I really wanted to know what happened after the fact, especially since there were a lot of possibilities for how it could continue on.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
I loved this story! After reading this story, I definitely want to read more by Stephanie Perkins. It featured Marigold getting up the courage to ask the boy who worked at the Christmas tree lot near her apartment to voice a character in one of her animated short films. What followed was her getting a tree and the boy, North, helping her take it to her apartment she lived in with her mom. It was really cute seeing Marigold and North getting to know each other. I just loved it. And the end was just adorable. Soo good!
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
To me this was the saddest story of the bunch. It had a very sad tone to it. It was about a boy who pretended to be Santa to trick his boyfriend’s sister since she still believed in Santa Claus. I felt extremely bad for the boy for having to do this for his boyfriend and for feeling like an imposter. His interaction with the sister who believed in Santa Claus was cute but in general this story just left me feeling a little sad and I very much like my holiday stories to be happy.
Krampuslauf by Holly Black
Krampuslauf was an event where everyone dressed up like Saint Nick’s creepy buddy the Krampus in this town. This story started at this event and ended on New Year’s Eve. It was mainly about this girl who lived in a trailer park trying to make her party a really fancy one with her two friends. It was an okay story but I couldn’t connect with the main character. I understand she was young but I just can’t connect with someone who lies and is so focused on superficial things. Though, I also wasn’t a fan of her friend who invited people to a non-existent party that the main girl had to make real.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
I liked this story. It was interesting seeing Sophie get herself into situations at this religious college. She didn’t do anything bad, but being at a pastoral school when Sophie is Jewish, made her very much the fish out of water. It basically put her in a lot of awkward situations. One night Sophie decided to participate in caroling and met Russell. Together they do their own thing and get to know each other. He turned out to be the first person she met at the school who got her humor and she felt comfortable around. I thought it was a good story even with the awkward moments thrown in. Plus it had its cute and sweet moments.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus was a good story. Not one of my favorites but I thought it was still good. It was about a boy who accidently set the local church on fire and had to do community service by helping with the Christmas pageant. It was a little slower paced than I would have liked for a short story or it could just be that the story didn’t interest me as much as some of the other stories. And by this point I couldn’t help but compare stories to each other. So while I did enjoy this one, it didn’t hook me as much as some of the other stories did.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This was the only story that actually made me tear a little. It had such a great message about how some things aren’t what they seem and appreciating what you have. Plus it had a little bit of Christmas magic that I loved. It was about Maria, who lived in Christmas, CA, a very small town that she couldn’t wait to get out of. She went to school and worked at a diner with Christmas decorations all year round, all the while waiting until she could graduate and leave for good. The story really started with the hiring of a new cook for the diner who seemed to know exactly what people needed. The story definitely had a great uplifting tone to it that I love in my Christmas stories. And the ending was great!
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
Star of Bethlehem was about a girl who gave her plane ticket to New York to a girl she saw in the airport who desperately wanted to go to New York and couldn’t exchange her ticket. We got to see the girl go to Oklahoma, where the other girl’s ticket was to, and pretend to be the other girl. It was a nice story. I felt a little sad for the main girl. You could tell she was hiding something, besides the fact that she wasn’t the girl who was supposed to be in Oklahoma.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This was a weird story for me. I liked it but didn’t at the same time. It was interesting and kept me reading but I felt like the supernatural element should have been explained more or something. It just didn’t hook me as much as the non-supernatural elements. It was about Neve, who lived on an island as an orphan, where the custom was for boys to leave gifts on the doorstep of the girl they wished to marry for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. There was more to it but that is pretty much the gist of it. I think I probably would have liked this story more if I enjoyed the ending. It was just a little weird for me. Some might think it was magical but I just wasn’t a fan.