Cozy up with a fluffy blanket, some hot chocolate, and this book, and prepare to spend a snowy afternoon getting warmed up with these adorable love stories!
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories features stories from twelve amazing authors, such as Holly Black, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, and Laini Taylor! While it’s amazing to have such a cute collection of stories from these amazing authors, it’s a nice book to check out even if you haven’t read any work by some of these authors (for example, I haven’t read anything by Stephanie Perkins, but I loved the story she wrote for this book, and it made me want to read some of her novels!).
For this review, I thought it would be fun to give a basic rundown of each of the stories in this book…there are so many great ones, it’s hard to choose a favorite!
1. Midnights by Rainbow Rowell – This story was a nice story to start off the book with. The only book that I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell prior to reading this short story collection was Eleanor & Park, and I absolutely loved that one, so I was pretty excited to read this story. The story spans over the course a few New Year’s Eve nights, from the time Mags met her friend Noel at a New Year’s party until a few years later when they are home from college for that same party, with their same friends. Every year, Noel tries to get Mags to dance with him, and every year, Mags refuses. However, she realizes her feelings for Noel, and hates watching someone else kiss him every year, so she wonders if she has the courage to do things differently this time around.
2. The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link – Having never read any of Kelly Link’s stories, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this one. I found this story a little on the weird side, but honestly, it was one of my favorite in this collection. Miranda is the main character in the story, and every year since she was a child she has spent Christmas with her godmother and their family, the Honeywells. When she was a child, she saw a man outside in the snow, looking in, and mistakes him for Santa Claus. However, as years go on, she keeps seeing him outside. Once she starts talking to him, she begins to realize that he never ages, and only comes out in the snow…but why?
3. Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña – This was another one of my favorites in the collection. While I’ve never read anything else by this author, I wanted to as soon as I had finished this story. In this story, we have a college age guy who is cat sitting for his boss. His father didn’t have enough money to buy him a ticket to fly home for the holidays. So he’s stuck cat sitting in his boss’s apartment, with no money, and no food. He’s trying to figure out how he will survive for a few days until his boss returns, when a knock on the apartment door brings another tenant, Haley, to see if he can look at her water pipes, because her shower isn’t working. So he offers her the chance to use the shower at his boss’s place, and in turn, the two develop a friendship that might end up leading to something more than that.
4. Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – Jenny Han is another author I haven’t read anything by, and while I enjoyed this story, it seemed a little too short for me. It tells of a girl who is being raised by Santa…she was found in a basket with a note saying “Please take care of my daughter.” So she tries to fit in with the elves, but finds herself longing for love and affection…perhaps from the boy she saw once when she was helping Santa deliver presents?
5. It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – Another one of those stories that made me fall in love with this story collection, Stephanie Perkins tells the story of a girl whose parents are no longer together, and a mother who is always working to keep them fed and the bills paid. During a visit to a Christmas tree lot down the street from her apartment, she hears the voice of the boy that works there, and instantly knows she must ask him, somehow, to lend his voice for an animation short she is trying to create to earn some money to get her and her mother back on track. Instead, she ends up going home with a tree, and finds herself gaining a friend, or maybe even a potential love interest!
6. Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – A teenage boy wants to surprise his little sister by letting her catch a glimpse of Santa putting presents under the tree, so he asks his boyfriend if he will wear a Santa suit and play the role on Christmas Eve. Caring about his boyfriend, he accepts the task and does the best he can, but at the same time, he feels as if this first time he’s meeting members of the family should be by having dinner or something…not by hiding and playing Santa.
7. Krampuslauf by Holly Black – I’m embarrassed to admit that this short story was my first dive into Holly Black’s writing, and I also have to add that it was completely fantastic (so fantastic, might I add, that I made my husband buy me the entire Curse Workers trilogy for Christmas). It was so different than other stories in this book, based more on fantasy and darker themes than the rest of the light-hearted stories in here, but it fits so well. It’s the story of how one girl and her friends are celebrating the town’s Krampusaluf, which essentially is a race where you dress up as the Krampus. They have fun getting creative with their costumes, and the main character sees a boy with a costume so well done, that she doesn’t believe it could be anything other than real. They decide to throw a fancy New Year’s party, and she jokingly asks him if he would be interested in attending; however, when he actually shows up, is she ready to discover what’s really behind his appearance and strange demeanor?
8. What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman – Admittedly, this is one of the least memorable stories in the collection, in my opinion. While it’s a good story, it just didn’t leave a lasting impression like the other ones did. In this story, Sophie finds herself not fitting in very well at her new college, and she decides to attend Christmas caroling, only to decide that it was a terrible idea (especially since she doesn’t even celebrate Christmas, but rather Hanukkah. When she meets a guy who seems to feel the same way about caroling, the two of them decide to get out of there and head to a diner where they can sit and talk. Having a friend is really nice…but will they stay friends or will it develop into something more?
9. Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – I didn’t care for this story as much as I did the others in this collection. It’s about a boy who accidentally sets the church on fire while trying to scare some pigeons into “decorating” the car of someone he doesn’t like very much. When he is faced with the plan of having the charges dropped if he helps out with the Christmas play, he realizes he has to take the deal. So he helps out with the church’s annual Christmas play, even though he has feelings for the daughter of the pastor of the church.
10. Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – Another author who I hadn’t read anything by, but easily has made it on to my list of authors I need to read books by! This story is cute, and I fell in love with every page of it. Maria lives in Christmas, CA…and she says, it’s not really a city or a town. It’s a little place, off the map, where she works at a diner that is decorated for Christmas year round (loving the cheesy diner decor vibe here!). The new cook at the diner, Ben, has a talent for making exactly what the customers need at the time…not what they order, but he just knows exactly what they will want to eat, without them even knowing it. Maria and Ben develop a friendship, although she’s curious about what his story is. Meanwhile, the other waitress that works with Maria at the diner, Candy, has discovered she is pregnant with her abusive boyfriend’s baby…and she’s afraid for him to find out. So Maria tries her best to help Candy get her and her baby away from him and into a safer situation. This story has a light and fluffy theme, but it also brings in some deeper material with Candy’s situation, and it balances out nicely to create a wonderful story.
11. Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – Star of Bethlehem tells the story of a girl at an airport, who decides to switch plane tickets at the last minute with another girl who is adamant that she get to New York. Figuring why not, she takes the other girl’s ticket and finds herself landed in Oklahoma, and spending a few months with the boyfriend (and his family!) of the girl (who was supposed to be an Icelandic exchange student!). Of course, his family is none the wiser (so she thinks), but the “boyfriend” knows something is up when a different girl shows up. It was really interesting to see how this played out, and the twist at the end was unexpected!
12. The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – This is one of those stories that I wish was an entire book on its own. I haven’t read anything else by Laini Taylor yet (yes, I know, what?!), but this story has given me the push I need to jump into her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer is a beautiful fantasy story about a place where potential suitors place gifts outside the door of women they fancy. If the girl does not accept the gift, she places a dead flower in the place of the gift. When the girl in this story receives a bible from the town pastor who has had several wives (and they all died), and who isn’t a very nice man, she tries her hardest to get the point across that she isn’t interested, even if it means continuing to live in poverty. However, when she begins finding gifts that could not have possibly come from a human, she discovers that all of her daydreaming and wishing has caused her to awaken something that might give her the love that she has wanted all along.
This book is absolutely perfect for the Holidays…whichever holiday you might be celebrating this season. There really is something here for everyone.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.