Tis the season for anthologies and box sets, and here is a Holiday themed anthology for fans of YA stories. Anthologies are wonderful for readers, bringing them the chance to ‘test the waters’ with authors they may not be familiar with, and St. Martin’s Press has gathered twelve authors in this book, perfect for a story-a-day.
While the themes are all centering around romance, each of the authors brings a twist to their story, giving readers a new perspective and approach. Ranging from 3- 5 stars for inventiveness, clever characters and memorable plot I’ll touch on each story individually.
Average rating for all 12 stories – 3.5 stars rounded to 4
Midnight by Rainbow Rowell – 5 stars
A best-friends romance that travels between New Year’s celebrations over a span of years highlights and displays the subtleties of the relationship and their connection. Her prose is evocative and carefully chosen: each word is perfectly placed to create the emotion and imagery the author intended. A lovely short story that will have you wanting more.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – 5 stars.
A single night brings us this relationship that builds and burns with emotion. Perkins captures the emotional development and shows the love in a few short words, and readers are presented with a couple that is believable despite the speed.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 5 stars
There is a dream-like quality to this short, and Taylor creates this fantasy tale that is redolent of snow, ice and hot cocoa. Wholly different from the others, Taylor’s imagination takes flight and bring the reader along for a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – 4 Stars
A serial prankster is avoiding juvenile detention by doing some community service. Fun, funny and irreverent, McEntire creates characters that are so wholly fun to read that you want to know them, even if you aren’t certain you want them in your house.
Krampusland by Holly Black – 4 Stars
While the premise wasn’t all full of holiday cheer – a party organized to ‘tell off’ a badly behaving peer, the story soon changes as characters learn to be more of what they ‘should’ be and learn to incorporate the images they have for themselves into their own personalities. An interesting read.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – 4 Stars
More of a story where the main character finds her own footing in her relationship with her family, her friends and using her own experiences to help someone move from an abusive relationship. A clearly presented ‘coming of age’ story full of revelations.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman – 3 Stars
Focusing more on the differences between the couple, I loved the premise and Sophie who was so overcompensating in trying to find someone “like her” that she utterly missed the mark. While the story is very much a ‘don’t judge a book by the cover’ morality play, that point wasn’t as effective with all of the highlihts. Rather than coming together and forming a couple that felt honest and real, we were seing all of the reasons why they aren’t a match.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – 3 Stars
While I was excited for an LBGTQ story, there was too much left wanting in this one: I needed more backstory to really feel connected to the characters or to feel the ending appropriate.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link – 3 Stars
A story that relied on magical realism but felt simply improbable with insta-love without real character build or even a solid emotional feel to grab on to.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – 3 Stars
A bit of a tricky premise, with the reasons not coming clear until the very end, this last minute switch story at Christmas was unique but there was something missing in the development of this ultimately sweet yet unfulfilling tale.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – 2 Stars
This one was difficult to connect to or follow, the lead character felt immature and unfocused, and sadly the story just had too many misses for me to enjoy. There were development issues in the construct, and just a bit more development of the characters would have improved this greatly.
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena – 2 Stars
While I found this cute and clever, with humor and some great dialogue, it just didn’t speak to me as I hoped it could.
Title: My True Love Gave to Me: A Holiday YA Anthology
Author: Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Matt de La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Anthology - Contemporary YA, Holiday Themed, Teen Reads
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 55 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.