Sunday, September 21, 2014

ARC Review: My True Love Gave to Me

Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Editor: Stephanie Perkins

Included Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

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 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 to stay indoors and fall in love.

My Review:

I thought long and hard about how I would review this book, and I came to the conclusion that I would write a short review for each short story. I also want to let you know that I rated each story individually to come up with an average rating for the book because I thought that was the only fair way to review a compilation book like this. After reading and rating all of the stories, my final rating came out to be 3.833 stars.

Before I get to the individual reviews, I want it to be known that I love the more mature characters in this book. They aren't just teenagers; they are young people who have either finished high school or are in college. I think it's a very good starting place for people who want to read YA but also want to start reading more mature books.

"Midnights" by Rainbow Rowell (Five Stars)

The book opens with an amazing story by one of today's most popular YA and adult author. I thought Rainbow's story about the midnight hour on multiple New Year's Eves was an absolutely adorable story of unrequited love that grows into full-blown love. In just a few pages, Rainbow makes you fall in love with her characters in a way that you understand exactly what they are going through on each New Year's Eve.

"The Lady and the Fox" by Kelly Link (Three Stars) 

Up until I read this story, I had never heard of Kelly Link, but she brings a very unique story to the holiday collection. Her story is entertaining and full of emotion, but I felt like something was missing from it when I had finished reading.

"Angels in the Snow" by Matt De La Peña (Four Stars)

"Angels in the Snow" is a wonderful tale about finding comfort in the most unexpected places and people. Mr. De La Peña finds a way to create two characters from completely different worlds who are able to connect over a simple problem.

"Polaris is Where You'll Find Me" by Jenny Han (Five Stars)

This short story is only the second piece of writing I've read by Jenny Han, but once again, I was blown away by her ability to write a stunning story. "Polaris is Where You'll Find Me" is a story that the inner child in you will love for it's nostalgic Christmas feel. How the main character, Natalie, came to be reminded me a bit of the movie, Elf, but Han's story is still original in many ways. I love the fantasy feel of the story, and I can only hope that this will one day become a Christmas special.

"It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown" by Stephanie Perkins (Five Stars)

Once again, Stephanie Perkins gives readers two characters who complement one another so perfectly. "It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown" is a story about a quirky girl and a Christmas tree farmer that will tug at your heartstrings. They are able to bond and realize that the most important part of being a human is not who you are or where you're from, but what your spirit is like on the inside. 


"Your Temporary Santa" by David Levithan (Three Stars)

I did enjoy reading this story, but I did not find it to be stellar. The plot of trying to convince a little one that Santa is real was cute, but I feel like that has been done more than a few times in pop-culture. You can really tell how much the older brother and his boyfriend want to help out by keeping the belief in Santa alive, but I felt like something was missing from the short story. 


"Krampuslauf" by Holly Black (One Star)

I will admit that I could not finish this story. I did not enjoy Black's writing style at all; I felt like it was very choppy and that she did not think the details in her story through before she started writing. I could not tell what was going on as many of the characters and their actions are not described well. The holiday traditions that she included were not clear. I just could not understand where she was taking it, so I stopped reading and moved on to the next story. I would say that Black's story is the oddball of the book because it is not like the other stories included in the book.


"What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?" by Gayle Forman (Four Stars)

Gayle Forman tells a charming tale that will appeal to anyone with a tiny inner Scrooge. She includes many references to pop-culture, including the one and only Ned Flanders, as a way for her characters to connect when they are stuck in a pastoral college town after mostly everyone has gone home for the holiday break. I loved how they were able to come together and create new holiday traditions while waiting for their own ways out of town.


"Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus" by Myra McEntire (Three Stars)

After causing some destruction with the church, Vaughn has to help out in the community or else he will have a record. He finds himself helping out with the Christmas pageant with the preacher's daughter, Gracie, to keep the pageant afloat. Again, I felt like something was missing, but the abrupt ending lets readers decide what happens next for these two.


I was expecting a much funnier story than what McEntire writes just because of the title, but it is a heartwarming tale of a delinquent and the town preacher's daughter.  


"Welcome to Christmas, CA" by Kiersten White (Four Stars)

In a small town named Christmas, CA that isn't a dot on the map,  Maria has to deal with the fact that she lives and works in a place where it is Christmas year-round. Her problem is that she's become so focused on hating Christmas that all she wants to do is get out. When a new chef starts working at the diner, things begin to change in the sleepy, little town.

I really liked this story a lot more than I thought I would. In the beginning, I was annoyed with Maria. I found her to be annoying. I understand that she has faced some tough times, but she was overly annoying. Eventually things turned around, and I enjoyed the rest of the story.


"Star of Bethlehem" by Ally Carter (Four Stars)

This is the first piece of writing that I've ever read by Ally Carter, and I am now a fan. Her story for the collection was very well-written. I found the tale a the teenage runaway to be both thrilling and sweet. I did find it to be slightly unbelievable in a Hannah Montana kind of way, but it was still a lovely story.


"The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer" by Laini Taylor (Five Stars)

Again, this is another author who I've never read before reading this book, but I was very happy to have discovered this enchanting author. "The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer" is an absolutely beautiful story that dazzles readers because it reads so much like the beautiful fairy tales of the past.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
The skating couples on the cover are couples from the stories.


14 comments :

  1. Thanks for the detailed review! This book is on my to-read list. I was wondering what the stars were for the last book? Thanks.

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    1. Thank you! :)

      And oops! I was so tired by the time I finished writing it that I forgot to add the rating. It's up now, but I rated it five stars. :)

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  2. Loved your review! I'm really lokking forward to reading this (especially Rainbow Rowell's & Laini Taylor's stories).

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    1. Awe, thank you! :)

      Rainbow's story is so good and cute. It's freaking adorable. Laini's reminded me of literature I read in American Lit. I can see that story being used for literature classes in the future. It's that good.

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  3. I want to read this now! Now! But I'm on a self-imposed book buying ban. *sob* But it sounds like an awesome read. I can't wait! Thanks for the detailed review.

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    1. It's so good! You could always ask for it for Christmas or something. lol But really... it doesn't come out for another few weeks, so there's always time to save up some money to buy it.

      And no problem! It seemed like the only way to review it.

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  4. Lovely review, Erin! I like how you detailed your opinion of each individual short story ;)
    I definitely need to read this book, oh my gosh. It sounds like a perfect read to save for a winter evening on Christmas vacation <3

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    1. Thank you, Connie! I thought that it would be the best way so that everyone could get an idea of what the stories are like.

      I think I'm going to pre-order it so I can sit and re-read some of my favorite stories under the light of the Christmas tree this year. It's so perfect for it.

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  5. Oh wow this seems like the perfect book to be reading before the Christmas period! On top of that, I really like the idea of all these famous and also not too famous authors coming together for this one. I will definitely be checking it out!

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/sisterhood-of-world-tag.html

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    1. It's really a great read. All of the authors are best sellers. I just haven't read a lot of their work. lol

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  6. I loved Midnight, Welcome to Christmas, CA, and It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown. Have you figured out who is who on the cover? I can't figure out who Mag and Noel are.

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    1. Those were definitely three of my favorite stories! :)

      I know I can't post images in comments, but I think the couple in the black dress and the suit is Mags and Noel.

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