Book Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Story Title: "Welcome to Christmas, CA"
Story Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
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 enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's 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.
Mini Review: "Welcome to Christmas, CA"
So if you've been reading all of these mini reviews, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Is Erin really a YA fan? It doesn't seem like she's read many authors..." Welp. Here's another new-to-me author. "Welcome to Christmas, CA" is the first piece I've read by Kiersten White, and I certainly hope it's not the last because I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky little story.
You won't find Christmas, CA on any map. It's just too small to called a town, let alone get its own little dot on a paper map. What it's really called is a "census-designated place." In a place that's so small, you can imagine how bored the youth can become, and that's the case for a teenager named Maria. Not only the town small, but it's named after Christmas, and it's Christmas year-round in Christmas, CA. Maria is so focused on getting out of Christmas until a new chef starts working at the the diner.
This story surprised me because I initially thought that it might be one that I wasn't going to like. I really like how Ms. White brings in real life problems, and explores them through the mind of a diverse teenager. White brings Maria's problems, like feeling like an outcast, yet trying to embrace her heritage to the front burner, and I really enjoyed getting to know her.
Then there's Ben. He has a more optimistic take on life, and he's thrilled when he's hired as the new cook. So thrilled that it shocks Maria because he's not being sarcastic. She's also shocked because he's close to her age. She's even more shocked because he brings a magical presence to the diner. The food is better, and the customers are happier.
I will admit that the story wasn't perfect, and there were times when I was really, really annoyed with Maria, but in the end, I turned out to like her and her story. "Welcome to Christmas, CA" is more than just a cute story. It's hopeful, and it's just what you'll want to order this Christmas.