Sunday, December 28, 2014

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
This was one of those books I had to get immediately, the day it was published. I love YA short story anthologies. I also love so many of the YA authors who contributed to this, not to mention Stephanie Perkins put it together!  However, I’m not always the biggest holiday story person. It’s hard growing up and not seeing special Chanukah episodes of your favorite shows. That, and the whole Santa/elf thing always seemed so silly to me (and I’m a Children’s librarian –big advocate of the silly). I just find it weird that there are so many adult holiday stories that involve Santa…I was super excited the day after Christmas because I could turn on the radio and have normal music back. All that aside, I had a feeling I’d love this book.
I think what I loved the most about this particular anthology was that it was unconventional. It wasn’t all about Christmas. There even was one Chanukah story! There was one story about a girl who celebrated Winter Solstice. Another story was all about New Year’s Eve. And yes, there was still a lot of Christmas. But even the Christmas stories themselves tended be more modern and unconventional. So, I was pleased overall!
Since each story was so different, and written by a different author, I thought (like most other reviewers) I’d review and rate each story (maybe just a few sentences about each because there are a lot).

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell

So, more often then not in these types of collections, I’m surprised by not liking the ones I think I’ll like the most and then loving the stories I had no idea I’d love. And while this did happen in this book, it did not happen with this story. I thought I’d love it, and I did! I think it may have been my favorite story in the whole thing. Rowell just is so good at capturing first love, crushes, awkward moments, and dialog. And just Wow, this started the whole book with a Bang. (10/10)
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
I’ve only really read this author in these kinds of collections before. And she’s always hit or miss with me. This one started off good. But then it got weird, and then the ending was rushed. It’s like she was given a page limit and had to somehow end things in a limited amount of time. It was a little confusing and while I loved the beginning, overall I was disappointed. (7/10)
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena
I don’t believe I’ve read this author before (the only one I can say this about), and I wasn’t expecting to love it. But, I did! What a surprise. I loved that the two characters were so different.  I’m not sure I ever read anything YA where the main character was struggling so much economically that they were physically hungry. I loved the NYC setting. The girl wasn’t quite as believable/likeable for me as the guy, but I still loved it. (9/10).
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This one wasn’t my favorite. Besides the whole “why are adults/teens supposed to go for the Santa thing” concept that I kind of mentioned not liking before, I feel like this had really good potential for being awesome. It was the only story to involve elves. I liked the idea of the girl being different amongst a world of elves. There was just so much I wasn’t feeling/believing about the guy, about her “friends,” and about her family situation. (6/10)
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
This probably makes a close second place for the Rainbow Rowell one. And I was afraid the authors I loved the most would have meh stories. This one was adorable. I liked having a character who celebrated the Winter Solstice and science. I liked the long-lasting crush, the interest in animation, and all the awkward conversation. Also, I’m still swooning over the guy. Don’t ever stop writing, Stephanie Perkins.  (10/10)
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Yay for an LGBT story! I really enjoyed this one too. I thought the concept of doing anything for the person you’re starting to date is so spot-on. This story captures that moment when you’re in a relationship and you realize you might actually being falling harder than you thought. But, more than that, it was also about family and doing something nice for someone who needed nice. (9/10)

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
This was a weird one. I either love Holly Black’s stuff or I don’t. And I guess I loved this one. There were some definite magic/fantasy elements going on here. And I loved the combination of contemporary with the magic. I thought the party, the economic divide, the boyfriend drama with the main character’s friend, were all so believable. So, when the magic happens, it was a surprise, and just well executed. (9/10)
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? By Gayle Forman
I also either love or hate this author’s work. And I ended up loving her story. Yay for a Jewish story! Also, yay for an interracial love story! I super connected to the main character’s rural adaptations. I also went from a big city to a rural college, and understood a lot of her melancholy.  I loved the diner scene. Though, the one thing I didn’t love was the resolution. I felt like the main character accomplished a little too much in one night/one story to be believable. Short stories don’t always have to have such an ending. (8/10)
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
This was my least favorite story. I love this author’s books, but I just wasn’t feeling this one. This one also tried to accomplish too much. Short stories don’t have to have such strong conclusions. Also, I don’t like how much the main character had to be explained. His rash behavior was analyzed and talked about. And I guess I’d rather see his behavior and then make up my own mind for why he was acting the way he was, no explanations needed. (6/10)
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This was a fun one! I loved the magical realism in here. Also, loved the food elements. I liked that this one was as much about family as it as about love. And I liked all the twists the main character went through in discovering the love of her family. (9/10)
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I read this one super fast. It wasn’t my favorite. I guess it was more what I was expecting all the stories to be. It was super adorable and a little bit ABC Family Christmas movie cheesy, but in a good way. The situation just seemed so unbelievable. However, I loved loved loved the relationship that grew in this story. (9/10)
The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I was expecting to like this one a little bit more. All the other reviewers have raved about it. While, I got lost in Taylor’s wonderful writing style (and it was nice to see her writing style with a totally different story/world), I never really felt the romance. I liked that it was dark. The world and customs of this world were super interesting. I just never got a chance to fall for the dreamer, let alone really understand him. His explanation didn’t make sense to me and there was a lot of vague stuff going on. It just felt like the author needed more time/more pages to say what she really wanted to. (8/10).

Overall, I give the anthology a 9/10. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being surprised by the unconventional holiday stories. And I’m glad only one story involved Santa.

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