My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited By Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
I was so lucky to receive this book as a gift last week! And it was all thanks to a great friend who knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday. She even got me an edition that was signed by Stephanie Perkins! And, now that I’ve read it in anticipation of the holidays, it will now sit all pretty on my shelf.
As for the book itself, it would be hard and would result in an incredibly long review if I reviewed every single short story, so instead of going through each one, I’ll point out the ones I really liked, as well as the ones that didn’t really meet my expectations. For the ones who didn’t get mentioned, they were – altogether – pretty good, but nothing too special.
1.) “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor – Let me just say it now: this is the first bit I’ve ever read by Laini Taylor. And I completely regret it. Her writing, admittedly, took me a few pages to get used to, but the setting of the story really fit the older language that was used. (For example, Christmas was referred to as Advent.) The setting of her story seemed to be in an alternate history, where courting happened during the month of December. The guys would leave gifts for their chosen sweethearts on their porches, and, on Christmas Eve, if the girl loved the boy, she would take his hand and agree to marry. This, in and of itself, is romantic and I would have read and enjoyed it simply because of the premise. But Laini mixes in, even within this short story, memorable characters, an exotic locale, and beautiful imagery. I couldn’t believe how poetic and lyrical her words are. I officially HAVE to read her books now!
2.) “What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Foreman – Again, here is another embarrassing secret. I haven’t really enjoyed Gayle’s books. I found Mia in If I Stay incredibly annoying and selfish, as well as found Allyson from Just One Day impulsive and irritating. Not to mention the fact that both books end abruptly. But, finally, I’ve found something by her that I truly liked! The premise of her story isn’t so unique like Laini’s – it deals with big-city girl Sophie adjusting to life in a college that’s in the middle of nowhere, where she seems out of place and alone. She meets a guy, Russell, the last night of Hanukkah and they hit it off. The characters are cute, as well as the story, but I think that it was the message behind the story that really stuck with me. Sophie learns that she was never truly as alone as she felt and that there is no such thing as a “minor miracle.” It reminded me that Christmastime can bring with it new promises and beginnings.
3.) “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins – And of course Stephanie’s story would be great, too! The premise deals with Marigold, who has a crazy obsession with the son of the town’s Christmas Tree famers, whose name is North. Not only because he’s crazy gorgeous, but because she wants to use his voice in an animated sketch. So, to get his attention, she agrees to by a tree from him, despite the fact that she has nowhere to put it in her apartment. So, North helps her set the tree up, all while they grow closer and closer. I simply loved this story for his hilarious banter, which is Stephanie’s forte it seems, as well as the sweet, fluffiness I knew I would find in Perkins’ writing.
1.) “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link – Now, let me get this straight, these “worst” stories aren’t necessarily badly written. In fact, the writing was fairly good! But it was more the content that didn’t connect for me. A prime example would be this story, which involves a girl, Miranda, who falls in love with a boy who happens to be a captive of the Snow Queen. It’s an interesting premise, but the language used in the book led me to believe that this was a historical setting. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was present day until tanning beds and Skype was mentioned. To me, it’s a big turn off if I can’t even distinguish which century your story takes place in within the first few pages!
2.) “Star of Bethlehem” by Ally Carter – This was another relatively harmless story. It’s cute and enjoyable enough, but the premise was just too unbelievable for me. Within the first few pages, the main character Lydia, gives her plane ticket to a complete stranger, agreeing to take the stranger’s ticket and fly wherever she was initially going. Um, no. Stranger danger, much? She finds herself in a place she’s never been, with a family she’s never met – and she stays with them. For days. STRANGER DANGER! I just couldn’t believe how stupid the character was, as well as how stupid the family was for taking in someone they clearly knew was an imposter. She could be a murderer running from the cops for all they knew! Call me crazy, but I like a little reality where my realistic fiction is involved.
And that’s pretty much it. Despite a few nitpicks here and there, the book was great! It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit and even introduced me to a few writers I’d never read before! I look forward to reading more from some of them and, if you are wanting something seasonal to read to pick up your spirits, definitely check this book out!