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 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.
Overall Impression of My True Love Gave to Me
Romance Came too Easily
First off, what is up with all these characters that end up kissing within the first week, nay, the first day they meet?! I mean, seriously, I take months before I decide for sure that I want to buys something that costs over a hundred dollars. How can people so easily bestow kisses on others when this also means giving away a part of your heart? I just don’t buy it. But in the spirit of Christmas and romance, I tried not to let this rile me up too much.
As a whole I liked the concept of a collection of short holiday stories. Where My True Love Gave to Me shines is the multiplicity of views. There are stories for Christmas, Hanukkah and Winter Solstice. There are stories about people who subvert heteronormativity. There are stories about people from multicultural and non-White backgrounds.
Sadly, not every story struck a chord with me. One I even would’ve abandoned if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook. It’s easy to flip to the next chapter with written words but not so with spoken words. In any case, I thought the narrators were chosen well to portray each of the stories and they certainly added to my enjoyment of My True Love Gave to Me.
Twelve Days of Christmas
If you haven’t started reading My True Love Gave to Me, read your first story tomorrow! There are twelve stories, so you can savour one story on each of the twelve days of Christmas. For that, this anthology is a splendid book.
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Verdict: Loved it! It was sweet and funny. I was all smiles at the end of this one.
The Lady and the Fox
Author: Kelly Link
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham
Verdict: No idea what happened in The Lady and the Fox. It was confusing and made very little sense. That one star is for the narrator. At least I liked her style.
Angels in the SnowAuthor: Matt de la Peña
Narrator: Henry Leyva
Verdict: I liked it a lot. It wasn’t all that original because it was about two college kids who were stuck in a blizzard but the way the story was told was funny. I definitely enjoyed it.
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me
Author: Jenny Han
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest
Verdict: Elves! Of course elves belong to Christmas stories involving Santa. It was a cute story.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Narrator: Samantha Quan
Verdict: I think my views on Perkins’ stories have a trend. I think she writes well but her characters and plots always make my eyes roll. My eyes didn’t roll our of their sockets and It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown did add to the holiday mood, so I didn’t mind it all too much in the end.
Your Temporary Santa
Author: David Levithan
Narrator: Dustin Rubin
Verdict: Props for diversity. Jewish boy dressed up as Santa. Hilarity ensued.
Author: Holly Black
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Verdict: This story embodied magical realism in a way that makes you believe anything is possible, so long as you believe.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?Author: Gayle Foreman
Narrator: Abby Craden
Verdict: Another round of college kids. My True Love Gave to Me decidedly seems to be aimed at older teens/young adults. Anyway, I thought it was a good and well-written story. Just not the most memorable of the lot, hence the four stars.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus
Author: Myra McEntire
Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe
Verdict: This was a story about redemption and second chances. Besides, boy burns down church by accident? Plot gotta be good! And it was.
Welcome to Christmas, CA
Author: Kiersten White
Narrator: Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez
Verdict: Any story involving food set in the spheres of magical realism is by default on the right track for me. I loved Welcome to Christmas. Alongside Rainbow Rowell’s story, it was my favourite.
Star of Bethlehem
Author: Ally Carter
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Verdict: Somehow music stars are a staple of YA books nowadays. I’ve enjoyed many of these, even though they threatened to border on clichés. This one was different in a good weird way but sadly, it tapered out towards the end. It probably would’ve made a much better bevel without the restrictions of a word count.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Narrator: Ann Marie Lee
Verdict: This story was fantastical, to say the least. But it felt rather long-drawn compared to the rest of the stories in My True Love Gave to Me and I could feel my interest wane.