Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Release date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Age group: YA
Pages: 320
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository


Description (from Gooreads):

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.

  
This one was SO CUTE! The cover already predicts cuteness (the UK cover is even prettier) but the stories inside solidify that prediction. With twelve very different stories from both the contemporary and paranormal/fantasy genres, My True Love Gave to Me is a solid collection of holiday stories for all fans of YA fiction.

I will now attempt to stay something about the twelve different stories separately and give them a rating. For the overall rating of the book I have then calculated the mean of the individual ratings.

1. Midnight by Rainbow Rowell (rating 5/5)

If you have been to my blog before or if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I LOVE Rainbow Rowell. Her novels are magical and her characters are always so likable and easy to identify with. In Midnight Rowell introduces the readers to Mags and Noel who have been friends for years. The story pans through several years, always focusing on the New Year's Eve and the relationship between Mags and Noel. Midnight is not only adorable and cute, but it's also honest and funny and just a pleasure to read.

Damn you, Rainbow Rowell for making me fall in love with Noel and then only giving me a short story that focuses on him. I demand a whole novel focused on Mags and Noel. PRETTY PLEASE?

2. The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (rating 2/5)

This wa my first time reading Kelly Link, and I must say that though this story was okay, it didn't really convince me to go out and look for more of Link's writing. I thought this story was okay at the beginning, but as it went on, it just got kind of weird and turned out to be completely disappointing towards the end. 

3. Angels in the Snow by Matt De la Peña (rating 5/5)

This one was so good! This story was my first encounter with Peña's writing and I have to admit that I've already looked into his novels so I can familiarize myself with his work. Peña's characters are refreshing (male point-of-view, which is quite uncommon in books I read) and the story is both honest and extremely funny! This is exactly the type of thing I would like to see as an indie Christmas film.

4. Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han (rating 3/5)

Definitely not what I expected from Jenny Han. I was kind of disappointed this did not end up being the type of cute romance I expected, but on the other hand, a story about an ordinary girl living in North Pole and crushing on an elf is not bad either. 

5. It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins (rating 4/5)

After seeing Stephanie Perkins's name on the place of the author I already knew that I would love this one without even reading it. We are introduced to Marigold and North, an aspiring animation artist and a guy who sells Christmas trees but who dreams about a life that does not involve him working for his family business for the rest of his life. They meet, spend time together, help each other and realize that they actually have quite a lot in common. I loved these characters and this story, and I think my only complaint is the fact that it was TOO SHORT! I want a whole entire book about these characters!!!

6. Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (rating 3½/5)

This was my first time reading David Levithan, and though I did find his writing style agreeable, I probably won't go running to find more novels by him to read. This one features gay characters, which I liked, because it gives variety to the set of stories. This one is super sweet and quick to read and though it wasn't my favorite out of the twelve, I did really enjoy it.

7. Krampuslauf by Holly Black (rating 2/5)

First time reading Holly Black and probably also the last, at least for a very long time. I think I would have liked it a lot more if it were just a contemporary story about a group of trailer park kids and a group of rich kids having a party than I liked it as a story with a paranormal element. 

8. What the Hell  Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (rating: 4/5)

More of a Hanukkah than a Christmas story, which is also excellent for the variety! I liked the fact that the main character is a university student instead of a high school student - I guess that made it easier to identify with her. This was cute and romantic and funny, so pretty much exactly what I expected from Gayle Forman.

9. Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire (rating 3/5)

This one was my first encounter with Myra McEntire, and though this story was nothing spectacular in my opinion, I would not mind reading something else by McEntire. I think the main "problem" I had with this story is the fact that it does not really distinguish itself ouf ot the set of twelve, making it the story that I remember the least from even after it has been only a day since I read it. 

10. Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (rating 5/5)

Probably my favorite out of the twelve! This was my first time reading White, but seeing her name made me expect a paranormal story. But nope, this is a perfect piece of contemporary YA writing and I want more of this! The characters are wonderful, the setting is amazing and the way White gives these characters a voice is just brilliantly done! 
11. Star of Betlehem by Ally Carter (rating 3/5)

This one reminded me most of made-for-TV-Christmas films. It is cheesy, quite unbelievable (some of the things just don't logically make sense) and heart-warming story about finding yourself in a place you end up at accidentally. I could totally see this one as a Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie!

12. The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (rating 2/5)
  
Probably my least favorite out of the twelve. I don't know... the writing is occasionally very good (like it is in Daughter of Smoke and Bone), but I feel like the story is too short for the type of world Taylor wants to create - the short lenght does not allow for extensive world-building and as a result of that this one seems a bit rushed and confusing. 


FAVORITE QUOTES:

We both stood there awkwardly for a few seconds. It was like we'd ripped open our chests and revealed our beating hearts. And how do you transition back to small talk after that?
(Angels in the Snow by Matt De la Peña)

And through my laughter, I imagined the boy at the apartment above us, sitting near the radio with his little sis and his mom and dad. I wished I could tell him to remember every single think about today. Not just whatever presents he got but his family, too. His mom. Because one day he'd be far away from home, sitting on a snow-covered stoop with a girl he might like, laughing, and he'd want to picture how they all used to be.
(Angels in the Snow by Matt De la Peña)

"That you still don't realize I'm willing to do anything, anything" - he gestured in a full circle around them . "to stay in your company. You don't have to pay me."
(It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins)

RATING FOR THE WHOLE COLLECTION:

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great anthology, and I like that you broke it down and rated it by story. I've seen this around and it looks like a great read for the holidays. I do like that cover too- very festive.

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    Replies
    1. I thought that would be the easiest way to give an overall idea of what this book is about. And the individual ratings should help if you only want to check out some of the stories.
      This one would be a perfect gift for someone because the stories are quick and fun to read and it is packaged beautifully... I am kind of sad I did not buy the physical copy instead of an ebook.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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