One of the festive books I read this year was My True Love Gave to Me, a selection of 12 festive short stories by a whole range of authors, and edited by Stephanie Perkins. It was so much fun to read! I read it as part of The Little Contemporary Corner‘s festive read-along. We aimed to read one story a day on the lead up to Christmas. I almost managed to succeed, finishing the final story on Boxing Day.
In this post, I’m going to share a mini-review of each story in the book. They’re only tiny snippets of what I thought, because they’re not really long enough for me to write an in-depth review. But I hope you enjoy it all the same!
Review: My True Love Gave to Me
1 – Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
I really liked this story! I’ve read a few of Rainbow Rowell’s books and enjoyed them all, so I had high expectations. The story was short and sweet and took us through 4 years worth of ‘almost midnights’ on New Years Eve. We saw the relationship between the two main characters, Mags and Noel, develop from meeting each other to a solid friendship. I loved the humour of Noel’s allergic reactions to so many different foods, and the fact that they both made jokes about it. Rainbow Rowell is so good at short stories and I really want her to write a whole book of them!
2 – The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
I wasn’t sure what to think of this one. It was okay; the first word that comes to mind is odd. It was definitely odd. I’m not particularly sure what happened, or who the mysterious character of Fenny actually was, even after finishing the story. I think a story like this is one that maybe needs to be discussed with someone else or read a second time to fully understand it. So, if you read it, what did you think?
3 – Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
I really liked this one. Shy, from Mexico, is alone and cat-sitting at Christmas because a huge storm stops him going home. He feels a bit isolated until he meets Haley from the flat upstairs and they get to know each other. I liked seeing their relationship quickly grow and they had good chemistry, resulting in some great dialogue. Not much happened, but I really enjoyed the story!
4 – Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This was such an interesting story, and I really liked it! To begin with, I was confused what it was about, but I soon learned that the main character was adopted from Korea by Santa and lives amongst Elves in the North Pole. It was such a cool idea and it was interesting to see her relationship with the Elves. You don’t often read about humans interacting with Elves and wanting to be a part of their kind, so it was definitely a cool idea!
5 – It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
This was another one I liked! I haven’t read any of Stephanie Perkins books, but I liked the way this one was written, so I might give them a go. The story started a bit vague so I wasn’t sure what it’d be about, but it progressed well. It’s about Marigold Moon, who lives in a dump of an apartment. She goes to find a guy to voice a new animation she’s creating, and ends up buying a Christmas tree from him instead. (His family owns a Christmas tree farm.) He brings it back and helps organise her apartment, and in that short space, their relationship develops. It happened quickly, but I’ve noticed that it’s a pattern in these stories. I really want to know what happens after the ending to the story – it was a great cliffhanger!
6 – Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Like Rainbow Rowell’s story, this was another one I had high expectations for. I’ve read a couple of books by David Levithan and really like his writing. It didn’t disappoint! It was probably the shortest one in the book, but it didn’t need to be any longer. It was a nice brief story that probably only covered a couple of hours. I didn’t really connect with the characters in such a short space, but I’d like to read more about them and their relationship. It had great LGBT representation, too.
7 – Krampuslauf by Holly Black
What a weird story. I think I didn’t get most of it because I have no idea what Krampus is, and I think you need to to fully understand it? I don’t know. The magical aspect was weird too, and completely unexpected. The story was okay though. I don’t really know what else to say about this one!
8 – What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
I think this was one of the best stories in the book! I liked the sarcasm of the Sophie, and the humour she shared with her new friend Russell. I liked reading about her trying to settle into a new university campus surrounded by nothing, and how keen Russell was to try and celebrate Hannukah with her. I related to the idea that so many times in her life, she’s had moments where she thinks, “what the hell have you done?” I liked the ending too – sweet but not over the top.
9 – Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
Such a good story!! I knew I was intrigued as soon as I read the first line: “The whole mess started when I lit the church on fire.” Vaughn, the main character, has community service after accidentally setting the local church on fire, right before their annual nativity play. He is then told he must help as a stage hand. There is a series of disasters and things going wrong, but the whole community pulls together to get the nativity play back up and running. I think this was one of my favourite stories in the book. I liked the characters, and the way the disasters were described was so funny. A story about a nativity play always gets me in the Christmas spirit!
10 – Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Why does each story make it harder to pick a favourite?! They’re all so good! I loved this one. It was probably the one I emotionally connected to most, out of all of them. It’s about a small town called Christmas, so small it’s not on the map, and a new guy in town who turns everything around and makes Christmas magical again. And it’s about what you didn’t realise you had all along, how close your family should be when you need them most, and finding home. I think this one is one of the sweetest, most festive stories of them all and I loved it!
11 – Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I was a bit confused by this story for a while. Why was this girl randomly deciding to give her plan ticket to someone else, and happy to travel to a random place? It seemed like the kind of adventure that I would never do myself! It’s the kind of story where you learn things as you go along – who the people are, and more importantly, who the main character actually is. She says all the way through that she doesn’t want to go home, but you don’t know why; by the end, it all becomes clear(ish). It’s still confusing, though, and I had to reread a couple of bits to understand what was happening. It all happened a bit fast, I think, so it was hard to keep up with. It was a good story though and I enjoyed it.
12 – The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I didn’t know what to make of this story at all. I just didn’t really understand what was going on. I feel like you need to have read more of Laini Taylor’s writing to really get what was happening and to fully get to grips with the writing style. I felt that if I were to read one of her books, though, it wouldn’t be my kind of thing.