Published by St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays. (Goodreads)
My True Love Gave To Me
My Thoughts: You know, I don't think I read anthologies and collections often enough. This is something that became apparent to me as I settled into My True Love Gave To Me. The book begins with what I consider A BLAST and has a fairly diverse, evenly-distributed set of stories that relate to the holiday season in some way or another. There were several things that I really loved about this grouping of stories.
A few of these things:
- FIRST OF ALL: Can we get a collective high-five for this grouping of authors? Some of my favorites are here mixed with some that I've been meaning to read more from. I LOVE THIS. Confession: While reading, I never looked ahead to the Table of Contents to see which author/story was next. In fact, I only glanced at the cover once to see which authors were represented when I accepted the book for review so each story was like a little surprise for me when it popped up on my Kindle. This was fun!
- There are a diverse group of authors here - male and female, different cultures and religious beliefs, orientations, etc. TO THIS END, the book has a great mixture of stories! There are some straightforward contemporary romances and there are some that have some fantastical elements weaved into them. I thought this made for a super-fun collection from a fun group of authors.
- These characters have flaws and things they are dealing with, WHICH I LOVE. This is one of my favorite things about great contemporary stories and great romance stories. We have things ranging from food allergies and how they can affect a relationship to hoarding and how it affects one character in particular. We have characters that are embarrassed at their station in life, and we have romances that cross races and socioeconomic constraints. Regardless of where each story fell on my "favorites" list, I completely appreciated the unique-ness each one brought to the table and perhaps this is one of my favorite things about the collection.
- Obviously, as with any anthology, I had favorites on my first read. I can almost guarantee that when I read this book again (next holiday season, perhaps?), my list of favorites is likely to shift around at least a little.
I have to mention a few of my favorites, right? WELL OF COURSE, Rainbow Rowell's story MIDNIGHTS is a favorite. This story follows two friends over the course of several successive New Year's Eve parties as their relationship moves from friendship to crushes to going away to college to finally taking that step to show one another that they feel more than just "best friend" feelings. Rowell's style is SO PRESENT in this story - seen in the quirky characters and in their cheesy behavior, and in her use of parentheses WHICH I LOVE because it reminds me that her characters think like I think. My favorite thing of all, however, is that one character has some food allergies that keep popping up, and these food allergies play a role in the development of the relationship between these two. My husband has the same food allergies (plus a few) so I could absolutely relate to the occasional awkward exchanges this couple had when at the mercy of food served by other people, and the protectiveness one felt over the other with EVERYTHING CONCERNING FOOD AND DRINK. I just loved it to pieces and loved that it felt so-very-Rainbow. This one made me smile.
I also loved IT'S A YULETIDE MIRACLE, CHARLIE BROWN by Stephanie Perkins - not only because it is set in Asheville, North Carolina (My favorite city in my favorite state, of course.) but because it was so unexpected. Marigold stops at a Christmas tree lot and actually buys a tree! Needing help getting it back to her apartment, she is almost mortified when The Boy From the Christmas Tree Lot carries it up to her apartment for her...where he sees that she lives with her mother...who is a bona-fide hoarder. The best things about this story are: the very plausible and heartbreaking reasons behind Marigold's mother's hoarding and the way the boy just stays right there in the apartment helping Marigold clean it up BIG TIME after he realizes that there is quite literally no place for the Christmas tree. Ultimately the two bond over the huge project and Marigold's life is basically changed, which in turn will change life for her mother. This is my favorite Stephanie Perkins thing EVER. (Yes, I realize what I just said and what this author has written. I just loved this one to pieces.)
Special high-fives and nods go to:
Ally Carter's STAR OF BETHLEHEM
Kiersten White's WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS, CA
Gayle Forman's WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, SOPHIE ROTH?
Jenny Han's POLARIS IS WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME
Matt de la Pena's ANGELS IN THE SNOW. (I love de la Pena's writing style!)
Aside from the super-awesome cover, which is reason enough, I think this collection of holiday stories is a fantastic addition for readers that enjoy holiday stories and I highly recommend it. There is a ton of YA-star-power here, and the reasons we all love these authors shine through these stories even though they are not full-length novels. I truly believe that every time I read this book, I will find something new to love about it, something new to enjoy - and I was serious when I surmised that my list of favorites may shift around next time I read this again.
I recommend My True Love Gave To Me to readers that love collections, readers that find themselves having to read in small breaks of time, readers that love holiday stories, and readers that are looking to find new YA authors to love. ALSO, readers that enjoy the "We Need Diverse Books" movement will find that this book fits that designation well, I think.
My True Love Gave To Me will appeal to fans of:
Young Adult Anthology/Collection
My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
will be available for purchase on October 14, 2014.
I need to read more collections/anthologies!
Can you recommend some to me?
ALSO! I've been gathering holiday books for this season!! What are some of your favorites?? I want to read a TON OF THEM this year!