I read this as part of the Winter Magical Readathon for the prompt of “Read a contemporary (a book, comic, short story etc, set in the real (muggle) world)”. Most of the stories here took place in our real world, even if some did have additions of a wee bit of magic.
It took me using this as a prompt to speed up my finishing it. I liked that this readathon was super chill in that it encouraged participants to finish books they were already reading if the prompt fit.
Anyways, let’s chat about how I came to my star rating and then get into each one on its own:
There were 12 stories collected here. Each with a possibility of being rated at 5 stars. That totaled to 60 as the max amount possible. My rating wound up with 43 out of that possible 60 by the end leaving the collection at a 3.58 rating. Rounding up of course and not down as Math taught us all to do, I thus arrived at my 4 star rating for the book as a whole. Which is very good for an anthology!
Some stories I enjoyed much more than others. Which happens with any anthology of course. Here are my impressions and random musings and notes for each of the short stories.
“Midnights” by: Rainbow Rowell
Friends -> Romance story.
Very cute, if predictable, story. One thing I did not particularly personally care for was when the guy gets all this attention and the girl just waits in the wings for years waiting. It is maddening, but it does happen in real life so it makes sense to be in a book. So frustrating.
“The Lady and The Fox” by: Kelly Link
I was lost for most of the story. So lost. The “Honeywell” thing? A family name like Rockefeller….or….? What? Was the guy a lot older simply in spirit? Not actuality or the opposite? I was la confusion. WTF did I read?! The addition of spells and magic at the end did not fix the trainwreck that this was.
“Angels In The Snow” by: Matt de la Peña
This was a story dealing with a LOT of heartbreak in many forms. I liked the diversity that we had. A POV that wasn’t “perfect” in that he was poor and it affected him as a person. It made a difference to what he did, thought, and how he reacted. Which is how people are in reality. Overall for me however, it was a bit too meandering for my taste.
“Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me” by: Jenny Han
Adorable. Everything you could want in a short story! Legit magical and it left me wanting more in the best possible way. Sweet and dramatic and lovely and forbidden. Yesssssss!!!!
“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by: Stephanie Perkins
Well done overall and I liked the inclusion of how your outer surroundings can reflect your internal happenings. Bravo! They really do tell a lot about a person. I liked the style and the romance was sweet BUT it went from cute to hot and heavy very quickly. Which I understand cause it was a short story and all; yet too fast of a toss in that it didn’t feel right for the characters or what their established personalities were. Neither character seemed like they would be so quick to be all over each other. A chaste kiss MAYBE, but it seemed out of character at that part. Just saying.
“Your Temporary Santa” by: David Levithan
It was okay. Sort of slice of life of a new relationship. The one guy with the family asks his new boyfriend to dress as Santa and be seen by the youngest sister to keep the magic spark alive for her. Weird dynamic happening between the new love interest and the older sister. Older sister had a lot of resentment. Family dynamic splintered by a missing father and a druggie or drunk Mother who was out of it when she was there.
“Krampuslauf” by: Holly Black
I actually really enjoyed this one. (I don’t know why so many other didn’t and/or skipped it. To each their own I suppose.) It was bizarre in a fun way. There was an odd magic element there. The friendship dynamic was well written and established. It was well done in my opinion.
“What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by: Gayle Forman
The title and repetition of the title were weird to me. The story itself wasnt that bad; there seems to be a formula here with these short stories though. Meet cute. Possibly they knew each other prior. Then we have some back story of family loss. Poor background. Rinse lather repeat. I sort of liked it in other stories. I felt it fell flat here. I did like that the couple was diverse. Jewish girl and black guy isnt a coupling I have read about often. I did like that element of Hanukkah.
“Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by: Myra McEntire
Great and fun read. We had great character development here and some misunderstandings and stereotypes that got righted which is always hit or miss, but definitely worked here.
“Welcome To Christmas, CA” by: Kiersten White
Perfectly crafted story. The romance was subtle and we had more side character development and I liked that Ben was short for Ebenezer!
“Star of Bethlehem” by: Ally Carter
This was my favorite of the entire collection. Perfection. It had a Hallmark Christmas vibe to it with the feel of miracles at Christmas. We had subtle romance. We had mistaken identity. We had some loss backstory there. We had second chances. The best part to me was the family and community coming together. Beautifully done. I wish this had been the last story.
“The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer” by: Laini Taylor
This was the only one I had to DNF and couldn’t make myself slog through. I don’t think I am a fan of the writing style of the author. This was just not for me.
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 enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s 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.