Review: My True Love Gave To Me, Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave To Me Holiday Stories Stephanie Perkins
My True Love Gave To Me Holiday Stories Stephanie Perkins Cover

Title: My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories 
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, YA 
Publication date: October 14, 2014 
Overall rating: ★★★½ 

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.

It's hard to rate a book like this because it's not just one story or one author. There was no connection whatsoever between the different stories, so they should be reviewed separately. There are twelve stories. Some really good, some terribly awful. Sometimes it's not very clear why I loved some and hated others. It completely depends on personal emotions. Some moved me, others only annoyed me. A romance should make you fall in love a little. When you don't, there's really not much about it.

★ ★ ★ ★ 

I liked this story. Noel and Mags seemed like genuinely nice people. Unique in their own quiet way, certainly not 'over the top'. They were fun and very easy to ship. I loved how even over this very short story they seemed to grow. There was definitely character development. It's New Year's Eve when the story starts and through this chapter, we relive every NYE since Mags has met Noel. More specifically, the various countdowns to midnight. The counting down to midnight was original and nicely done, the being-in-love-with-your-best-friend-part simply irresistible. However, I should mention that I didn’t really like the part where they would keep bringing up the nut allergy. When they originally met (on NYE), Mags supposedly saved Noel from eating something he was allergic too. It was a bit obvious, but I could sort of appreciate it. I just can’t imagine best friends would keep bringing this (not so very shocking event) up as the years go on. So maybe Rainbow should have thought of something else. But aside from the nut-business, I thought this was a pretty great holiday romance. Very realistic. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. It's one of the best (if not the best) stories in this book. If there's one story I'll remember, it will be this one.


This is not just the worst holiday romance I’ve ever read, it might just be the worst story I’ve ever read. God, it was awful. First of all I didn’t like the main character. From the very first page I found her annoying. Miranda notices an ‘old’ man staring through the window of the house and she finds this intriguing rather than creepy. But okay, I could deal with that. Than she decides to go out and meet him. The guy is wearing a justacorps (whatever pathetic kind of coat that might be) and there’s a fox sewn into it. He’s trapped in there (well, the fox) and Miranda feels the urge to free him, although she’s not sure how she could possible do that. What? After a while the guy, Fenny, disappears and although Miranda doesn’t see him again, she falls desperately in love with him. Sometimes on Christmas eve she would find him standing at the window and blabla. It gets a bit less creepy when the guy appears to be younger every time she meets him, but still.. In the end she finds out he’s not exactly a real person, but a kind of ghost (?) and she lifts the magic curse that’s been cast against him. Now you have to know, I’m a huge fantasy fan. I love magic, unknown worlds, fairytales and everything that comes with it. Whatever the hell this was, it was not good. Really bad in fact. Even the writing itself was terrible. I’d strongly advise you to skip this chapter if you find yourself reading this book. 

★ ★ ★ 

This was a nice story. I immediately liked the writing style. It was fast paced with just the right amount of detail. I liked the way the author (who I hadn't heard of before) wrote dialogue and things overall felt very plausible. The story takes place in a nearly abandoned apartment building. Only two people are staying there over the holidays (due to pretty severe snow fall), Shy and Haley. I connected with them. I also liked the ridiculousness of catsitting. I can totally imagine an obnoxious rich couple hiring someone to live in their flat for a couple of days to babysit the cat. It worked, i thought it was awesome. Add the obvious sweet tension between the characters and I was hooked.

★ ★ 

This story was cute. There really is no other way to put it. We find ourselves on the North Pole where Santa lives with his elves, always preparing for the next Christmas. There's only one human girl, Natalie, and she was adopted by Santa (sort of). She falls in love with one of the elves and.. it actually doesn't work out the way you would expect it to (especially after three very obvious endings in the previous stories). I didn't love it though. The story was one big cliche and Natalie was just too young for me. In these kind of stories, I need the characters to be around my age. Not fourteen. So yeah, this one was nice, but not the kind that'll stick with you.

★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

I was a bit anxious to read Stephanie Perkin's entry. She edited this book and I'm a huge fan of Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and the happily ever after. But I also really hated Lola And The Boy Next Door so I knew this could go two ways. I'm glad to say it was good. Very rural, very down-to-earth and pretty creative without taking it too far. I loved the dynamic between North and Marigold. Both intelligent and strong-minded people with a heart of gold. And the Christmas tree-business gave the whole a very merry atmosphere. If anything, it was too short.

★ ★ ★ 

This one was really short. Only 16 pages and therefore not entirely satisfying. I wanted more, because I truly liked it. I suppose I should say that I was already halfway through the story before I realized the main character was actually a guy, in love with a guy. I sort of feel bad for assuming it was a girl, but after the fluffy romances I'd already read I guess I just wasn't expecting it. In my defense, nothing even remotely suggests the sex of the main character before the part where I finally figured it out. Actually, nothing really happens in this story, to be honest. There's a guy dressed up as Santa to surprise his boyfriend's sister. They talk a bit, there's another sister involved and they all go to bed. That's about it. And yet, it really got my attention. I liked the way the guy thought. The perspective he put things in. We only get to meet the boyfriend in the last two pages, but it was romantic in a very non-cheesy way. I guess you get that when there are only guys involved. I loved it. The writing was good as well. I've never read anything from David Levithan, but I've been wanting to. After this story, I'm strongly convinced it won't take me long to pick up a book by him.

★ 

This one started out pretty great. There were three girls at a dress-up festival to catch the boyfriend of one of those girls cheating. I liked the friendship and the way they acted around each other, although they were obviously very different. After they'd caught said boyfriend with his other girlfriend, they invited a lot of people to a NYE party a couple of weeks later. One of those guests was a guy running around with goat legs and a couple of horns. The main character immediately had a thing for him. Time passed by and the NYE party gradually took shape. Up until here I was still liking it. Then the party started and things went completely south. The romantic interest shows up, again with goat legs and horns. Turns out he ACTUALLY looks like that. He's some kind of god, magic guy who'd shown up at the festival because he felt she'd needed him and blablabla.. ugh. Terrible. I tell you, there's nothing hot about a 'hot' guy with goat legs. Especially not when up until then, it hadn't been a fantasy story at all.

★ ★ 

This one.. Generally people seem to think this is one of the best stories in the book. But I just really can't love Gayle Forman the way everyone else does. If I Stay didn't live up to my expectations and neither did this story. I just don't like her characters and her writing that much. Sophie Roth, the MC, was supposed to be very sarcastic and funny (it was mentioned at least two times), but I didn't think she was. Not at all. I'm sarcastic. Really sarcastic. I sometimes have a hard time being serious. I didn't think anything she said was funny. I don't know. It's just not for me. This story wasn't bad. It was a nice romance, not too predictable, but nothing special.

★ 

Another awful one. Another one that made me glad these were only short stories. It takes place in a little church community. The local troublemaker falls in love with the daughter of the Pastor. There are a lot of very obvious prejudices, a lot of very obvious denials of those prejudices and a very boring story. There was something with a play and Joseph and Maria, that went terribly wrong. And also the guy, Vaughn, coming to terms with his not-so-very-nice upbringing. He is redeemed by the nice religious girl who helps him see the light. Yes, it is exactly as bad as it sounds.

★ ★ ★ 

This one was good! I liked the small town, Christmas, and it's typical narrow-minded inhabitants. Maria, the main character, was very likable and so was Ben, the new cook at the diner where Maria busts her ass off every day of the year. There were lots of Christmas feelings and a strong message throughout the story. There were interesting side characters and the Christmas cliches were only there to make fun of. Before this, I'd never read anything by Kiersten White, but her writing is promising. I might try one of her books someday.

★ ★ ★ 

I liked Lydia's bluntness. The way she just switched plain tickets with a random girl at the airport made me love her instantly. It was kind of like the situation with the catsitting. So ridiculous it worked. She was very lively and a very good match with Ethan. I loved Ethan. He's not a very 'big' character in this book, but he was the only one that managed to make me laugh out loud. I liked this story so much it was actually a complete disappointment that Lydia turned out to be a famous singer. Such a wreckage of a good story. I liked it a lot better when Lydia was still a stray orphan girl. It ruined some of the magic, although of course it makes a pretty strong plot twist. Ah well, I guess it could have gotten a lot worse. But the ending was definitely not as strong as the beginning.

★ ★ ★ ½ 

I'm not sure what to think of this one. It just doesn't seem to belong in this book. It's so different. The setting immediately caught my attention. I liked it instantly. A 15th century (something) setting, a world full of ranks and prejudices, promises of a great story. But this is the kind of tale that needs a book to be told right, not thirty pages. It just didn't do the characters or the world justice. Also, again, I couldn't entirely appreciate the supernatural component in this story. I usually love this sort of thing, but not here. Because it was the obvious solution to fix things. There's a girl with a terrible, lonely life that has no way of ever getting happy. So let's create a perfect, godlike, supernatural husband for her to take her to paradise and to let her forget all about her previous life. It just doesn't work. I need a struggle, not blind acceptance. Lot's of things were good about it too, you know. It just could have been better. It was promising, but it didn't deliver.


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In general I realized anthologies are not my thing. I like multiple stories in one book, but they have to have somewhat of a connection. Not like this. Because the moment I started to bond with the characters, they were gone and that’s not a satisfying feeling. It’s also obvious you can't like all stories equally and so you sometimes have to put up with stories you could have written better yourself.

Plus, the morality of it all was disturbing. I guess all Christmas stories are supposed to make you a better person, but the overflow of 'extraordinary' and 'moral judgment' almost made me choke. It's as if they wanted to include all minority groups. And I don't have anything against any of those, but it was just too much. I found myself thinking: "so what's going to make this guy/girl an outsider?" I usually like this sort of stories, but when there are twelve in a row, it just isn't as believable anymore.

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