Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave to 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.
Writing
In a collection like this, an anthology with multiple authors, it's only natural that some really hit the mark and some fell a little short.  In terms of writing, I think the best I can say is that it totally lives up to the premise of providing heartwarmingly romantic YA short stories.  With the exception of Laini Taylor's story "The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer", which was a gorgeous fairy tale with a literary bent that I wouldn't find out of place in a more adult collection, I think this was light and fun and fluffy, but not much in the way of depth.  And, honestly, when you're writing YA short stories, particularly with the stipulation that they be both romantic and heartwarming, I think authors are somewhat limited stylistically.  With an average of 22 pages to introduce characters, make them sympathetic, and have them fall in love with some ounce of believability, there's just not much room for showing off your chops, right?  That said...

Entertainment Value
I loved it.  I totally and completely ate this up.  I read it after reading Lindsay Hunter's Ugly Girls, which wins the award for most depressing book ever.  In light of that, I absolutely devoured this one and loved every fluffy, fun, snuggly moment of holiday romance.  Some favorites, besides Taylor's include Rainbow Rowell's "Midnights", Stephanie Perkins "It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown", and Gayle Foreman's "What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth".  No huge surprises there: the authors whose full-length works I find delightful wrote equally delightful and fun short stories.

I also feel like I can't not mention Laini Taylor's story again here.  Not only was she the most successful in terms of really showing off her writing chops, her story was my favorite overall in terms of entertainment.  She's really created a magical world that I wanted to stay in.  I was sad that it had to be as short as it was for the collection - it's a story I'd enjoy reading as a novel and a world that I'd love to see more of in the future.

Overall
I almost want to go back and delete everything I wrote about the writing of this because I don't want anyone to be confused about the fact that I think this book is completely successful and worth reading.  It's necessarily limited in terms of how much the authors can show off, but that doesn't mean it' not charming and magical and everything fun about Christmas.  If you're into YA, if you like romance anthologies, or if you just need some holiday fluff, you need to read this one.  It was a blast.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.


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