My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins | Book ReviewMy True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Summer Days and Summer Nights, The Woods Are Always Watching
Published by Macmillan on 2014-10-14
Genres: Holidays & Celebrations, Love & Romance, Short Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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 (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, 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.

I am such a sucker for Christmas and holiday themed stories. I guess you can say that I am an easy mark. When I first saw the cover for My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins, I immediately wanted to read it. I had not even seen the star studded list of YA authors. After seeing the twelve authors included, my desire to read the book was cemented. My True Love Gave To Me is a mostly even anthology of short stories, there’s only two that I did not love. The rest though had me wanting a cup of cheer, even though it’s only fall.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell

If you want to suck someone into an anthology of holiday short stories, it’s generally a good idea to start the book off with a bang. Midnights by Rainbow Rowell is absolute perfection. If you can picture the quiet awkwardness of Rowell’s written relationships like Levi and Cath and Eleanor and Park parsed down to a mere 22 pages, that’s Midnights. It’s about Mags and Noel, two teenagers who become friends around midnight on New Year’s. Every year, Noel kisses a different girl based upon proximity and every year, Mags finds herself feeling something. Will the two get together within 22 pages? Hint: YES.

The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link

This story is about a girl named Miranda whose mom is in prison in Thailand. Every Christmas she visits her godmother, Ellspeth Honeywell, a former celebrity, and Miranda attends the Honeywell Christmas. She’s very close with Daniel Honeywell, Ellspeth’s son, but Daniel just doesn’t do it for her. No one does until she sees a mysterious man in the yard on Christmas night in the snow, but only ever on Christmas. His name is Fennick. Essentially this is a bit of a supernatural story and kind of weird. I did not love this short story.

Angels In The Snow by Matt De La Pena

I actually really enjoyed reading Angels In The Snow and I think I want to read more by Matt De La Pena. This short story is narrated by a boy named Shy who is catsitting in his boss’s Brookyln apartment over Christmas. Unfortunately, he is out of money and his whole family is on the West Coast. He’s having a terrible Christmas thus far. This all changes when he receives a knock at his door from this girl living in the apartment above whose shower is broken. What unfolds is honest and sweet and I really liked it.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han

It breaks me into pieces to say this but I was totally expecting better. Han’s story is about a girl who has been adopted by Santa, so she lives at the North Pole with all the other elves. She’s really been pining over this one elf but unfortunately, it seems that might not happen. I don’t know, I am was not particularly compelled by this story.

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins

Leave it to Stephanie Perkins to be able to pack a whole lot of swoon into so few pages. She’s the master of writing attractions that feel real. In her contribution to My True Love Gave To Me, Perkins writes about a girl named Marigold who goes to the Christmas tree lot owned by the Drummond family every single day. She animates in her spare time and this year she is captivated by the voice of one of the workers — a boy named North. Marigold keeps trying to work up the courage to ask North to voice one of her videos. What unfolds is something completely sweet and miraculous and heartwarming. This short story really felt like Christmas to me.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan

This story features an unnamed narrator – a Jewish boy who dresses up as Santa Claus as a favor to his boyfriend, Connor. So, the narrator does his part out of love, and to help Connor’s little sister, Riley continue to believe in Santa after what has been a pretty rough year. This is only about 15 or so pages, but it’s a lovely and succinct story.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black

Krampuslauf was essentially about this girl named Hanna who lives in an area that holds a charity festival celebrating Krampus every year. She’s not a fan because she thinks it strips the character Krampus of his meaning. This year, she is with her best friends Wren and Penny when they come across Penny’s boyfriend Roth who is with another girl. Impulsively, Hanna invites Silke, the girl, and Roth, to a party that she’s going to put on. She also invites one of the festival’s Krampus to the party. What unfolds is a kind of weird story, but I guess that’s to be expected when it comes to Holly Black, she’s good at the supernatural and the weird. Results may vary for readers of this short story.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman definitely does not disappoint with What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth. In fact, what I love about this story is that I know that exact sentiment and feeling. This story is about a girl named Sophie Roth from Brooklyn who goes to college in the middle of the United States in a small town. It is quite the culture shock for her. And so, she feels like a fish out of water. Yet, Sophie begins to bond with a boy over Ned Flanders and thus the story cemented it’s way into my heart. This is one of my favorites in the anthology.

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire

This story is about a boy named Vaughn who accidentally lights a church on fire while trying to firecracker some pigeons. Vaughn has been into pranks for a long time. This prank has the potential to send him to jail though. However, the pastor of the church steps in and instead, Vaughn must do community service for the church and help prep for the nativity pageant. There, he works with the pastor’s daughter, Gracie, who Vaughn has had a “thing” for. This is actually quite a humorous short story.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White

Narrated by a girl named Maria, Welcome To Christmas, CA is about a small town that’s really actually a census town that does not even have a well maintained highway exit named Christmas. Maria can’t wait to get out of Christmas. She doesn’t really feel home there. Anyways, the cook at the diner where she works has died and so, when the story opens she is coming into work to meet the new cook. He is a young guy named Ben who seems to know the exact perfect dish for each person. Maria is a bit prickly to start. I love White’s books, so it is not a shock to me that I loved her short story. It’s a nice blend of humour with serious moments with family and friends and of course, a little romance.

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter

This story is about a girl whose name we do not immediately get. She’s at the airport when she sees this other girl who is Icelandic struggling with getting her ticket changed. The as yet unnamed narrator offers to trade tickets with the girl because she recognizes the same need to escape in her. Our narrator winds up in Oklahoma where this family believes she is Hulda and comes to pick her up. There, “Hulda” finds herself in Bethlehem, Oklahoma where she begins to fall for this big family and their son, Ethan. And so, this story is about finding family in the strangest of circumstances. I really enjoyed it.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor’s writing always has such an evocative, dream-like quality to it. Her short story, The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer is no exception to this. Taking place on an unnamed island, this is about a girl named Neve who doesn’t want to marry any of the boys on the island. There is a tradition where boys and men give the girls and women they are hoping to woo presents throughout December leading up to a ring on advent and marriage. Neve receives the attention of a man she does not want, so she turns to an ancient deity for help. This story was strange and weird and utterly gorgeous.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. It has also been translated into my language and I’ve already ordered it. Can’t wait to read it! The stories sound amazing! I’m glad you said a few words for each, now I’m even more excited! :))

  2. I’m always a little nervous about anthologies, because I may love some stories, but others not so much. So I’m glad to hear that you liked nearly all the stories. I have this and plan on reading it soon.

  3. Laini is the MAIN reason I am getting this book. Now I just have to wait for the UK edition to come in!

  4. So happy to hear you loved this! There’s so many amazing authors in it. I’m excited to read it.

  5. I seriously think My True Love Gave To Me is a pretty great short story collection for the holiday season! I enjoyed most of the stories too, with Laini Taylor’s being a particular favorite for its dreamy, evocative storytelling.

  6. So I am reading this one now and am only about half way through but I can say that I agree with all of your opinions, with the exception being Holly Black’s story – I found myself really enjoying that one mostly because of the refreshing change in pace (more mature voice). I expected more from Jenny Han and felt like it ended abruptly but was pleasantly surprised by Matt de la Pena’s story. Kelly Links got weird fast and is my least favorite so far.


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