My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve holiday short stories by different YA authors, including several of my favorites. Five of the authors were ones I’d read before, the rest new-to-me. This was my experience:
- This book came out in 2014, but I only heard of it this year through Laini Taylor on Twitter. Discovering Rainbow Rowell was also on the docket just cemented my decision to dive into these stories!
- I began reading the stories on Christmas, one story per day for each of the twelve days of Christmas. This helped each story to feel fresh, and for me to not get burned out as I often do reading story collections.
- As expected for me and story collections, I found the book to be a bit uneven. I’d say that over all, I enjoyed about half the book (pretty high for me and collections).
- While I was indifferent to several stories, there was only one I downright hated. No, I won’t say which one. I will say it came from an unknown-to-me author.
- The title calls these “holiday stories,” and indeed they are, however they could more accurately be called “holiday love stories.” Every single one had a love story of sorts, and I felt like some stories would have been better and more powerful without the love parts.
- Some stories felt like short stories. Some felt like condensed novels. Some felt like stories that could be developed into novels.
- Two stories felt derivative of two very popular holiday movies.
- One story felt like a rehash of that author’s previous works, complete with exact-same-scenes and character-names, though not the same characters/stories from those previous works.
- Two stories started out kinda meh for me, but eventually grew on me until I loved them. Awesome!
- The first story (by Rainbow Rowell) was the perfect opener, a sweet little story.
- The last story (by Laini Taylor) was the perfect ender, a fantastic fairy tale.
- My favorite, however, came from an unknown-to-me author, who also happened to be the editor of the book – Stephanie Perkins. Her story, “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown,” turned me into a grinning, book-hugging fool, and I think perhaps it’s time I check out some of her other works. Hopefully her novels turn out to be as good as her short story here!
And there you have it: twelve observations, twelve stories, and a big long twelve-days-of-Christmas finish.