Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books / St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: October, 2014
A collection of joyful festive stories that will keep you warm during the cold winter months On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.
I don't often read many anthologies; I find it hard to flit from story to story and instead prefer a good long novel. However, I do still pick and choose anthologies based on theme and authors involved, which is how I came to read My True Love Gave to Me. And what a book it is! It's a who's who of modern contemporary YA, edited by the beloved Stephanie Perkins and featuring authors such as Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan and Gayle Forman to name just a few. There are twelve authors featured in total, all with holiday themed stories that will make you want to curl up in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
As with all anthologies, My True Love Gave to Me's offerings are all of a high calibre, though some are inevitably better than others. I went into this book having previously read books by twelve of the authors, with a couple of them already being on my favourites list. I was most excited to read Jenny Han's story (she's one of the best in YA contemporary) and, interestingly, that one didn't turn out to be my favourite! I'm not going to talk about all twelve stories or I'll be here forever (you should see my notes!) but here are my top five:
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell. Now, I'm not the biggest Rainbow fan that ever lived, but I like her stuff and always look forward to a new book from her. Midnights really surprised me; it's the first story in the anthology and is the one I kept going back to. It's about Noel and Mags, is set on New Years Eve and features ridiculously good dialogue, hotness and LOTS of kissing.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link. This is the second story in the book (wow, it starts off well!) and has a slightly more supernatural theme to it. It's so, so good, with lovely writing, off the charts chemistry between Miranda and Fenny, a snowy setting and a mystery that slowly unravels. I loved it.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman. It's Gayle Forman, y'know? There's the excellent writing we've all come to expect, well-rounded, believable characters in the form of Sophie and Russell and a realistic romance. It left me with a very strong desire to read more about these people.
Welcome to Christmas, CA. by Kiersten White. I didn't think this story would particularly stand out when I started it - it just seemed like your average YA romance. But then something hit me and I loved Ben and Maria and their love of food. It's a charming look at two people trying to find their way, and even has a subtle element of magic. Magical, indeed!
It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. Stephanie Perkins! Queen of the romance! I'm so glad to see her back publishing stuff, and this story is typical Perkins gorgeousness. From the characters names (Marigold and North) to the trees to the dialogue, I loved it all. More please.
It was difficult to narrow this down to my top five stories, but I did it. In all honesty, though, I enjoyed every single story in this anthology, even my least favourite. I also finally read my first David Levithan writing, found out what all the Myra McEntire hype was about and discovered that perhaps I do like Ally Condie's books after all.
My True Love Gave to Me is an amazing compilation of romantic Christmas stories from today's best contemporary YA writers, and really does deserve to be in everyone's stocking this year. It's a true testament to the talent to be found in YA, and it has shown me that short stories might just be for me after all. Whether you like one, two or all of the authors featured in this book, read it anyway. I guarantee you'll discover some new favourite writers and will fall head over heels in love with an array of new fictional characters. I hope this anthology becomes a regular thing - I want a Halloween collection next, please!