Only in a short story anthology can organization, elves, the holiday season, and some other things besides come together to create a delightfully seasonal assortment of stories. My True Love Gave to Me (2014), edited by Stephanie Perkins, brings together YA authors at the top of their game in this festive collection of romantic stories set during the best time of year.
If you enjoy Christmas, especially the decorating and the food look no further than Stephanie Perkins’ “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” for a story that combines the wonders of home organization with a first encounter that might lead to something more. “Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White is a sentimental story about finding home with some delectable food thrown in to taste.
Not a fan of Christmas? That’s okay too. “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell is a heartfelt New Years’ story while “Krampuslauf” by Holly Black and “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor are fantasies set in December without being Christmas specific. Although Kelly Link centers her story around annual Christmas parties, “The Lady and the Fox” is more a Tam Lin style story than a specifically holiday story.
Don’t celebrate Christmas? Gayle Forman’s “What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” and David Levithan’s “Your Temporary Santa” both offer a look at the season from a Jewish perspective.
Humor is also prevalent in many of these stories, none more so than “Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by Myra McEntire.
Themes of family are just as prevalent in this collection as romance which can be seen in “Angels in the Snow” by Matt de la Pena and Ally Carter’s “Star of Bethlehem” both of which offer very different (but true) takes on what it means to find or just think about the importance of family over the holiday season.
The story I have thought about most since finishing this story is by Jenny Han. “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me” offers a tantalizing look at what life might be like on the North Pole for Santa’s daughter in a story that I can only hope will one day become a full-length novel.
Considering the range of authors and writing styles in this anthology, My True Love Gave to Me is a stunningly solid collection with a high quality of writing that spans every genre and story presented. This is a delightfully festive (and often secular) assortment of stories with something that will appeal to everyone. Perkins has done an admirable job of editing and organizing this anthology where whole exceeds the sum of its parts and is sure to leave every reader with a smile on their face.
(Careful readers may also want to examine the cover to find their favorite couple on the ice rink. The ARC I read also promises interior illustrations which I can’t wait to see.)
Possible Pairings: Ex-Mas by Kate Brian, Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love edited by Elsie Chapman; Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan; Snow in Love by Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, Nic Stone, Kasie West; 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han; Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones; Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle; Recommended For You by Laura Silverman; Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford