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.
This hardback edition features a ribbon marker and pink sprayed edges, and is the perfect gift.
Publisher – Macmillan Children’s Books
Date Published – 9th October 2014
Pages – 368 pages
Format – Hardback
Category – YA / Romance
Source – Bought
** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**
I read this book, a collection of twelve winter romances by YA authors, in the run up to Christmas, over Christmas and after Christmas. It was perfect in everyway and I loved it so so much!
I cannot begin to talk about this book without first acknowledging the absolutely beautiful and stunning cover published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Its breath-taking. The pictures really do not do this book justice at all. A beautiful light blue hardback cover with pink decoration and beautiful pink sprayed edges to pages. Its so pretty! I was also transported back to my childhood with a beautiful gold ribbon marker attached to the book. It’s just amazing and made me fall in love with the book before even starting to read it. Well done to Macmillan Children’s Books – just stunning!
My True Love Gave To Me is a wonderful collection of winter romances from the likes of Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, Laini Taylor and Holly Black. All of these authors I had previously heard of, but this book also features some authors that were not as well known to me including Matt de la Pena, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Jenny Han, Kiersten White and Ally Carter. I fully put my hands up here and admit that with the exception of David Levithan I have not yet read ANY books by the other authors! Yes that includes Rainbow Rowell! I only have myself to blame *hangs head in shame*! But after reading this collection this is soon to be rectified in 2015 and I like to think that this book has pushed some fab new authors to the forefront for me to discover and explore in 2015!
I always find winter a magical time of year. I love a magical wintery walk in the park and the feeling of getting home in the warm and snuggling up with a hot chocolate and a favourite book.
With this book I have been taken on a wintery treat through the North Pole and towns called Bethlehem. I have chosen Christmas Trees, read about Santa Claus and watched people fall in love. I have been left drooling by diners and a wonderful foods cooked by a delightful chef. I have been transported to magical lands where a Christmas present is left each day or a mystery man catches my eye in the snow. I have fell in love on New Years Eve, been part of a nativity and I have read about the impossible becoming possible. I have been on a journey with this book with such a wide range of diverse characters it really is a must read. I think this will be the book I read every Christmas from now on.
Midnights – Rainbow Rowell
This is the story of Mags and Noel who meet one New Years Eve over an hilarious conversation about allergies. The story skips backwards and forwards over a 3 year time period giving a glimpse into Mags and Noels life every New Years Eve. We get a glimpse of when they meet, when they become good friends and then when they become best friends who do everything together. Its a story of friendship and love.
In the space of a few pages Rainbow Rowell makes Mags, Noel and all the other characters instantly likeable and you feel like you have known them longer than a few pages. The characters and the story are well developed and doesn’t feel like a short story at all. The best part for me in this book was Noel announcing every New Years Eve that this is “our song” and some of the most cheesiest songs are named. Loved it!
The Lady and the Fox – Kelly Link
This is the story of Miranda, her best friend Daniel, her godmother Elspeth and a beautiful stranger called Fenny. The story is based in a place called Honeywell Hall and we first meet Miranda when she is very young and staying for Christmas at her Godmother Elspeth’s. This is when she first meets Fenny with his beautiful coat which includes a stitched on fox with his leg stuck in a trap which intrigues Miranda. Year after year as Miranda grows she has to attend Honeywell Hall every Christmas and we see Miranda grow from a child to a young woman who is intrigued by the stranger Fenny who only seems to appear when it snows.
This story takes the reader through a magical ride of snow, magic and love and is like a fairy-tale to read. What I loved about this story was the way it made me feel Christmassy as it had that feel to it and the way the characters grow so much even in a short story. Just magical.
Angels in the Snow – Matt de la Pena
Angels In The Snow is about a young boy called Shy, a cat sitting, guitar playing student who finds himself snowed in in a foodless apartment, owned by his boss, over Christmas. A knock on the door one day from neighbour, Haley, needing help means that there are two people alone in the building during a blizzard, but they need to get to know each other first and they find they may just be able to help each other.
Angels In The Snow is a truly touching short story. The characters felt real to me as a reader and Matt’s realistic, beautifully written love story really touched me and all with a good old touch of humour and diversity thrown in the mix too. A beautiful short story and a great addition to the anthology.
Check out my Q&A with the wonderful Matt de la Pena here!
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me – Jenny Han
Natty is a human who was adopted by Santa and lives in the North Pole! She is totally in love with an Elf called Flynn, but Flynn takes another elf to the annual Snow Ball! Also what happened when Santa took Nat out one Christmas and she meet another human boy – yellow haired Lars?
This story was the shortest one in the book (I think), but it packed some punches with some good laughs for me including Santa loving Wham and a great reference to Quidditch Brooms. The ending is a bit sudden and kind of felt unfinished, but upon reflection it was a perfect ending.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown – Stephanie Perkins
Marigold Moon needs a boys voice for her animated movies and she hears the perfect voice down on the Christmas Tree Farm across from her and her Mom’s top floor apartment. The boys name is North and Marigold accidently ends up buying a Christmas Tree from the family business whilst trying to pluck up the courage to borrow his voice. North decides to help carry and set up the Christmas tree with Marigold.
This is a touching story of selflessness, falling in love, finding a common ground and realising that maybe your life has been put on hold to help others. I loved this…pure and simply loved it. North was just adorable and the writing, emotions and feel of the story were fantastic.
Your Temporary Santa – David Levithan
I love David Levithan. He writes and deals with issues in such ease its hard for me to not like anything he writes. This is the story of a tradition that a family has where by someone dresses up as Santa and drops the presents under the tree to keep the Christmas magic alive for his little sister. This year Connor asks his boyfriend to do him the favour and what pursues is a funny story about acceptance and love.
What I liked about this story was the fact that as a reader the Santa suit obviously has some special meaning although it is not discussed but hinted at. I also loved that delivering the presents doesn’t go quite to plan with encounters with Connor’s family members. A great read.
Krampuslauf – Holly Black
This is another New Years Eve story with a slice of revenge. November the 5th is Krampusnacht where people dress up like a Krampus and celebrate Satan (I never knew this!? Is this real?) A group of friends decide to try and catch one of their boyfriends cheating with the main character ending up agreeing to host a New Years Eve party in a caravan inviting the cheating boyfriend and his friends and a hot guy dressed as a Krampus.
This story does not sound that festive but what follows is a magical story of revenge and the possibility that maybe your imagination can make things reality?! A different type of winter romance, but thoroughly enjoyable.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? – Gayle Forman
As the title suggests this is the story of Sophie Roth. Sophie has started university and feels every bit the outsider with no one understanding her and calling her “Big City” because of where she comes from. On a crazy whim she decides to go to a carol service meeting where she meets a tall boy called Russell over a mutual love of Ned Flanders which is quite funny. She finds that Russell also feels very much the outsider to.
This story to me seemed to be about acceptance and that maybe sometimes we cause ourselves to feel like the outsider when other people are maybe not actually thinking that way. It’s a great love story with a great reference to The Rolling Stones! Rock On!
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus – Myra McEntire
This story was immediately funny from the offset with the main character reflecting on pasting and glitter gluing a rabbit when he was younger with the line –
“It turns out teachers think of glitter as the herpes of the craft world, impossible to contain or exterminate”
The main character Vaughan has a reputation and is a serial prankster who accidently burns down the village church with all of the nativity props going up in smoke. Rather than go to prison the pastor agrees for Vaughan to carry out community service and help get the annual nativity to be a success. What he doesn’t count on is that the girl he has admired from afar may just be the one to help him change.
A very funny story and a great sense of community and team work all mixed with a Christmas nativity and love.
Welcome to Christmas, CA – Kiersten White
I loved this story so so much! It was perfect in every way for me.
Maria lives in a town called Christmas and she cannot wait to leave. She works in a diner for no pay, hates her family and hates her life. Ben is the new chef that starts work at the diner and he has a special talent…he can guess what food you want before you even order it and that food will make you so happy. Maria soon realises that maybe she is loved more than she originally thought and maybe Christmas is not as bad as she thought.
I loved Ben’s character so much and thanks to Jim over at YAYeahYeah for sending me this article that states that Ben is based on the pie maker from Pushing Daises – oh how I love him even more now I know this – thanks Jim!
Big shout out to the elf in the diner that Maria has stuck a knife in his hand and has his head cocked at a horror movie angle – this made me laugh…a lot!
Star of Bethlehem – Ally Carter
Lydia, on impulse, gives her New York flight ticket to a complete stranger, Hulda, who is desperate to get to New York. They swap tickets. Lydia just needs to get away and doesn’t care where she ends up. What she doesn’t bargain for is that Hulda’s boyfriend and family are waiting for her at the other end of Hulda’s ticket and Lydia has to take on a whole new life pretending to be Hulda. But what is Lydia running from?
I loved this. Some lovely touching moments especially with Aunt Alice who lost her husband a child two years prior all sewn up with a nice little twist in the end.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
In the Isle of Feathers it is custom for young men to leave small gifts for their sweethearts on each of the twenty-four days of advent leading to marriage on Christmas Day. Neve has attracted the attention of the truly terrifying sounding reverend who’s wives always end up dead. In desperation Neve wakes the Dreamer. Can he save her from her fate?
This short story creates a whole world of wonderful creation and the reverend gave me the shivers (I kept imagining Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs Of New York?!). A different, but fab story to the collection.
Its so hard to pick a favourite story out of this collection. I really did love them all and they are all so individual. I think I managed to whittle down to my favourite 3…no 4…no 5… you see my point. Welcome to Christmas, CA (I loved this so much!), It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, Star of Bethlehem and Angels in the Snow were all my absolute favourites. There is not one story that I disliked.
I asked a few twitter friends and authors what their favourite stories were from the collection and here are their thoughts…… Thanks to everyone who shared.
So there we have it! As you can see everyone has their favourites and its so hard to choose just one as this book was THAT GOOD! I really recommend this read not just at Christmas, but any time of the year and it looks so pretty on the bookcase!
I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books
You can buy this book here
If you would like to know any more about any of the authors above, this book or any of the authors other books please click on the links on the authors name next to the story titles.
Have you read this book? What was your favourite story or is it too hard to pick? Were there any you didn’t like? If you have not read the book would you consider buying after reading this review? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or why not tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy ?
Happy Reading….and falling in love with this book!