My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, Myra McEntire, Kiersten White, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Taylor, Gayle Forman, Matt de la Pena, Jenny Han, Ally Carter, Kelly Link, David Levithan honestly, i've been waiting for this book since sometime in october and for the first time in a long time, i'm happy to say that it did not disappoint me. if i'm 100% truthful, i'll say that roughly half of these stories were a huge miss for me, either boring or shallow or confusing or infuriating or a mix of the four, but the other half was absolutely perfect. i was lucky enough to start reading this the night before christmas eve and sprinkle it over the arc of the holiday and even a bit after it, which totally added to how wonderful it was to read.

first things first, i would like to say that the order of these stories didn't make much sense to me. i thought ending it on laini taylor's the girl who woke the dreamer was a horrible decision. not only because i didn't actually like the story very much, but because the story started out in the beginning of december, and it didn't... fit where it was placed. it didn't complement the story before it in the slightest, and it ended the book on a bitter, sadder note than what i would have wanted. personally, i would have put it closer to the lady and the fox because they had similar fantasy elements (and neither was very good) and they would've made for a good halfway point, perhaps followed up by stephanie perkins' show-stealing it's a yuletide miracle, charlie brown. midnights absolutely should have been the last story in the book, given that it was about new years eve and would have made more sense there. but stephanie perkins is a flawless author and human being, so it isn't fair to expect her to be a flawless editor too.

now, let's get to these stories.

1.) midnights by rainbow rowell ★★★★★
THIS STORY WAS ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. i loved the relationship, i loved that it felt real, that i understood why it was there, not only that it was. it was the perfect little tidbit for this anthology - although like i said, i didn't like its placement.
2.) the lady and the fox by kelly link ★★☆☆☆
i just hated it. i thought finny was weird as hell, and the story itself was just... painful, boring. the writing was alright though, so it's not a total bust.
3.) angel in the snow by matt de la peña ★☆☆☆☆
this story made me more uncomfortable than it did anything else. i thought it was laughable, at times, because our mc was a sloppy mess of a human being, nonsensically sentimental, lying about things that were trivial and idiotic, crying for no reason, prideful and obnoxious. i appreciated the diversity that he offered to the story, but... lord. i cringed my way through it.
4.) polaris is where you'll find me by jenny han ★★★★★
this is either five stars because it's absolutely flawless or one star because it just wasn't enough. i want more. i want to know what happened, i want to read about natalie for the rest of my entire life, i want to see her relationship with her friends and her father and these cute boys flesh out and grow into something. i want more, damnit, but i loved what i got so much that it makes me want to puke. i loved the diversity, i loved everything. this was amazing.
5.) it's a yuletide miracle, charlie brown by stephanie perkins ★★★★★
admittedly, stephanie is my favorite author, so i have a little bit of a bias, but this story. oh man, this story. the quick wit, the genuine development, the backstory, the heartfelt honesty, lord. this was absolutely perfect.
6.) your temporary santa by david levithan ★★★☆☆
nothing was wrong with this, per se, i just thought it was boring? is that douchey? i don't care, anyway, i was bored out of my mind. levithan is a hit or miss author for me: his characters all seem the same, his storylines all seem the same. this guy seemed like he was taking everything too damn seriously and making a big deal over nothing. when you don't explain the significance of things, there isn't any.
7.) krampuslauf by holly black ★★★★☆
this was just predictable, honestly. it was very expected and everything rolled smoothly but it went precisely the cliche way that i thought it would, which was disappointing, but enjoyable because holly black is incredibly talented and makes even cliche things worth reading.
8.) what the hell have you done, sophie roth? by gayle forman ★☆☆☆☆
does gayle forman know that she almost exclusively writes spoiled, rich white girls who are incredibly racist, condescending, and legitimately offensive to my overall life? because, well, apparently that is her fucking mo. i hated sophie roth - she was mean, uppity, and i actually wanted to stab her in the eyes when she thought "the Black Kids", and then promptly followed it up with how she wasn't racist because she grew up around lots of black people and knew the culture!!! pinpointing and thinking of them as black instead of as people is fucking racist as shit, no matter if they're 1/5000 or 1/5.
9.) beer buckets and baby jesus by myra mcentire ★★★★★
THIS WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME!! I WAS GENUINELY EMOTIONAL THE ENTIRE STORY OH MY GOD. i was kind of apprehensive of the good girl/bad boy thing but holy shit, they both fleshed out beautifully and into something spectacular, something worth the read that i would pick up again and again and again. i loved it, every single second of it.
10.) welcome to christmas, ca by kiersten white ★★★★★
this was an adorable, emotional tale of a girl and her family, her friends, and her cute/charming/talented/perfect love interest. this spanned out over more than just a romance which, while i love romance, was a nice breath of fresh air amongst your generic holiday stories. this was perfect, and diverse in more ways than one. i can't believe i'd never heard of the author before!
11.) star of bethlehem by ally carter ★★★★★
i'll admit it: i cried. i cried a lot. i was emotional over aunt mary and ethan and even silly liddy with her bad judgment and those cute little twins. as someone who's grappling with a loss in the family, this was potent and realistic, easy to grasp onto. it was character-driven and beautiful. the kisses made my heart flutter, the sadness made my chest ache. phenomenal.
12.) the girl who woke the dreamer by laini taylor ★☆☆☆☆
this had no place in this book. even amongst the ones that i didn't like, this one sticks out like a sore thumb. it was a rough, gritty, bitter sort-of-dystopian chunk of purple prose, endless walls of text, a jaded, shallow, overall unlikable main character and a dreary, depressing backdrop. i have no idea why the book ended on this note. i have no idea why this story was involved. i do not understand. i did not like this. clunky, badly written stories should not be the chaser at the end of an almost masterpiece.