My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

, ed. 336p. St. Martin's Griffin. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250059307; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466863897.
RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—Twelve of the best-loved and best-known young adult authors-Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, and Matt de la Peña among them-have contributed stories to this appealing collection. Most have a Christmas setting, but Hanukkah, the winter solstice, and New Year's Eve are also represented. Most are realistic, but Holly Black, Kelly Link, Jenny Han, and Laini Taylor have contributed tales steeped in fantasy or the supernatural. What all 12 selections have in common is teen romance at its most fragile and meaningful. Never mind the winter holidays; booktalk this title all year round.—Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Holiday romance connects the twelve tales in this enjoyable anthology by well-known YA authors, including Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Laini Taylor, and editor Perkins. 
The stories feature teen protagonists of different races, sexual identities, and ethnicities confronting obstacles and insecurities in pursuit of new love amidst winter holiday celebrations. The eclectic stories--some fantastical, some realistic--all conclude with hopeful, if not always happy, endings.
A feel-good collection of original short stories—running the gamut from the natural to the supernatural—by esteemed YA authors such as Holly Black, David Levithan, and Gayle Forman. True to its title, My True Love Gave to Me combines holiday romance with the magic of the holiday season. Every story introduces a character who’s missing some big piece of life’s puzzle. But by the story’s end, that piece snaps into place—with consistently heart-melting results. Best friends profess their feelings for each other; a lonely college freshman finds a soul mate; an orphaned pop star finds a home. The stories boast a diverse range of protagonists. In Levithan’s “Temporary Santa,” a Jewish boy agrees to dress as Santa as a favor to his boyfriend. And in Jenny Han’s “Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me,” Santa’s adopted Korean daughter finds she, once again, can’t snag a date for the Snow Ball (“It’s like prom for elves.”) because she’s human. The collection ends on a high note with Laini Taylor’s darkly imaginative “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer,” set on an island where men offer their sweethearts gifts for every day of Advent. A young orphan finds herself courted by a God who leaves her “a bottle that [holds] every birdsong in the world,” and a tapestry that changes “day by day, and [shows] the world to her in glimpses.”

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