Hey everyone! How are you all doing? 🙂
I’m sorry this review is coming a bit late… Mostly, it’s because I couldn’t, for the life of me, finish this book. So yeah. Get ready for another joyride…
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.
*the following are not necessarily by order of appearance*
MIDNIGHTS by Rainbow Rowell
Wow, this book sure knew how to grab my attention from the start (not). I honestly thought this one was going to be terrible. It started a bit weird, eventually got super cute, but by the end was just meh. I don’t know what is it with Rainbow Rowell but I just can’t find any of her stories as wonderful as everyone else seems to… It was just okay.
THE LADY AND THE FOX by Kelly Link
Man, this was one weird tale. The writing style was weird and a bit confusing at times (it was not bad, per se, it just wasn’t something I’m used to) but by the end, I guess I couldn’t help but feel intrigued. Still, I felt mostly creeped out.
POLARIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME by Jenny Han
This was so unsatisfying, even if it was kind of cute! I found there was no real resolution at the end and it dimmed my enthusiasm a bit. If you liked Elf, though, you’ll probably like this one as it uses the same concept.
IT’S A YULETIDE MIRACLE, CHARLIE BROWN by Stephanie Perkins
I’m not going to lie: I thought this one was adorable. But – and this is a big but – it was incredibly instalovey. I liked both protagonists and how their “relationship” evolved – it simply needed more time to convince me whatever they had was the slightest bit meaningful and real. I’m just not a “love at first sight” kind of gal, sorry.
YOUR TEMPORARY SANTA by David Levithan
This one was adorable. I don’t actually have much to say other than I felt all warm and fuzzy inside while reading it. Well done. And bonus points for diversity!
KRAMPUSLAUF by Holly Black
I didn’t like this one as much as I thought I would. It was really cool at first but then kind of took a weird turn and nothing much happened afterwards? I loved the idea behind it, I just felt it was a bit rushed and messy. But, overall, an enjoyable read.
WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, SOPHIE ROTH? by Gayle Foreman
Again, the ending was a bit rushed but I really liked this couple. They were really cute and dorky together and even though it felt like the author was trying to make them sound too special at times, it was still a pretty sweet read. I didn’t care much for the unnecessary drama, though.
BEER BUCKETS AND BABY JESUS by Myra McEntire
Look, I’m a sucker for bad boy/good girl romances so no wonder I liked this one. I have grown fond of male voices as well and this was definitely a refreshing take on the rebel without a cause trope.
ANGELS IN THE SNOW by Matt de la Peña
I loved the protagonist (again, the male POV really got me) but didn’t care much for his love interest. She was annoying and I didn’t understand what he saw in her (other than her looks). Nevertheless, it was such an adorable story I can’t complain much. Also, it featured an awesome cat.
STAR OF BETHLEHEM by Ally Carter
I was so confused at the start of this story. And thankfully, I didn’t guess the plot “twist” right away, despite countless opportunities. It’s one of those really implausible stories but I couldn’t care less – it was super cute and relatable and even made me a bit misty eyed. The ending felt super rushed, though, so that’s the only reason I’m giving it a lower rating.
WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS, CA by Kiersten White
This one was an absolute favorite of mine. It really drew me in from the start and made me fall in love with the characters, setting and everything, really. I adored the magical realism vibe and how everything fit together so nicely. I guess I always loved this idea that food holds some sort of healing quality to it. I also cried. So ready the tissues.
THE GIRL WHO WOKE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor
Up until this point, I had been trying to give the other authors some credit as they were given very few pages to work with and would, thus, be susceptible to rushing things/not being able to produce their best work.
But when Laini Taylor stepped on stage with this amazing fantasy world building, fleshed out characters and a kickass story in under ninety pages… One could not come up with any more excuses. You either have it or you don’t, and most of these authors showed they didn’t have it – at least, not when it came to short stories. They might otherwise be wonderful writers; I wouldn’t know. All I know is that Taylor has reigned supreme, once again.
Anthologies… Why, oh why, won’t you let me love you?
I felt super underwhelmed by most of these stories, even if I did end up enjoying them. They just didn’t stick on my mind long enough for me to care. Also, I always felt like they could have been improved in some way. I mean, the potential was there, the authors just didn’t really know how to use it.
I liked that, as a whole, they comprise a pretty diverse bunch in terms of characters and plots, as it never felt like I was reading the same exact story. As for quality and writing style, they were also all pretty similar (something I struggled with in my previous anthology). Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to make this anything but average.
Overall, I was severely disappointed in this book. Not because it was bad, but because it wasn’t as awesome as it could have been. And that was incredibly frustrating. There are some real gems here, and I would recommend anyone read those because they are amazing. Otherwise, don’t get your hopes up.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time!