My True Love Gave to Me, Twelve Holiday Stories

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If anyone else isn’t quite ready to be done with Christmas, or this holiday season for that matter, this is the book for you. Edited by Stephanie Perkins (author of Anna and the French Kiss, and others), My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of holiday short stories from several prominent authors such as Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Jenny Han and Gayle Foreman. This collection has stories for more than one type of reader, although many stories are cute little romances, a few of them have more of a fantasy element, which is cool. Variety is neat.

I have to say I really was impressed with this book. I wanted a fun holiday read and that is exactly what I got. It was perfect, I was so impressed with a lot of the stories and it was a quick read. Because there are twelve stories I won’t go into all of them but I do want to talk about a few of my personal favorites.

The Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – This is a cute story about Lydia who helps out another girl, Hulda, by switching plane tickets because Hulda does not love the boy she is going to see in Oklahoma. When Lydia gets to Oklahoma she is greeted by an entire family awaiting the arrival of Icelandic foreign exchange student, Hulda. Lydia isn’t sure she can keep up her charade but she loves this family and as it turns out, the boy Hulda left behind. She finds her place by running from her problems, which is often not a solution.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Foreman – This story is about a big city girl trying to find her place in a small, midwestern college. Sophie feels lost until, while attending a Christmas concert, she meets Russell. He takes her to go get pie and she finds a way to celebrate Hanukkah after all. It’s adorable and Gayle Foreman is an amazing author.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – My goodness, this story is adorable. Everyday for almost a month, Marigold has been going over to the tree farm across the street. But, she hasn’t been going for the normal reason a person would visit a tree farm, she’s is going for the boy who works there, or more specifically, his voice. As an aspiring  animator, Marigold wants to make the perfect film for her mother and she wants North’s voice in it. But being as shy as she is, she has to jump through quite a few hoops to get to it.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell – There is a reason I saved this one for last, and that is because it is my absolute favorite. This came as a surprise to me because it is no secret that I was not a fan of Eleanor and Park, like not even a little bit. This one is different, Midnights is about two unlikely friends and all the new year’s eves that they have spent together as friends. The characters were brilliant. I loved Noel so much, he is such a giant nerd but at the same time kind of cool and confident. This story also addresses the kind of awkwardness that happens when everyone comes back from college  for break and don’t really know how to feel about it, it’s nice. I think this short story converted me and now I need to read her other stuff, she converted me in 22 pages. That is talent.

It’s super hard to write little bits about short stories because short stories are little bits, but I did my best. I will honestly give this book five stars because I still feel the Christmas Spirit and there was not a single story I did not like.

The Young World by Chris Weitz

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The Young World is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel about a world run by teens. In this version of the apocalypse, science has invented a disease that kills off everyone who doesn’t have some certain kind of hormone leaving only teenagers to rule the world. As you can imagine, a world run by teenagers is chaotic and terrible. These kids separate into groups and stick together, all trying to secure land and resources, much like The Walking Dead sans zombies. This story really kicks off when Jefferson takes over the leadership role of the Washington Square tribe after his brother, Wash, bits it. With Jefferson as the leader, Donna, BrainBox, and a few others head out on an adventure to discover more about the disease that has consumed the world as we know it and attempt to cure it. On the road to save the world, our heroes encounter many difficulties and obstacles, but that’s what makes the story.

The characters in this book were decent. I wasn’t in love with any of them, and I definitely wasn’t in love with the romance element of this story. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, when your main concern is saving the world there is very little room for a petty teenage love story. But that might just be my opinion. This was a good book despite that though. I really liked a lot of the adventures these kids have, and I like that the readers get a little bit of a back story on most of the characters. You get to know a lot about Donna and her little brother Charlie, because she’s one of the narrators. Jefferson is another narrator but a lot of what you learn about Jefferson comes from Donna because Jeff is too busy trying to worry about everyone else to really talk about himself. But I really liked that Jefferson loved walking through The Met and even brings his tribe there for refuge. I guess I just thought it was really cool that elements of their old lives come into play in this post-apocalyptic world.

Three stars.

 

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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Far From The Madding Crowd is mainly about Farmer Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene. Throughout the story they deal with many problems that I imagine where just a part of everyday life in the 1870’s and some predicaments that the townspeople didn’t encounter as often. Although it was written over a hundred years ago, it isn’t a book that isolates newer readers. I enjoyed Hardy’s realistic characters and understandable scenarios, even though I personally could not relate to Bathsheba and the other’s struggles, I understood and sympathized with them. This book is about love and life and I would say fate definitely has a part in this story.

I really enjoyed this book, like I said earlier, Hardy does a really good job of making this book timeless and enjoyable for younger generations. It reminded me (kind of) of The Little House on the Prairie  books that I liked when I was younger. It had that same kind of feeling to it, the feeling that you’re there on the old-fashioned farmlands with them even when, in my case, you’re a nineteen year old member of generation Z who will do anything in your power to avoid farms for the rest of your life. But that might just be me.

The characters in this book were awesome. I love Bathsheba, she literally does whatever she wants. She runs her deceased uncle’s farm as a woman in the 1800’s. Also, even though she is powerful and confident and maybe a little bitchy, she still falls in love and makes mistakes and has feelings. That’s important because often when you get a strong female she is too good for feelings, and when you take away what makes her relatable you take a lot of the depth out of the character. It was very cool to see this amazing female character written so long ago. Farmer Oak was an awesome character as well, although he doesn’t seem as real or relatable because he is almost too kind and patient. The supporting characters are all very interesting as well.

I would definitely recommend this one. It took a long time to get into, but it was worth it. A very pleasant read but I wouldn’t call it a page turner. Solid four stars.