I absolutely love Christmas!! Whenever it’s around this time of the year I get my Christmas tree out, start playing the holiday music, and switch all of my reading over to holiday stories! This book came out last year but I didn’t see it until about a month ago and picked it up as my first holiday read to get me in the Christmas spirit!! Boy did it work.
So this book is a collection of twelve stories from twelve authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins (who is also the books editor/put-together-er), Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White. I love books like this every once and a while because you can discover new authors or try out ones you were curious about.
These stories were mostly about love but dealt with friendship, family, struggle, and triumph. I loved how different each one was and the variety in characters, not to mention genres! As you can tell, there is quite the mixed bag of authors here and each story is so different and not necessarily without magic 😉 So, because each one is so different, I thought it best to give a quick little review of each! As always, no spoilers!
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
I really loved this one. I have been wanting to read a story by Rainbow Rowell for a while and I haven’t read a contemporary piece in a while so this was a wonderful start to the book! It was cool because it flipped through years a bit but all on the same day, New Years Eve. It was a tale about love and growing up and friendship. I recommend it! It actually takes place on New Years Eve though so it wasn’t a super holiday type book for me personally.
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
This one was very different but quite intriguing. It was my first read by Kelly Link and I loved her imagery throughout. The story surrounds family mostly and the struggles with being less fortunate than those who mean so much to you. I won’t reveal if this one was about magic or not because I thought the suspense surrounding it was part of the fun!
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
Another story about poverty (sort of) and loss. It was good but I found it dragged on a bit long and was one of my least favourite stories in the book. I did like the focus on race differences and overcoming grief, all the while looking at dealing with being away from home for the first time at university.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This was the first real holiday story! Taking place at the North Pole with elves and Santa and everything. I liked the idea of learning how to fit into a place that you love and care for so much. The North Pole setting and the fantastical characters were a fun idea but it was another one of my least favourites just because it again seemed to drag on and the plot wasn’t that great (in my opinion!).
It’s a Yuletide Miracle Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
AHH! I absolutely loved this one. It was festive and adorable and had romance but other struggles too. There were layers to this one and all kinds of neat little details, plus I just absolutely loved the plot Stephanie Perkins wove. I would have loved to read this as a full length or even a novella, especially since it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger!
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
I think fans of LGBTQ books will really love this one! It was quite cute and revolved around family and the struggles with new relationships around Christmas. It focused on a young couple and their families. I didn’t particularly like it only because I find it hard to relate to characters so different from me (I know it’s awful, I miss out on so many good books!). I do recommend reading though!
Krampuslauf by Holly Black
Oh classic Holly Black, and I loved it. It actually takes place during Krampuslauf in November and then into New Years Eve, ironically skipping over Christmas. I liked how it focused on two different characters, one dealing with relationship issues and the other (the actual main character) dealing with money and aspiration-type issues. It had a bit of magic and a bit of romance, I loved the ending and I really enjoyed the overall feel of the story.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Another one of my faves. I really liked the topics that this one dealt with: religion, class, race, and of course love and friendship! She tackled all the big topics and nailed it. It was such a cute little adventure and felt very holiday! This one takes place during Hanukkah and Christmas and Sophie’s first semester at university.
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
I was just meh on this one. I liked the story, thought it was cute and definitely Christmassy, but I just didn’t connect with the characters or the plot. It’s the 20th Anniversary of the town’s nativity play and our young main character/prankster comes into his own. This one does have a little romance, but is mostly about personal growth.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This one was cute, not a favourite but I really enjoyed the characters, the winding plot, and just the overall idea! It takes place in a restaurant (mostly) in a town called Christmas and revolves around the power of food and memories.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I really really loved this one! I actually teared up a little bit towards the end, it was a bit of an emotional read and involves our main character fleeing to anywhere but where she’s expected to be. I loved the location of a small town in Oklahoma (read: house miles away from their neighbour) and the loving characters. In this story you read about grief, friendship, and the meaning of family and love. It wasn’t very holiday-y but it was a really sweet and interesting read.
The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This is why we love Laini Taylor. I am absolutely in love with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and i’m always hoping she’ll come out with another series (I know she has the other series before this one but I want a new one with the same feel as the DoSaB). This story was mystical and dark and interesting! It wasn’t as holiday feeling as I would like, actually aside from the end there’s no real reference to the holidays. I don’t really want to say much about this one in terms of plot though since I think going into it blind is part of the magic!
I hope you all enjoyed this review 🙂
P.S. When you’ve finished the book, check out the characters on the cover, it’s the coolest little detail!