Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy! Receiving a copy did not affect my views.
Like most anthologies, some stories in here were gems and some were hmm-okay and I thought one was why-is-this-even-included. In general, I enjoyed reading this anthology as evidenced by the four stars I'm giving it. However, I was also close to giving it only three stars but I just love some of the stories so much (I squealed, I cried, I smiled that crazy smile, etc.) that it elevated my reading experience and general feelings about the whole anthology up a notch. In the spirit of pinpointing what I loved about this Christmas short story collection, I shall review each story. Here goes!
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (4/5): Confession: This is my first time to read Rainbow Rowell's work. No kidding. Yeah, I started Fangirl but I'm not yet done with it (third person POVs aren't exactly my best friends except for Jennifer E. Smith's) so this story freaked me out. What if I don't love Rainbow Rowell? What if??? Good thing I didn't have to wonder about that because good lord was this story so cute! It's a best-friend romance too and just, I don't want to tell the plot because it's a short story! You'll know everything!
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (2/5): I admit, I'm not a huge fantasy reader so when the fantasy element came up, I felt that I wouldn't really enjoy this. I was also honestly shocked that there was a non-contemporary story and I realized that nowhere was this anthology promoted as a contemporary Christmas romance short story collection. #expectationsvsreality However, I wouldn't say "it's not you, it's me" with this short. I didn't connect with any of the characters and once again, I shipped the wrong guy. Which pretty much dulled my whole reading experience. I just wanted it to end. So sorry, Kelly!
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena (4/5): First story in a male's point-of-view and what can I say, I love this! The characters in here are college-aged as well and are away from their family and I can definitely relate to that. Plus points for Shy (yes, that's the guy's name) being Mexican (I think) and being quite poor. I just get his issues about pride (prideful person in here) and how he can't stop being a filial son. I think Matt infused his own knowledge into this character and seriously, I dig it. Plus, Shy and Haley were so cute. Haley, especially. Attagirl!
Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han (3/5): Now, I've only read To All The Boys I've Loved Before of all of Jenny Han's books and I loved it. I love it so much I will bake and sacrifice fruitcake cookies for it. It kinda owns my heart. So I tried to lower my expectations with this because expectations kill! So I quite liked this story though it kinda broke my heart too. (Or maybe that was the steak I was eating while reading this short.) Still, diversity in characters! Natalie is Korean and the general premise of the story was unique and ingenious. I wasn't just swept away into it all.
It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins (5/5): Sooo, another confession. Geez, this review seems like a gun full of bullets to fire for all the must-read books I haven't read. I've only read Steph's Lola and the Boy Next Door and I didn't love it. Moreover, I'm still not done with Anna and the French Kiss because I have certain dealbreakers only a few characters have crossed... So I was once again super wary of this but fear not because Stephanie Perkins' contribution to this anthology will make you blush with joy, giddiness and shipping feels. Seriously. I was like "OH CUTIE PIES EEK EEK OKAY GET IT ON THANK YOU EEK EEK". This is still YA of course but hey, kissy-kissy, THANK YOU STEPHANIE PERKINS.
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (3/5): Being in the list of my favorite authors, this is quite a low rating honestly and I feel bad. But then, I guess it was just suddenly a bit gloomy and I didn't feel as much as I usually do with David's books. Still, it features a gay guy couple, half of which is Jewish, and some realistic concerns/feelings about those in relationships.
Krumpuslauf by Holly Black (3/5): Another fantasy so yes, you should understand that I am not too keen on those. But then, I actually pretty liked this, and the subliminal message and theme I thought it might be sending. Cool concept though but things went pretty WHAT at the end with the fantastical element coming up.
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (5/5): I've only read Gayle's IF I STAY and I loved that one and so wow, Gayle Forman is really a rock star. THIS. SHORT. STORY. THAT BANTER. A diverse character and yes to college-aged teens! And yes to college problems and yes to everything about this short. I went "What the hell, why is this only a short story???" with this. I'd love to read more!
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire (4/5): I am weak with prankster guys (e.g. Louis Tomlinson). I just love that brand of mischief and that glint in their eyes that they get when they're plotting something naughty. Soooo, yes, I enjoyed this one! Then we have a pastor's daughter who just kicked the stereotypical walls surrounding her with her quick, witty and forward lines and comebacks. Cute!
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (5/5): Oh gods, this short. It. broke. my. heart. in. the. best. way. I cried. I CRIED. Kiersten White, what have you done? Love the characters, love quirky Ben, love the internal conflicts, the external ones, EVERYTHING. The reveal, the touching moment, the resolution, the ending, EVERYTHING. Just, love. So much love for this.
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter (4/5): Hulda! The voice of the MC is fun and I had fun reading this. The premise was that Hulda and Lydia switched flights and now, Lydia's with Hulda's boyfriend. So quirky, so yes, I enjoyed the heck of it.
The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4/5): Fantasy alert! But geez, Laini Taylor's prose is captivating. It reads like an epic, an oral story passed centuries after centuries. It had that old vibe and that sleepy tone which I don't know how she achieved but yeah, this is the kind of fantasy I can get into. The ending? I had goosebumps. I think it was perfect to end this collection of holiday-themed short stories with this.
So that's it! Be sure to get your copy NOW. It's out now! Get it, get it, get it!