I have been eyeing this book since I heard about it way before its release date, and now that I’ve read it, I’ve come to 2 main conclusions:
1. There’s nothing like a festive themed story to put you in the spirit of whatever it is you’re trying to feel. That didnt make much sense but you know what I mean, reading a bunch of Christmas/New Year cutesy love stories just made me giddy for the season, which I needed because my family’s not big on traditions and Christmas isn’t really magical in my reality so, yeah, kudos for that.
2. I don’t particularily enjoy reading short stories. Now I did enjoy the book and most of the stories in it, as you’ll see with my brief reviews, but what usually makes a book stand out for me is the world building and character development, which, let’s face it, is kind of impossible to achieve in a 20-page story. Either everything happens too fast, or you just want more of it and you can’t. So although I did enjoy my read very much, I’m just not big on short stories in general.
Fun fact, the 12 couples you see on the cover are actually the 12 couples you read about in the book. I had a lot of fun trying to guess who’s who, some are easy but others are a little less obvious. Also, every story has its own little illustration at the beginning so I thought why not give you my thoughts on each while showing you the title page? (I actually updated Goodreads after each story to keep track so I’ll mainly copy/paste my comments here.) You’ll see that I have a lot of favorites! So in order:
22 pages // “Just read Midnight by Rainbow Rowell. I’m not used to reading short stories and that one was so quick to get through! But I loved the structure of it. It takes place on New Year’s eve from 2011 to 2014. It feels weird giving a star rating to a 20-page story but on the top of my head I’d give this one a 4.”
27 pages // “Finished The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link. That one was something like magical realism which isn’t a genre that I’m very used to. Is the man in the jacket supposed to be a ghost? What is the lady who controls him supposed to represent? I hate when I feel like there’s a big metaphor but I don’t get the meaning of it. I would give 2.5 stars. Didn’t dislike it, just didn’t get it.”
33 pages // “Just read Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña and I really loved that one. 5 stars” <– wow, that’s really all I wrote, but it’s the first to get a 5 so I guess it was my first favorite! Loved the main character and loved the premise, and the story has section-titles, which adds something nice.
14 pages // “A short one! I just read Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. That one was a true Christmas story in the sense that it takes place in the North Pole and features Santa Claus, his adoptive human daugther and a bunch of very tall elves. It was very cute, 4 stars.”
33 pages // “I finished the awaited “It’s a Yuletide miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins and I loooved this one! I want a North for myself. I prefer these 30ish-page ones because you get to know the characters a little better and, well, I’m not usually into insta-love and you kinda have to deal with short time-frames with short stories, so it’s good when there’s a little meat around the bone. 5 stars”
15 pages // “I just read Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. I liked it, but I don’t think I understood well. Who is Connor boyfriend replacing in the Santa costume? Seems like a big deal but I don’t think it was mentionned in the story, or maybe I just missed it. I’m guessing a father that left or died or something? Because of that, I felt like the story was incomplete. 3 stars.”
27 pages // “Krampuslauf by Holly Black was a weird one, as you don’t often read about Satan in a “Christmas” story (it takes place around New Year and that weird holiday Krampuslauf that I’m not sure really exists) I somewhat liked it but the characters weren’t that relatable or lovable for me. I’d say 3 stars, I think.”
25 pages // “What the Hell Have you Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman might be my favorite so far. I really enjoyed it. I liked the dialogue in this one. (Kinda sad about the typo I saw at the end, but whatevs) 5 stars!”
27 pages // “Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire was great too! I just don’t really get the title relevance with the story but it was a cute one. 4.5 stars”
33 pages // “Ugh I don’t know which is my favorite anymore, because “Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White was also so so good! It even made me cry twice. 5 stars”
29 pages // “Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter was another very cute story! 4 stars”
29 pages // The last story by Laini Taylor was kind of eerie but still beautiful and poetic. Probably the less “Christmassy” of the bunch though, so I don’t know why they chose to end the book with that one. Still, 3.5? It was another kind of magical realism thing which I know is something most people like.
On a last note, I loved the diversity in this collection of stories. Asian, Mexican, Spanish, African-American, Catholics, Jewish, rich, poor, lgbt; a lot of different ethnicities and religions were represented which made it even more interesting.
If you have read it, comment and tell me which stories were your faves!
Happy Reading 🙂