‘My true love gave to me’ came out 2014 and was a great subject at Bookstagram through december. Actually the theme is ‘Winter Romances’, but it’s obvious most authors interpreted it as ‘Romantic Christmas novellas’. (Photo: Peter Henrichsen)

by Peter


‘My True Love Gave to Me – Twelve Winter Romances’


Holly Black
Ally Carter
Matt de la Peña
Gayle Forman
Jenny Han
David Levithan
Kelly Link
Myra McEntire
Stephanie Perkins
Rainbow Rowell
Lainy Taylor
Kiersten White



Reading Level:



October 14th 2014

Publisher, this copy:


Feelings Thermometer:

Twelve different authors wrote twelve totally different novellas. That’s also why I have rated each and every story (so look more at the story’s rating than the overall rating for the book).

It was a bit easier to rate John Green, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson’s ‘Let it Snow’. The novellas were companion novels and there were only three, so you had a fair chance to feel if you liked them – the characters and the town – or disliked them, and with them the entire book.

With ‘My true love gave to me’ it’s more tricky. Even when you’ve finished it, it’s hard to decide, whether you should cherish it or feel disappointed, because one thing’s for certain: you won’t like all stories.

The book was a great reading experience in literary ways, though. You may get to know new authors, and you’ll definitely get to know different writing styles and different ways to look at life and romance.

I must admit I liked the deeper stories better. Instalove’s too easy. To me, it was far more romantic, when the couples really wanted to get to know each other psychologically, to understand each other so that they could support each other, not expecting a kiss or something more in return.

At first I thought it was impossible to really get to know our protagonists and their boy- or girlfriend in that way in such short stories. I thought that sharing your inner feelings and moods would take at least a whole novel, maybe even a series. But especially Matt de la Peña , Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman and Myra McEntire proved me wrong in wonderful ways.

Now it’s your turn to take the journey into twelve teenagers different lifes at winter. Tell us which stories you liked and disliked and even more important why, in a comment below. We always answer 🙂

Happy Reading!

Best wishes Peter

‘Midnights’ by Rainbow Rowell

(3 out of 5 stars)

Mags and Noel meet to the annual private new year party at their friends house. Mags seem to have a crush on Noel, and every year we follow how her possibilities develop.

Their feelings are described pretty good, and you really can relate to Mags. A sweet story.

‘The Lady and the Fox’ by Kelly Link

(1 out of 5 stars)

Miranda is the goddaughter of Elspeth and stays with Elspeth’s family – The Honeywells – at Christmas, because her own mom is in a Thai prison for life. Miranda grows up with Elspeth’s son, Daniel and meets the mysterious Fenny at Christmas Day.

The story felt very confusing. It was hard to relate to Miranda, and I couldn’t feel anything for her. The story also jumps between Christmases where Miranda is 11, 14, 13, 12 and 15, the I didn’t know what age Miranda was. I guess you should be intrigued to find out something about Fenny and the Honeywells and her mom, but I just got annoyed.

‘Angels in the Snow’ by Matt de la Peña

(5 out of 5 stars)

Shy, a Mexican college student is cat sitting over the Christmas holiday in his manager at the campus bookstore, Mike’s, Brooklyn apartment, when a blizzard punches New York City. Shy hasn’t got money for the plane ticket home. Actually he hasn’t got money for food either. But then one of Mikes neighbors – a very attractive sandy-blond girl named Haley – shows up to get help for her frozen pipes.

The first really exciting and great story in this book. It’s both fun and relatable that Shy also is shy and embarrassed that he hasn’t got money for food. Also it’s very thrilling how Haley’s gonna act each day, because she’s the one who controls how the relationship develops. Very winter cool and romantic.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me’ by Jenny Han

(4 out of 5 stars)

We’re located at the elves workshops at the North Pole. Our protagonist is Natty, the South Korean girl who was left for Santa fifteen years ago at his sleigh ride Christmas night in Asia. Santa decided to adopt Natty, but now fifteen years later, she feels like the ugly duckling being a normal girl between all the eleves. And especially now where all the elves have paired off for the great Snow Ball, and Natty’s attracted to Flynn, but Flynn seems to have an interest in Elinor.

This story was unique and I really liked it. Great location, great setup with Santa’s adopted girl, who’s having an identity crises among the elves. Such a cute and christmassy story.

‘It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown’ by Stephanie Perkins

(5 out of 5 stars)

Marigold Moon Ling hangs out every day at the local Christmas tree sales place. She’s madly in love – not in one of the cool sales guys, but in one of the cool sales guys’ voice. She can hear him speak over and over. She always slips away unnoticed, but this day they guy remembers her peculiar braid around her head and speaks to her! There’s no escape for Marigold this time.

A really interesting story, where we get to know both Marigold and the guy, North’s, life and feelings. I liked the mood swings in Marigold’s and North’s dialogues. It’s very realistic and made it easy to relate to both protagonists.

‘Your Temporary Santa’ by David Levithan

(3 out of 5 stars)

Our protagonist promises – against his will – to play Santa for his boyfriends six year old little sister, Riley.

It’s a story constructed to make us laugh, but it gets a bit too much, like someone who won’t stop telling jokes. The Riley part is sweet, but Levithan also has a hard time topping it all off with a moral as important and meaningful as he apparently would have liked it to be.

‘Krampuslauf’ by Holly Black

(5 out of 5 stars)

Hanna, Penny and Wren has traveled for Fairmont’s Krampuslauf, a parade for Saint Nicholas buddy, the Krampus, who in German-speaking folklore punishes the bad children. Speaking of punish, Hanna and Wren want Penny’s boyfriend Roth to suffer, because they all know Roth has another girl at the snobbish Mosley Academy. Roth doesn’t know they have arrived, so now they wanna suprise him with Penny in front of his Academy girlfriend Silke.

This story was the best read so far. Our protagonist Hanna tells the story in such an exciting way, so I actually hurried through the pages to get more. Also, this is the first story in the book that acts like a novel and not like a novella. The other writers kind of spare you for a lot of background information, because ‘we all know that the story is over soon’, but Holly Black doesn’t hold back like that, she tells and tells, like we’re going to be together for several hundred pages, and that’s a great relief. It really made me wanna get to know these three girls, and I felt really sad, when I had to leave them. That’s what a story should always be like – short or long, and I wanted to read a lot more of Holly Black, whom I doesn’t know very well.

‘What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?’ by Gayle Forman

(4 out of 5 stars)

Sophie has been fifteen weeks at the University of nowhereville. She was very satisfied with the scholarship when she accepted, but she never felt comfortable at the school. Her new classmates doesn’t understand her Brooklyn irony and they tell her “You’re so big city”, while Sophie thinks they all act like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. But when she attends the schools boring Christmas Carol choir, just because the plane tickets are to expensive and she needs to kill time, she meets a different guy, a black guy named Russel. And Russel understands Sophies irony.

A very sweet but really realistic story about daring to open up and look at your own ways to protect yourself socially.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus’ by Myra McEntire

(4 out of 5 stars)

Because of a prank vaughn hatcher set the local churchs barn on fire by mistake. He’s lucky and gets away with forty hours of community service reparing the damages in the church, but he also has to let his Christmas vacation to Miami go. But then sees the pastors daughter Gracie Robinson.

A very sweet and funny story about how we have a hard time breaking out of our roles, even when someone sees us for all the things we are.

‘Welcome to Christmas, CA’ by Kiersten White

(3 out of 5 stars)

In the little town Christmas, Maria works as a waitress in her mothers diner. The food’s just so so, and the customers are only regulars from the local mine who order the same, day after day. Maria doesn’t get paid, because her mom and her mom’s boyfriend are broke. But she can keep the tips, which isn’t much when they’re split between the other waitress and the cook. The only thing Maria dreams of, is getting the hell out of Christmas as soon as her saved tips will let her. But then the old cook dies, and a new young cook shows up.

Really well written and unique story. The major problem was just that I had a big problem with the surprise in the end, because Maria had been so miserable for so many years.

‘Star of Bethlehem’ by Ally Carter

(1 out of 5 stars)

Our protagonist, Lydia, watch a desperate Icelandic girl, Hulda, at Chicago O’Hare. Hulda wants to change her ticket for NY, because she’s more in love with guy she knows there, than the guy she actually dates in her first destination. Her ticket isn’t refundable nor changeable, but our protagonist switch ticket with Hulda in the last second, not knowing where she’ll be headed. Arriving at Oklahoma, she meets her new boyfriend, whom she has never seen before.

A bit weird story with a lot of facts that doesn’t compute. E.g. Why would out protagonist not know where she is, even after she’s landed in the airport? The state must have shown several times at the gate signs and several times in the speaker in the plane. Also, stories with girls changing identity are so many, that they aren’t fun anymore.

‘The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor

(5 out of 5 stars)

The young orphant Neve Ellaquin lives in an earlier century at the Isle of feathers, where she hasn’t got a chance to escape because the ticket to a ship costs more than her life is worth. Every year at Christmas, the tradition says that the boys propose to the girls by giving them 24 gifts, one each day. Neve hasn’t got a sweatheart and she has just lost her two best friends, the twins Ivan and Jathry, to the fever. But then someone proposes to her anyway: The old reverend Spears who has already married several young girls on the islands, but also put them all to the grave.

A really interesting story with a whole different and beautiful writing styles compared to all the other novellas in the book. It’s almost like a fairy tale. A wonderful last story.