Saturday, December 20, 2014

Short Story Saturday Extended Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?
Author: Gayle Forman
Summary: Sophie has been regretting coming to a rural college pretty much since the moment she arrived, yet when she meets Russell at a Christmas caroling event on the last night of Hanukkah, she starts to see that maybe this place and people are exactly what she needs after all.
Thoughts: I absolutely adored this story in its somber moments, in how it honors the fact that rural colleges can sometimes feel like another planet and that I wasn't the only person who can be overwhelmed by moments when I put my foot in my mouth or think "What the hell am I doing?" The plot is simple, the characters are complex, and I wish I could give this story a hug. Well done!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, Krampuslauf


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: Krampuslauf
Author: Holly Black
Summary: Hating how her town has ruined Krampus the Christmas Demon and how her best friend Penny is obsessed with her boyfriend and his other girlfriend, one teen finds her world a lot darker and a little more magical at their New Year's Eve party.
Thoughts: I had never heard of Krampus before last year, so to read a story that featured him so prominently was fun for me - I knew what she was talking about! This addition to the collection was dark and twisty, so for readers who seek out those kinds of stories, this one's definitely for you.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, Your Temporary Santa


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: Your Temporary Santa
Author: David Levithan
Summary: Connor's boyfriend isn't wild about the idea of dressing up as Santa for the sake of Connor's youngest sister - he's Jewish, after all, and does Connor think he's fat? - but as he dons the red suit on Christmas Eve, it becomes clear that this whole family needs something to believe in.
Thoughts: This is the most realistic of the stories in this anthology so far. Not in that I think a whole lot of Jewish boyfriends are necessarily dressing up as Santa to make six year olds happy, but in that Connor's family's situation is realistic. These people have been rubbed raw, their world shaken, and each one of them is coping in different ways. This story was tender and while it hurt a little, I loved how completely honest it was.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Summary: Marigold doesn't have a crush on brawny Christmas Tree Lot Boy, she just needs his amazing voice for an animated film she's working on. At least, that's what she's telling herself when she buys a tree she can't really afford from him.
Thoughts: I am a puddle of warm, gooey feels after this story! Marigold and North both have circumstances stacked against them, which is why the fact that they find each other is that much sweeter. Their personalities are distinct, their banter is fresh and witty, and their chemistry is electric. If I could draw well, I'd be starting on fanart for this one immediately. I want a full length novel, a movie I can curl up with under an afghan and watch over and over again. Or I can just keep rereading this one (and believe me, I will!).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, Polaris is Where You'll Find Me


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: Polaris is Where You'll Find Me
Author: Jenny Han
Summary: Natty is the only human to have ever been to Santa's North Pole, let alone live there. But this adopted daughter of Santa longs for the one gift her father can't make in his factory: the love of Flynn, the elf.
Thoughts: Oh, Natty. I feel for this girl in a classic tale of liking a guy who does not/might not like her back. I love the adoption angle here, and how Flynn and Natty are friends despite their differences. The ending is open ended (and potentially sad), but I look at it as hopeful. Natty has a choice to make, but in my head, she chooses the path that leaves her and Flynn happy (and together).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, Angels in the Snow


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: Angels in the Snow
Author: Matt de la Pena
Summary: Shy is dirt poor, without food, cat/apartment-sitting for his boss, and alone on Christmas in New York City, missing his family and wanting to drop out of NYU so he can reunite with them and return to his old life in California. Then Hayley knocks on the door.
Thoughts: This is not my first time reading de la Pena's work - he's popped up in quite a few of the short story anthologies I've read in recent years. His style is something I'm growing fond of, a great combination of grit, honesty, and sweetness. The build up in this story was slow and tender, and Shy is perfectly named. This ending, full of hope and the possibility of something, made me smile.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Short Story Saturday Special Edition: My True Love Gave to Me, The Lady and the Fox


Welcome to Short Story Saturday, Special Edition! Normally each week, I talk about a different story from the collection I'm working my way through and offer up some thoughts. However, with it being the holiday season, I'm going to do a mini-review for these 12 days leading up to Christmas! I'm currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.

Story: The Lady and the Fox
Author: Kelly Link
Summary: Miranda has spent every Christmas with the celebrated and eccentric Honeywell family, and each year she longs to see the mysterious ghost-like spirit of Fenny, a man from long ago who can only appear when it's snowing on Christmas Day.
Thoughts: This story took a while for me to get into. Or rather, I was getting into it, then it took a twist and I felt like I had to start over with wrapping my head around it. While the magical elements go largely unexplained, I liked Miranda and seeing her try to figure out herself, her friendship with Danny, her longing for Fenny, and the rules that keep them apart. Not my particular cup of tea, but it was still interesting.