I love Stephanie Perkins. Seriously, in my eyes she can do no wrong. In fact (spoiler alert), one of you may be getting a book by her for Christmas this year. Ahem. When I first read that she was editing a collection of romantic holiday-themed short stories, I was thrilled. And then I read the author list and pretty much camped out at the bookstore waiting for it to show up. And you know what? I wasn’t disappointed.
These twelve stories all center around relationships of the romantic nature and the holidays. It’s a simple concept and it’s executed to varying degrees of success. I’m pretty sure there is no Cannonballer who would be surprised to read that Rainbow Rowell knocked it out of the park. Her opening story is one of the best, and one of my favorites. You watch the relationship between Mags and Noel grow over successive New Years Eve’s, coming to a sweetly inevitable conclusion. The short story form is hard to master, but Rowell does it well, leaving you feeling satisfying.
“Angels in the Snow” by Matt de la Pena was another one I really liked. Take two college students, add one giant snow storm, see what happens. It was really well executed, and the characters felt very real to me. I could picture this playing out in New York over a cold few days. Stephanie Perkins’ story, “It’s a Yule-Tide Miracle, Charlie Brown” was also amazing. The story takes place the night before Winter Solstice and Marigold needs the help of the Christmas Tree Lot boy, not only to get a tree into the apartment she and her mother live in, but to help her get out of her small town.
Some of the stories worked a little less well. I’m a big David Leviathan fan, but his story about a boy pretending to be Santa for his boyfriend’s little sister fell flat for me. Ally Carter’s “Star of Bethlehem” didn’t really do it for me, either. It was a far-fetched situation that might lend it self better to a longer story, but in the format required it didn’t quite work, it seemed very rushed.
I think my favorite thing of this collection was the diversity in it. Characters of all races and religious, stories that ranged from pure teen romance to paranormal and fantastical. There really does seem to be something for everyone in the book, which makes it a really good potential Christmas gift. What’s more, it left me feeling happy. This is a feel-good book that makes you want to curl up with tea, cookies, and a blanket. Wonderful for winter, or anytime of year.