Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons to stay indoors and fall in love.

3.5 cupcakes

My True Love Gave to Me was, for the most part, as adorable as I had expected. Like most anthologies, though, the stories were quite hit or miss for me: there were some that stood out (namely the ones by Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White) while others were less convincing and would have worked better as novellas or full-length stories. Despite that, the stories all intrigued me enough to add some previously unknown authors’ works to my ever-growing to read list, and reaffirmed my love for some of my favourite authors.

My True Love Gave to Me features characters from all sorts of backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a nice mix of contemporary and magical stories in this collection. While the stories were all quite different, they all captured several important aspects of the holiday season, most notably hope and love.

Overall, My True Love Gave to Me is a cute, quick read that captures the magical feeling that surrounds the holidays. I can certainly see myself rereading my favourites closer to the holiday season, and can’t wait to display this gorgeous cover on my bookshelf.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

“You can’t know what it is like for us now — you will always be one step behind. Be thankful for that.

You can’t know what it was like for us then — you will always be one step ahead. Be thankful for that, too.”

Two Boys Kissing is narrated in a completely unique fashion: instead of shifting perspectives, as I expected, our narrator is a Greek Chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. At first it was slightly disconcerting to have an omnipresent group of narrators, however it certainly wouldn’t have been as poignant and touching of a read without their inclusive “we.” As the Greek Chorus watches over the eight teen characters, two things are made very apparent: the universality of being in love, and just how far society has progressed in terms of accepting homosexuality. Sure, this progress isn’t complete, but considering the marvel that these men have about the fact that two boys kissing in front of the high school is largely received in a positive manner, it isn’t hard to imagine complete acceptance in the near future.

I wasn’t quite as connected to the eight teenage boys that the Chorus was watching over, however I still found myself rooting for them. Two boys are in the early stages of a potential relationship, with one partway through the transition from female to male. There’s a healthy relationship between two of the boys, complete with acceptance from both sets of parents. One boy is only out to strangers he has met on chat sites, and fears that he is alone and unloved. Another was assaulted because of his sexual orientation. And, finally, we have the two boys who are trying to break the world record for the longest kiss. Despite this wide range of circumstances, these boys all had several commonalities: they were struggling with acceptance, love, approval, and coming out – both to their families and themselves. Their stories felt authentic and real, so it was no surprise to find out that they are: both in the people that Levithan drew inspiration from, and many others that struggle with these issues – whether they’re gay or straight, a teenager or an adult.

Overall, Two Boys Kissing is beautifully written, captivating, and thought provoking – all of which I’ve come to expect from David Levithan’s works. More than that, though, it is important, and deserves to be read by absolutely everyone.

Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

ImageEvery day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.


My Rating:  4 cupcakes
If you became someone different every day, could you still maintain a measure of self-identity? What makes us love? Is it possible to unconditionally love someone who looks different every day? Those are just some of the philosophical complexities of love, relationships and identity that Levithan explores in Every Day. It reflects and challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that are present in every day life, and will make you see your friends, family, and the people that you pass on the street in a new light.

Objectively speaking, this novel is beautifully written. A combination of thought-provoking subjects, such as drug addiction, sexuality, abuse and depression, and eloquent prose made for a thoroughly enjoyable read filled with memorable, moving quotes.

I highly recommend Every Day if you’re interested in an engaging read with a unique plot that will make you think and (possibly) change your worldview.