This was an enchanting book. I had a hold on it at the library, and my copy was delivered a few days after Christmas. The timing was wrong, but the book was right nonetheless, although it’s not easy to write a review for a collection of short stories, each by a different author.
Fortunately, all the stories were united by the same target audience, YA, and had the same themes: love and Christmas. Each story was a delight to read, and all of them delivered what the collection promised: holiday cheer, naïve joy of first love, a bit of Christmas magic (even if nobody believed in Santa and co.) and sweet but diverse characters. Each story was warm, optimistic, hopeful. Some caused me to smile, others made me a bit sad or combined both emotions, but all found their way into my heart. If I had to use a metaphor, I would say that each story was a gift-wrapped holiday present, tied with a pink silk ribbon.
All except one. The only story where none of the above applied was the story The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, the bestselling author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Her story was harsh, hopeless, almost brutal. No naivety, no charm, no holiday spirit. It stood out from this collection like a black crow among white doves. The story was powerful, beautifully written, but its mood and atmosphere were clearly off from the rest. No ribbons in sight. Don’t get me wrong, crows are smart birds, but they don’t belong with a flock of cooing doves. Neither did this story belong to this collection.
Otherwise, a gracious and amusing read.