Last Christmas, I finished reading My True Love Gave to Me and recently finished Summer Days and Summer Nights. These two books are edited by Stephanie Perkins, each containing 12 romantic short stories written by 12 young adult writers. The two set of stories were inspired by Christmas and Summer themes. I compared the two books and tried to find out which is better between them.
I read both of the books on Christmas and Summer respectively, so I think I am fair enough when I judged the overall feel of the stories. The only factor that could negatively affect my observation is the fact that I read MTLGTM in paperback while the other is in ebook. Nonetheless I tried to focus on the form and content of stories rather than the impact it gave to me (where ebook could have an effect).
I like MTLGTM better when it comes to authors. I know most of the writers in the cover which added to my excitement to read the book before I had it. On the other side, it set my expectation about the plots and style of writing. But after reading, I guess I was not disappointed at all because the popular writers had the best stories in the book. Meanwhile, less known authors were found in SDASN but the expectation was still there because popular writers are also included such as Veronica Roth. After reading, I surprisingly found out that some of the less known writers also gave a wonderful story.
Considering the predictability of events, I think that SDASN is less predictable than the other. In MTLGM, I always had the thought that the two main characters will have a happy ending after facing the adventure that Christmas season may bring. Contrary to SDASN, I was not sure whether the summer love would be a happy or sad in the end. Characters were less predictable with the personality they portray. Somehow I find most of them as not a typical teenage lover.
I regards to theme (aside from teenage romance), more LGBT related relationship are told in SDASN than in MTLGM. In the summer book the homogeneous relationship between male to male and female to female are swept upon. But although it discussed more about this (I guess there were3-4 stories), I liked MTLGM better when it comes to portrayal and discussion of it. I was more moved by Levithan’s story than those found in SDASN. Maybe it’s because a more positive and happy relationships are found in the summer book, and a sad ending was found in MTLGTM. Another theme that was touched upon is sci-fi. SDASN’s discussion was more interesting contrary to the few that were found in MTLGTM.
I observed more diversity in SDASN in relation to style of writing. I found stories in MTLGTM more chronological and linear, while on the other book more 21st century styles were incorporated. There were stories that the character is actually the narrator of the story and some plots were abruptly ended. I was able to follow the events better at MTLGTM.
On general feel of the theme, MTLGTM is more effective in bringing the Christmas love to their readers. In the other book the summer theme was not really maximized based on my observations. Summer was only used to describe the setting, and few have incorporated and portrayed the impact of this season to the feelings of characters. MTLGTM was able to convey the beauty of Christmas and how it could be better with someone you love.
My most favourite story in MTLGTM isd It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. The story was really romantic and I loved how I imagined the warm atmosphere of Christmas in the setting. The bonus part is that their story is continued at SDASN. On the summer book, I like The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman mainly because of its unpredictability. It kept me turning to the pages because I really had no idea about the scenario (the characters were stuck in August 4th); I looked forward to the revelation. I also felt the romance even though the characters are less expressive with their gestures to each other.
About the less interesting stories, What the Hell Have you Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman from MTLGTM didn’t make an impact to me. I felt that I wasn’t able to fully understand what the author is trying to convey to the readers. On the other book, The Last Stand at Cinegore by Libba Bray was not really written effectively especially when it comes to plot. I did not felt the romance and when I reached the ending I was just surprised that the story was actually done.
For young adults, either they are in love or still searching for love, I recommend the two books for reading. I still find them both beautifully woven (thanks to Stephanie Perkins), and I am certain that as a reader one will get the goal of feeling the love in the air. But between the two, I think it was MTLGTM which is more romantic — the one which was able to convey the message more effectively.