Author: John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
Release Date: October 2nd, 2008
Page Count: 352
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]
So this is one of those books with three short stories that are somehow all apart of one larger story - with characters that have what to do with each other to boot. So kind of like Love Actually or Valentine's Day but in YA book form. And a little more structured. Basically: Everything I love.
Oh, and did I mention the catalyst for this whole book is a crazy snow storm? Yeah. Seriously. Everything. I. Love.
Let's break this down:
I'd say my favorite story is the first one - which is great, because it's the opener, and every book needs a good opener. Anyway, in the firs story (by Maureen Johnson), Jubilee is headed south to spend Christmas with her grandparents because her parents end up in jail (a silly misunderstanding, of course). But then there's this giant snow storm and the train gets stuck. So, instead of sitting on the train and waiting for the snow to clear, Jubilee hops off the train and makes her way across the highway to the Waffle House. She doesn't stay there EITHER, instead choosing to follow a strange boy home. Which is pretty crazy, but she does it what ensues is so amazing that I want the whole book to just be able Jubilee and Stuart. It's not, of course, but they do show up again...
The second story (by John Green) is about three friends (Tobin, the Duke and JP) who are trying VERY HARD to get to the Waffle House through all of this snow to meet up with a group of cheerleaders - all named Amber - that followed Jubilee off the train and to the Waffle House. There's a lot of racing, snow-storm fighting and struggle-bussing along that way that is ABSOLUTELY hilarious, but the best is when they finally get to the Waffle House. This is when Tobin and the Duke have to deal with whatever's between them. And, because John Green has yet to let me down, the pair of them deal with what's between them in the most believable, amazing, teenage-best-friend way. It's so natural and perfect that I ALSO want more of their story, but alas...
The final story in this book (by Lauren Myracle) is my least favorite but STILL REALLY GOOD. Addie is SUPER self-involved in general, but after a bizarre breakup with her boyfriend (WHO JUST DOESN'T LIKE PDA), Addie really falls off the deep end. She really can't think of anything but her suffering. So when her friend asks her to run an errand for her (y'know, casually picking up her new pet pig for her the day after the giant snowstorm), Addie somehow messes it up - just like her friends predicted she would. Of course, Addie shows true character when she puts her mess aside and fixes what she broke. And then the rest (AKA the boy troubles)? Well, the rest works itself out at the end too.
So that's three complicated, believable relationships that are prompted and moved along by a series of unbelievable circumstances. Which I guess speaks to the whole Christmas theme. I mean, who doesn't love a Christmas Miracle or twelve? I'm JEWISH and I love it. I especially love that last scene in the last story where everything just comes together and you're like ASKJFLPUGH THE CUTENESS. Because, really, aside for miracles and insane circumstances, the best thing about Christmas (books or otherwise) is THE CUTENESS.
Also, guys, there's a piglet in this book. A PIGLET.
The long and short of it?
Plot: The perfect pile of fluffy snow (plot?) everyone wants to play in.
World Building: Everything that happens in this book is so improbably - starting from the second Jubilee steps off that train (WHAT IF IT LEFT WITHOUT YOU AND YOU WERE STRANDED?!) - and yet, it all just kind of works.
Character Development: Each of these authors really knows how to use 100 or so pages to make a pair/set of characters jump right off the page and into my life in the best way possible.
Prose: Three different styles of awesomeness.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This is a really fun, contemporary romp through the snow. Perfect for winter, but also really amazing in the middle of the summer - AKA when I first read it. Obviously, if you're a seasonal person, DON'T read this book when it's 85 degrees out, but I would say it's perfect for a winter Saturday filled with hot chocolate, blankets and cuddles.
So tell me: When did YOU pick up this book? Christmastime? After Christmas when you're all "I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR"? How about in the middle of the summer when you start counting down to your favorite winter holiday? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!