On Christmas Eve, the worst snow storm in fifty years falls on the residents of Gracetown, causing chaos to it’s inhabitants. A girls train breaks down on her way to spend Christmas with her grandparents in Florida, cheerleaders have overtaken the local Waffle House, and a boy might just realise that the love of his life has always been standing right in front of him. From some of the best selling YA authors comes a collection of three romantic short stories, which are all expertly interconnected.
After searching for some Christmassy reads, I finally decided on a book that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for a year. I received this book as a Christmas present last year, but felt that it was a bit silly to start reading it after Christmas had finished, so sadly it has been abandoned. That is until now!
I initially wanted to read this book as it included stories by two of my favourite YA authors, Maureen Johnson and John Green. I admit this is the first time that I have read anything by Lauren Myracle, but as she was involved in a collection of stories with John and Maureen I figured she had to be good!
I really enjoyed the first two stories, especially Maureens. I loved Jubilee and thought she was an entertaining and funny character. I loved that the story turned a completely different direction to what I thought it was heading in, and I found the problems with the flobie village hilarious. Stuart was also a really sweet character, and I had secondhand embarrassment for him with his mum trying to get him to date Jubilee. We all have a family member who is constantly asking us why we’re not dating someone and who is always trying to set us up with someone, so I thought this was a great addition to the story. I loved that although it was overall a light and fun read, there was just enough suspense to make it impossible for me to put the book down.
I have been a long term fan of John Green, so I already had high expectations for his story. It was everything you would expect in a John Green novel, a bunch of teenagers going on a quest to do a certain thing where they have problems along the way but end up in a good situation. I wouldn’t say it was original for John, as the storyline was quite similar to Paper Towns, and the characters reminded me of other John Green characters, such as JP being similar to Ben from Paper Towns and Tobin being similar to every other male John Green protagonist. Once you’ve read more than three John Green novels, you start to see a pattern to how similar the characters are, and although I still always enjoy his stories it would be nice to see more diversity in his male protagonists. However I did enjoy the story and loved the light hearted humour. I thought JP’s obsession with the cheerleaders was so over the top that it was funny, as he would go to any lengths to make it to the Waffle House. Tobin and Angie’s relationship was also my favourite out of the three stories, as I always love stories where a friendship turns into something more.
I have to say that I did not enjoy Lauren Myracle’s story as much as the previous two. I started reading this one with no expectations, and ended up disappointed that I did not find it as enjoyable as the previous two stories. Although Addie’s story is all about redemption, I ended up feeling bad for Jeb more than anything else. However the teacup pig subplot was adorable and now I really want a teacup pig! Even though I did love all the characters from the previous stories coming together, I did not enjoy Myracle’s way of writing them. The character voice developed by John and Maureen was lost, and I felt more like I was reading a fan fiction version of these characters rather than it being canon. I also felt that Jeb could have been included more in the book overall, and thought that he was going to be a main character in Myracle’s story, but alas he only showed up right at the end which was a disappointment.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys light YA romance to read around Christmas time in front of the fire. Although it is not the best collection of stories i’ve ever read, I enjoyed them far more than I would usually enjoy contemporary romance stories and they definitely got me into the festive spirit!