On The Cover: 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.
Why I Chose It: I follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter and have been curious about her writing, so when I saw this little Christmas collection with both her and John Green as writers I jumped at the chance to read it!
This book contains three short stories, one from each author, so I have chosen to comment on each story, and then give a final overall summary at the end!
The Jubilee Express – Maureen Johnson
Right away this story kicks off the book with something perfect: a Christmas village. One of those collectible things with all the little ceramic houses and you can connect them all to become a light up village. This immediately raised my Christmas spirit, as I definitely know multiple people who collect these villages. I like how the village was incorporated into the story and referenced multiple times. This story is a mushy romance from start to finish, and you really have to suspend all disbelief to be able to go along with the story, but aside from that, it’s fun to read and it made me smile. It easily became my favourite story in this book.
Rating: 3 / 5
A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle – John Green
This story starts out as an adventure with three friends fighting their way through a terrible winter storm to get to a Waffle House full of cheerleaders. I found the premise of the story a little ridiculous, as I didn’t find cheerleaders a strong enough reason to go driving on unplowed, icy roads. The obsession with cheerleaders got very old very fast, and I was incredibly dissatisfied with the sexist language and content used from start to finish. The fact that the main character ends up with a girl who is not a cheerleader is not enough to save this story from leaving a bad taste.
Rating: 1 / 5
The Patron Saint of Pigs – Lauren Myracle
In this story Addie is trying to get over a pre-Christmas breakup, calling in the aid of her friends in her time of crisis. This is the only story I would have liked to see in a longer format. The characters come across as whiny and self-absorbed, with Addie in full-crisis mode, and her friends seemingly not caring about the traumatic breakup. I do believe with more room to hash out the characters, Myracle could have told a much stronger story and I would have come to understand the characters’ points of view much better. I was left feeling uncertain about all characters involved, and at the end when Addie was supposed to have some sort of epiphany, I was left feeling kind of ‘meh’ about the whole thing. While the involvement of a teacup pig was definitely cute and I loved the snowball fight memories, this one just didn’t win me over.
Rating: 2 / 5
The Book as a Whole
I do like the way this book creates a complete world. All of the individual stories overlap, and you see the same characters appearing in the different stories. It was neat to get glimpses of the characters from other people’s perspectives and it created a bigger story for each of the characters. I do feel bad for Myracle, as she had one of the hardest jobs by appearing last in the book. Her story had to bring together all of the characters from all stories and create a big finale. It felt more than a little manufactured and didn’t really leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling at the conclusion of the book.
While overall I didn’t find this book had much wow-factor, it was still fun to read, and it got me into the Christmas spirit. This book is ideal for people who are big fans of these authors, and is a cute read around the holiday season.
Overall Rating: 2 / 5
“Debbie had to get up and slice me a thick piece of cake before she could answer. And I do mean thick. Harry Potter volume seven thick. I could have knocked out a burglar with this piece of cake. Once I tasted it, though, it seemed just the right size. Debbie didn’t fool around when it came to the butter and sugar.” (Johnson, The Jubliee Express, OverDrive 2009)
“JP remained upbeat. ‘Yes! This is going to be fine! There’s a reason that God gave me ripped arms and pecs, dude. It’s so that I can dig your car out of the snow. I don’t even need your help. You just chat among yourselves, and let the Hulk work his magic.’ I looked at JP. He weighed perhaps 145 pounds. Squirrels have more impressive musculature. But JP was unfazed. He tied down the earflaps of his hat. He reached into his oh-so-tight snowsuit, pulled out wool gloves, and turned back to the car.” (Green, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, OverDrive 2009)
“We ended up having a snowball fight, boys against girls, and it was awesome. […] We dominated the guys until Jeb cut around behind us and tackled me, using his body to drive mine into our snowball pile. Snow went up my nose, and it hurt like heck, but I was too exhilarated to care. I rolled over, laughing, and his face was right there, inches from mine. That was the image captured in the photo.” (Myracle, The Patron Saint of Pigs, OverDrive 2009)