Book Review: Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle

Book Review: Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Let it Snow by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Let it Snow
by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Goodreads | Amazon  
Series: no
Published: October 2nd 2008
Rating: Full review of Let it Snow
Times read: 2

It is a clever idea.  Three individual stories by three different authors but all connected to a larger story. In execution, it wasn't so impressive. I didn't connect with any of the stories and all in all it was pretty forgettable.

I feel like there had to be a cheerleader who personally hurt all three of these authors at some point.  Why do they hate them so much? They are kind of easy targets, and I thought less of book and the authors because they targeted them.

The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

By far the most satisfying romance. The story wasn't as funny as it should have been but it had the strongest characterization by far of the three stories. Of the three couples in this book, Stuart and Jubilee were the ones that I was pulling for the most.  Stuart and Jubilee had the kind of wacky courtship that just screams for a 1940's screwball comedy style and witty dialogue.  Think about it: Jubilee's boyfriend was constantly trying to duck her calls, Stuart's mother's unsubtle matchmaking, and parents jailed over Christmas models. How many is that?  To really make it memorable the story needed just that little bit more. 

We just did an awesome job of not dying!

A Cheertastic Miracle by John Green

This was my favorite of the three stories.  John Green has a way of making small moments see momentous and finding hilarity in the everyday. I loved the idea of sacrificing the happy middle so that you don't risk an unhappy ending and how maybe sometimes the risk is worth it. The story also showed a large amount of affection for the Waffle House, hashbrowns, and cheese which is something that you just don't see enough in literature. Unfortunately, I was far more interested in the dialogue and interactions between characters than the actual plot or really the romance.  I can't even remember how it ends. I would however like a followup on Tobin's friend JP because he is awesome. 

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

This was supposed to be a fluffy farcical romp.  It kind of fizzled and was easily my least favorite of the three stories. Jeb deserved better.  Maybe it was the fact that Jeb appears in the other two stories and so I was inclined to be on his side, but I found Addie nearly unbearable.  Maybe it is the fact that I am almost unable to forgive vapidity in my characters.  I know that she is deliberately shallow and self-absorbed so that her transformation is more dramatic but, frankly, she never earns it.  She never earned Jeb. I don't understand him having been with her for a year. I don't know why he wants her back.  He should have found a girl who isn't horrible and runs off into the sunset with her leaving Addie alone in her selfishness. SHE IS THE WORST.  Seriously, why does she have friends? 

Fluffy, cute enough, but utterly forgettable.  There are better holiday collections.

From Goodreads:

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.

Book review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Book review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Best Christmas Pageant Ever cover

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: The Herdman’s #1
Release date: January 1, 1972
Rating: Full review of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I don’t remember the first time that I read this book.  It is highly likely that my mother read it to me before I would have been able to read it to myself.  We had a cassette tape (I swear to God I am old.  In my defense the cassette and the player were both older than me) of it in with the Christmas music that was brought out every year with the decorations.  The story describes the circumstances through which the family of “bad” kids somehow stars in a church Christmas pageant.   This book was written in 1972 but I think it is more realistic to see it as set it in the late 1950’s.  It also in a very Midwest small town.  None of the characters are physically described at all expect for the Herdmens having “stringy hair” and “black and blue” places. 

One thing that I found particularly interesting was that fact that the narrator has no name. Or much of an identity at all.  She (and it is only implicitly stated that she is a girl because she gets a break when the boys sing) calls herself a “sort of medium kid”.  I wonder if this was a deliberate choice?  If it was I certainly found it effective because it is almost a way of introducing a 3rd person narration with a child’s perspective. 

I kind of love the Herdmans.  Imogene especially. I love how fierce and protective she gets about the baby Jesus.   They seem to be the only interesting people in a town that is probably painfully boring. I love how bad that they are.  Well, bad to the level that little kids can understand. Reading this again, I had so much sympathy for the teacher whose class Ollie accidentally on purpose sets an attack cat lose in.

The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.

This book is funny but it is the kind of funny that is almost an in joke.  You have to be familiar with the kind of town and upbringing being described or much of it will go over your head and the book will be much less enjoyable.  It reminds me of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books in that way.  But there are also parts that are just laugh out loud hilarious.  The entirely of the dress rehearsal in particular.  Just thinking about it is making me snicker.

There is religion in this book.  It is a church Christmas pageant after all. But I feel as if the religion in the book is actually pretty authentic.  The narrator has some fairly interesting revelations about the difference between what she has always imagined as the Christmas Story and what it was actually more probably like.  She also reaffirms parts of her faith that she has taken for granted.   I wouldn’t read this in the classroom but I would read it with children growing up in Christian or secular households.  The religion aspect isn’t hardline or judgmental but in the books world there are no people of other faiths.  Inclusive, this book is not.

I reread this book every year.  I enjoy the writing, I like the sense of humor, and it gets me in the mood for Christmas every time.

From Goodreads:

The Herdman kids lie, and steal, and smoke cigars (even the girls). They also talk dirty, cuss their teachers, and take the name of the Lord in vain. The last place anyone expects to see them is in a church. 

So no one is prepared when the Herdmans storm Sunday school and take over the annual Christmas pageant. Before anyone can stop them, they're plotting revenge on Herod, frightening the angels, and burping the baby Jesus. They've got the whole town up in arms. 

How the Herdmans turn a series of disasters into what everyone agrees is the best Christmas pageant ever, is a hilarious, touching, and unforgettable tale from a beloved storyteller.

What are your favorite holiday books?

Book Review: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

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The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily (Dash & Lily #2) by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan cover

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Goodreads | Amazon  | Audible
Series: Dash and Lily  #2
Release date: October 18th 2016
Rating: Second book slump
Times read: 1

A sequel to Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares! First of all this book was SUPER sweet. Almost, dare I say it, too sweet.  It is like the different between a cupcake and a cup of sugar.  One is sweet but has nuance and the other is just sweet.  This book ends up on the cup of sugar side of things

There were some very funny parts to this book. What I think held it back was the fact that there isn’t really a new adventure.  It is a rehash of the old adventure.  It is possible that the head cannon that I had for what happens after the end of the first book is too strong and now anything that isn’t that head cannon displeases me. This is a legitimate thing to have happen to you.

Lily needed to grow in this book.  Unfortunately, what happened is that her character was changed fundamentally from the first book and then she spends the whole book becoming the girl she had been.  I get that she has had a difficult year and has been depressed but her POV is very negative.  I would have liked her development to be more authentic feeling. Also, communicate godammit.  Come on Lily, you never shut up.  How is it possible that you aren’t telling people how you feel?  

Sometimes you make plans. Sometimes plans make themselves.

I found Lily’s rigidity interesting.  She is a bundle of contradictions.  She is a free-spirited sprite but she also cannot handle change.  At all.  To the point where I wanted her parents to get her some counseling because it was unhealthy.  I do think that she was able to become more flexible by the end of the story.  

I far preferred Dash in this book.  I like me some crabby teenage boy who really love books.  I wish there had been more closure with his parents.  But I like how into her family and especially her Great Aunt he becomes.  His real family has let him down and now he is choosing his own family.  It bodes well for their future.

I wish Dash and Lily had been together more.  They are hardly together in the first book and again in the second book they are hardly together. Come on!  Give me what I want!  They have been dating for a year it isn’t as they shouldn’t be spending time together.  Stop with the separate adventuring!

There is a pretty heavy undertone to this book.  Which would be fine.  However, the funny parts of this book are pretty farcical so the tones don’t really match.  Like, I don’t know, pumpkin spice on a pork chop.  You can do it but holy crap do you ever have to know what you are doing. 

The writing here is still strong.  Levithan in particular has a wonderful way with words.  It just didn’t seem as fresh. I guess that I am just missing the whimsy and warmth of the first book. So, while not my favorite still a good book to get you in the spirit (if you have read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares because reading a sequel first is soul destroying).

From Goodreads:

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.