My New Crush Gave to Me is the story of seventeen-year-old Charlie Donovan, a go-getter of the highest order. The biggest party of the year is coming up, and she needs a date pronto. But of course, she cannot just take any old guy. She must have the perfect guy. Who doesn't really care that she is alive... Cue farcical Christmas themed plot having to do with biggest Secret Santas and the new crushes annoying cousin. Surely the perfect gift will make him love her.
I found Charlie's controlling and obsessive nature unbearable. I should have related to it. I am a teacher, and like almost all teachers I am a control freak. Alas, I could not. It just felt as if her rigidity was more about controlling others rather than maintaining the order of all the minutia in her life as a coping mechanism.
I love that her best friend is Jewish and that her love interest is Latinx, but I do wish that the diversity felt more than skin deep. His name could change to Smith, and no one would notice. And Her friend Morgan: I'm not asking for her to jump around yelling, "Look at me I am Jewish!" or that everything about her has to lead back to her Jewishness, but I do demand that she be more than a bland character. Morgan seems to be in the book as a yesman and for Charlie to have the ultimate teen couple to look up to and envy. Come on; you can do better.
I like that the title makes sense because one of the major plot points of the story involves Secret Santas. In fact, the most significant theme of the book revolves around love revealing itself when someone knows what to get the other as a gift. That and certain people *cough Charlie *cough
All that being said there is a whole lot of cuteness in this book. It is Christmas activity packed from the first page until the las and I loved that about it. It reminds me of that scene in Elf, "I planned out our whole day: First, we'll make snow angels for two hours, and then we'll go ice skating, and then we'll eat a whole roll of Toll-House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we'll snuggle." I think that My New Crush Gave to Me is what would happen if you turned that plan into a YA novel. Peppermint extract in hot chocolate, tree decorating, cooking baking, and every other Christmasy thing that you could think of. I am here for it.
I have asked this question before, but since I called it again, I have to ask. Was this book REALLY predictable or have I just read so many books that I notice even the smallest of clues? In this case? Pretty sure it was the book's predictability and not me. Maybe I am being too hard on this book. I mean it is a cute and fluffy Christmas themed teen romance. Should I expect it to be more than that? I guess I will just have to bask in its Christmassyness and ignore the actual plot and characters.
Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.
But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.
Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?