Plot: 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.
The Jubilee Express (Maureen Johnson)
The Jubilee Express is the only book in this compilation of short stories I would have invested in if it was a full length novel. I quite enjoyed it, though it isn’t without its’ share of ridiculousness. The craziest thing that went down is the reason of her parents’ imprisonment. I also laughed out loud that she would stay with complete strangers in an unknown town – was this a Christmas story or a horror one? Could have gone either way. It seemed that Jubilee only got hold of her character halfway through the book – that is when her observations became very funny. I always like when books address what teenagers should really be aware of – things that even when a boy is completely perfect, he might not be perfect for you. Jubilee realized that when her perfect boyfriend ended up being too perfect for her, and she acted quickly and decisively. The book ended a bit bluntly, but with a limitation of a hundred or so pages it wasn’t that surprising to me.
A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle (John Green)
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book when it started out. I think it might have been because I would have been okay with the story carrying on a bit more, that was a nice read. I also think John Green writes deliberately strange at times. I enjoy most of his work, so it would seem safe to say his method works as often as it doesn’t. The big thing I didn’t enjoy about this is that it has three main characters. With a hundred pages you can’t have three personalities to fit in. Also – this series is obsessed with cheerleaders. Everyone and their icy popsicle has something to say about the group of cheerleaders that end up stuck in the Waffle House during a snow storm. Is this insecurity a large thing amongst teens in the States? I’m so glad we don’t have cheerleaders here. Anyway, the short recovered about halfway through and got moving. I liked everything The Duke was (although I hated that she was constantly referred to as “The Duke”). She was a girl who was laughing, eating and speaking her own mind and she won her guy in the end. It managed to address a bit what girls with confidence to just be themselves still face – I mean how dare we not giggle and fawn over men, and expect them to be onboard with our wants, needs and personalities? I can definitely say that this short rose in my estimation the more I read, but I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed a full length novel.
Patron Saint of the Pigs
The final short in this combined universe was a lot of fun, although I had such issues with the main character. Addie was just an awful, spoiled, pretty white girl who got upset when her truly amazing boyfriend had a personality that wouldn’t make him fawn over her. I really didn’t like her that much, and it increased as the book progressed. I did like her relationship with her friends though – they had great interactions with each other and it seemed like natural bantering. I would have liked to have Jeb in the story a bit more – he’s a ghost figure throughout and I felt I missed him without even knowing him.
Patron Saint of the Pig had moments in that was so funny. The pink hair was a constant topic, the bantering between friends, Jubilee’s name just continuing to create confusion where she went and the complete chaos of the last few pages.
I couldn’t help but notice that throughout all three shorts Starbucks and The Waffle House was mentioned. ALL THE TIME. We need to see how much these guys paid for their endorsement, because it must have been significant.
I liked the end of the book, I just wasn’t sure if Addie deserved to get happiness again. I get that she made the decision to change, but I can’t help but wonder how many times she would have abused Jeb’s feelings in the future.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
I read this story completely non-seasonal (it plays off during Christmas and we are sadly still ages from that) – but it was a really nice read. Light hearted and fun, it is really well written. The stories are all linked somehow but not in a way where you feel that it is forced or unbelievable. It’s a definite feel good book, and reads easily, so if you in the mood for a good book where no one dies and everyone ends up happy, take a read!