Break in haitus to bring you this seasonal tidbit. This is my first time ever reading a Christmas book intentionally circa Christmas time, and I like it. I am a sucker for all things festive. UNNECESSARY MISTLETOE PHOTO!
Whew, sorry. I’m still a bit sappy from these Three Holiday Romances, which stand on their own as Tales of Teenage Love and Misadventure but come together in the end in a frenzy of Starbuckian good will and teacup piglets.
Preemptive strike: this book is ordered wrongly for maximum effect. It starts with Maureen Johnson’s REALLY VERY GREAT ‘The Jubilee Express’ and ends with Lauren Myracle’s ‘The Patron Saint of Pigs,’ which is amusingly titled, but sort of rubbish. And then you have John Green in the middle there being all middlingly good. Middlingly good, John Green? You were the bee’s knees.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Maureen Johnson, I will totally start reading your shit. I’m not usually the type to quote long passages, but take a gander at this one:
Maybe you’ve never fallen into a frozen stream. Here’s what happens.
1. It is cold. So cold that the Department of Temperature Acknowledgment and Regulation in your brain gets the readings and says, ‘I can’t deal with this. I’m out of here.’ It puts up the OUT TO LUNCH sign and passes all responsibility to the…
2. Department of Pain and the Processing Thereof, which gets all this gobbledygook from the temperature department that it can’t understand. ‘This is so not our job,’ it says. So it just starts hitting random buttons, filling you with strange and unpleasant sensations, and calls the…
3. Office of Confusion and Panic, where there is always someone ready to hop on the phone the moment it rings. This office is at least willing to take some action. The Office of Confusion and Panic loves hitting buttons.
The story goes on in this genial, hilarious vein as Jubilee, who has just fallen into a stream (above) continues trecking to the house of a strange (but cute) boy she met in a Waffle House because her train broke down in his small town, which train she was on because here parents were thrown into temporary jail for participating in a Christmas trinket store door-crash that turned ugly. What? I know. But it’s winsome and sharp and fun.
John Green, I have nothing to say to you. This story was completely, inoffensively fine. Trio of friends make midnight trek to a Waffle House, two of whom realize they are eeeen love. Secondary characters snort amusedly at things that are not totally funny. Sweet, but lacking your usual edge (and I’m not just saying that because no one dies in this one). You are better than just good.
Lauren Myracle, I’m not sure we are compatible. Sometimes your dialogue shapes itself around the day’s lesson. Like, the tinfoil-wearing man is all, Are you cold? And Addie’s like, No, I’m not cold, and He’s like, It’s not always about you. Which is the Very Important Moral That Addie Has To Learn And So At Least Three People Tell Her So In A Twelve-Hour Span And I Get That This Is Fiction But Can We Please Have Some Subtlety People, Even In YA Holiday Romances Which Are Like The Trifecta Of Potential Twee? It is also a crazy thing to say and I get that the man is wearing tinfoil but that is less tinfoil-crazy and more I-copy-pasted-some-dialogue-and-forgot-to-smooth-it-out crazy. I probably wouldn’t mind this story on its own, but it’s half as funny and twice as preachy as the two that came before it. Addie loses her boyfriend, learns the Very Important Moral that it’s not all about her, *spoiler but not really* gets boyfriend back.
Altogether a fun collection, but if they’d reversed the order it would have ended on a high note. As is, it sort of peters out (adorably, and with teacup piglets, but peters out nonetheless).
The Johnson gets 9, the Green 7, the Myracle 5, so a 7 on the average for the whole.