Thursday, December 25, 2014

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

Let It Snow
John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Speak, October 2, 2008
Anthologies, Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis:  An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle- brings all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

This is a funny, totally crazy holiday collection of teen romance novellas! The characters in all three are affected by the same sudden, Christmas Eve storm, which has hit the town of Gracetown. The circumstances are different in each story, although they're connected through some of the same characters in each.

In the first novella, "The Jubilee Express" (Maureen Johnson), Jubilee, the main female character, must suddenly travel from Richmond, Virginia to Florida to stay with her grandparents, because of a rather funny incident involving her parents. She is thus parted from her boyfriend, Noah, just before she was supposed to go participate in a holiday feast with him and his family. Her life changes completely after her train is stranded in the storm, and she comes to a very important realization....

In the second and funniest novella, "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" (John Green) three friends go trekking off in the middle of the storm, bound for a Waffle House full of cheerleaders. On the way, they encounter several obstacles, one of them being the formidable Reston twins, with whom they nearly have an all-out battle.

Addie, the heroine of the third story, "The Patron Saint of Pigs" (Lauren Myracle) did not get much sympathy from me at first. After all, she had cheated on her boyfriend, Jeb. Complicating the plot and adding to the fun was a special errand involving a pig small enough to fit in a teacup....and an eccentric earth angel nicknamed "Mayzie".

I loved the main characters tremendously! I even came to like Addie, as she eventually realized that she was just a bit self-centered. Jeb, her boyfriend, was so sweet and loving.....he was totally torn up about the whole situation.

My favorite story was "The Jubilee Express", because of its poignant, very romantic tone. However, there were some funny moments in it, as well. Jubilee is rather snarky at times, but she's also a girl with deep feelings. Stuart, the boy she eventually meets, is  also a wonderful character, and presents a very marked contrast to Noah, who, as Jubilee herself tells the reader, is always "busy". Stuart is never too busy to pay attention to Jubilee.

In the second story, I really liked "The Duke", who is really a girl, although she's not "a girlie girl". She and Tobin, who have been friends for years, suddenly discover feelings  for each other as the story progresses. Tobin is a very funny guy, too, as well as a reluctant adventurer. JP, his sidekick, is even funnier. And Keun....he is absolutely hilarious as he keeps stressing the importance of the three friends getting to the Waffle House.

I also liked Dorrie and Tegan, from the third novella. Tegan in particular was someone whom I would have liked to have as a friend. Dorrie, although a great character, is a bit too much of a "lecturer" for me to wholeheartedly like her.

This was very entertaining, lighthearted holiday reading, with all of the usual teen angst that is a typical ingredient of YA fiction. I totally devoured the book! When I finished it, I was so sad that these were not full-length novels. I realize that the plots reached their complete development in each novella, and the last one brought all the characters and events together for a very satisfactory conclusion. Still, I would love to read more about all of these teens in future, longer works.... This, of course, is the mark of a great author, that they make you care so much about their characters, you're actually sad and reluctant to let them go.... In this case, the only solution is for me to read this book again, and I definitely plan to do so, either next Christmas season, or perhaps long before that!


 John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green's career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children's Paperback Bestsellers list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of the one published in 2010, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

Maureen Johnson
Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City. Among her several books are 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Name of the Star, Suite Scarlett, and Girl At Sea.

Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Hank and John Green.

Lauren Myracle
Lauren Myracle is the author of numerous young adult novels. She was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Lauren Myracle holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She has written many novels, including the famous IM books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.

Her first novel, Kissing Kate, was selected as one of ALA's "Best Books for Young Adults" for the year 2004. It was named by Booklist as one of the "Top Ten Youth Romances" of the year, as well as one of the "Top Ten Books by New Writers." Her middle-grade novel, Eleven, came out in 2004, followed by its YA sequels (Twelve, Thirteen, Thirteen Plus One) .

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