#BookReview Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Christmas time is here! Holidays are so much fun: snow, Christmas songs, Hallmark movies, and lots of lovely books to read all curled up in a blanket with some tea and my animals. To celebrate, here’s a review of a holiday inspired book!

 

I bought this book WAY back in 2012 when it came out. WAY back meaning I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for this long with me staring at it and debating whether I should read it or not. I finally decided to pick it up for two main reasons:

A) It’s almost Christmas time and I wanted some holiday cheer.

B) Apparently there’s a movie adaption? And, I kinda want to see it. It’s important to read the books first so I can thoroughly ruin the movie for myself and anyone I attend it with.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book: I have read most of John Green’s novels so I knew what I was in for with his reading but I had never read anything by Maureen Johnson or Lauren Myracle. And, let me say, I will definitely be reading more by Maureen Johnson in the future. Her story was the absolute best in this little trio of stories. John Green’s was okay (it was definitely not TFIOS, but who was expecting it to be?) and Lauren Myracle’s was a little weaker than Ringo Blue’s (clap and a half for those who understand the reference).

Maureen’s was a beautifully crafted little love story that made my heart warm and grow like the Grinch’s. John’s story was a continuation that felt like the weaker sequel and Lauren’s felt like a middle grade addition to a YA series. All of the stories were beautifully written, but Maureen’s was for my type of reader. My friend was absolutely obsessed with Lauren’s, so it’s definitely a personal choice on which story you’ll like more. It’s another one of those anthologies you come for one author and you discover another.

The Jubilee Express is Mauren’s lovely addition. Jubilee (who some people call Julie, but Jubilee is way cooler and yes it’s a type of party) gets stuck on a train when her parents are arrested for fighting over a Christmas village (is Jubilee my own child? This sounds like something I am going to do in my adult future, just saying). She meets a man on the train who she befriends (who will later be featured in story #3) and then finds her way through the city. She meets a boy (because it’s a romance novel, so obviously she’s gotta have a love interest) and they fall into a pond and almost freeze to death (drama alert!). She stays at the boy’s home (said boy’s name is Stuart, why am I still calling him the boy?) and meets his Mother and little sister. The boy (I’ve committed, no turning back now) has an ex and it ended badly, all the while Jubilee has an dumb-face boyfriend who deserves a good dumping. The two then kiss and it’s romantic and ooey gooey. It’s a YA romance gallore!

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by Paul Orange (again, I’ve committed to this pun so it’s time to rock and roll) continues the previous story with different characters. 3 previously unknown characters are watching James Bond movies. Introduce our two key characters: Tobin and Angie (also known as The Duke). Turns out these two kinda have crushes on each other, and as the three characters try to make it to a breakfast joint to meet cheerleaders, they realize this. It was cute, but not as addicting as the first novel. It was almost… predictable. I wasn’t entirely sure where Maureen’s was headed, but John’s story screamed FRIENDZONE ALERT all over the place.

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle is what took me the longest to get through. In one day I flew through the first two stories, but then along came this story. Another continuation, but… different. It had a different tone than the previous two. I did not enjoy the lead character, I did love the pig and I felt bad for Jeb because he deserves someone who’s more considerate than his current girl, Addie. Like… dude, you almost lost your friend’s pig. That’s cruel. This book was packed full of the middle grade drama I don’t miss from back in the day. Lauren’s writing was still absolutely beautiful, but this story was not for me. I was kinda sad this book ended on this specific story because it felt like the weakest for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I would love to read some more Christmas-y YA love stories. I also highly recommend Maureen now because OMG she’s good.

Four out of five stars!!

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

Christmas themed books are AMAZING. Here’s some holiday books I’ve read, check them out – you might like them too:
Book Review: Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

 

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#BookReview An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines was an interesting book by John Green – it’s the perfect mix of YA and contemporary fiction in my mind. While it’s not his best book (in my opinion), it’s still a really intriguing read. John Green knows how to write a unique narrative and pull in the reader. Although, his books all tend to be different so you aren’t guaranteed to enjoy this book if you liked his other novels. He does an excellent job at changing genres and narratives, and making different stories every time he writes a book.

Colin isn’t the most likable protagonist, but that’s why I liked him. He wasn’t the typical YA character we fall in love with, he had his flaws. His friends were more likable, but to me it made him seem more real. We don’t all love ourselves the way we should, so sometimes the protagonist should be more “realistic”.

As for the plot, it’s has a smooth flow and doesn’t build very much. It’s more of a contemporary fiction piece that follows the characters throughout. There’s no major plot twists or devices that jumped out at me. Yet, this book still worked well in this context! With most authors, I would have given up with a plot like this, but somehow John kept me hooked. That takes a fair bit of talent!

The best part of this book is that it is full of epic quotes. John Green knows how to make quote worthy books that relate to teenagers and adults alike. I have found countless quotes that I can either relate to myself, my situation or my friends and family. That’s one of the major things this book has going for it!

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as the first John Green book you read (unless you want to start off “weaker”). While I think it’s fantastic, it’s not the strongest book (in my opinion, yet again). Especially since this book is the type of novel that you either love or you hate (just look at all of the other reviews – it is split right down the middle). So, take a swing at this book once you’ve convinced yourself that John is truly remarkable through his other books first.

Five out of five stars – what can I say? I enjoyed it.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49750.An_Abundance_of_Katherines

Or purchase this book on Amazon: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

And check out my twitter for the most up-to-date antics about my blog! @ReviewAlholic

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Photos via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: The Fault in our Stars

Book Author: John Green

Rave and Rant: I read this book after my father lost his battle to cancer, and it gave me a beautiful insight into a land where cancer is not viewed as the villain and rather as a fact of life. This book is not your typical love story! It followed sarcastic teenagers who live with cancer, and does not mainly focus on the cancer, it follows their life. It is a beautifully written book and John Green brings his excellent wits in this novel. I’d suggest it to anyone, but remember to have a tissue box nearby once you’ve finished the first half of the book! This book deals with strong emotional themes. Five stars!

Potential Issues: This book does make cancer seem a little romanticized. When I look back on reading it, at the time it was the type of book I definitely needed. I was hurting and I needed a book that didn’t make cancer seem like this horrible villain in my story. This book might not be for everyone, but it helped me at the time. Is cancer scary? Yes. It is life ending, horrible, and ruins lives? Yes. But can this book help heal? Yes.

This book will make you cry – it’s definitely sad, but at the same time it gives you  a different insight into cancer. Yes, there is a romance story in it, but these characters will give you some form of hope. There are beautiful quotes throughout the novel that show you cancer from a very different perspective. Readers must keep in mind this book was written after John Green lost a friend to cancer as well, so this book could have helped him heal.

Final Thoughts: This book is a YA novel – that means it is not going to be 100% realistic. This novel has it’s ups and down in many ways. The characters don’t seem to talk like teenagers would (but the novel was written by an adult). I found Hazel (the main character) to be quite average (other than her amazing quotes), but sometimes you don’t want the perfect Mary Jane as your main character. Gus is kind and a jerk, all wrapped up in one package. He’s not your perfect male lead, which is why I like him. Yes he has his issues, but at the same time he is romanticized for the audience this book is aimed towards. There’s a villain who has his reasons for being evil, but they don’t entirely make up for his behaviour. Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was there when I needed it to be – it’s a good book to read to heal after losing someone to cancer because it gives you a very soft and sweet look compared to the horrors a cancer story typically is.

Five out of five stars. I enjoyed this novel.