It’s Christmas Eve and the biggest snowstorm in generations has just hit. A train carrying Jubilee – whose parents have just been arrested as part of a riot involving a collectible ceramic village – is stranded. She struggles off the train, along with a boy named Jeb who’s desperately trying to call his girlfriend, and an entire squad of cheerleaders. Somehow this was not how any of them planned to spend their holiday season, and yet somehow it’s also the most perfect – and perfectly romantic – way to celebrate.
Three of YA’s most popular authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – teamed up to write this collection of three interrelated short(ish) stories. The setting for all three is the same: the snow-bound town, the train, and the 24 hour Waffle House. Minor characters in one storyline go on to become major players in the next. Although there are one or two incidents where this character sharing is a little strained (e.g., I fully believe that the lovebirds from A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle would walk into Addie’s Starbucks early in the morning, I doubt they’d still be there several hours later) for the most part it works, and helps to create a sense that these are all members of a community, people who would normally be interacting with one another.
All of the stories are humorous, some of them more than others. The different styles of humor will appeal to different people, so that is a high point. The stories are meant to be romances, and all three deliver on that front, though in very different ways. One finds love with a stranger, another with a best friend, and the third patches up a rocky relationship only after she’s able to confront her own weaknesses. Lauren Myracle’s story about a drama queen being forced to realize that she’s become self-absorbed will certainly resonate with many teens (and adults!).
Notes on the cover: Eh, kind of bland. The only real present in the story is never wrapped (and couldn’t be, since it’s alive) so that aspect of the cover doesn’t really represent what’s on the inside of the book. That being said, it does have a generic romance tone to it, so I guess it’s speaking to the intended audience.