A very personal blog

[Reaction] Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances

Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances is a novel featuring three intertwined stories about love on Christmas season. Written by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle.

Forewarn: I didn’t like this book for the most part, so this post is one big rant about how much it sucked. I gave it 1 out of 5 stars on Goodreads for the sake of Maureen Johnson’s cute tale, but if that would bring the average rating down, can I just un-rate it for her sake?

Do not read this book if you don’t want your head to hurt from rolling your eyes, and your brain to wither from mentally murdering the characters for being so shallow, whiny, and stupid.

The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

The best of the three, also the reason why I endured reading the other two (specially Green’s). Now it felt like a trap. My one star goes here.

It was Christmas eve and Jubilee was hastily summoned to her grandparent’s house in Florida to spend the holidays because her folks were held in custody for getting involved in a riot over a Flobie Santa Village (a fictional line of decorative ceramic houses) sale. En route, the heavy snowstorm caused their train to stall.

Jubilee goes out to a nearby Waffle House to eat and warm up and there meets Stuart who offers her a place to stay until the train becomes functional again. They spend quite a time talking, laughing and arguing while carefully making their way to Stuart’s place.

Subconsciously, Jubilee is already falling for him but it wasn’t made evident until Stuart pointed out all the wrong things about Jubilee’s boyfriend, Noah, whom she always speaks about with high regard, and who happens to be too busy to worry about her, even after hearing her parents got in jail, that she got stuck in a bad snowstorm, that she fell off a frozen creek, and is staying at a stranger’s house over the holidays. She got pretty much in a you’re-right-my-boyfriend’s-a-jerk-why-didn’t-I-notice state so eventually, she broke up with Noah. Especially after Stuart bluntly told her it’s bound to happen given his apparent indifference to her dire situation. Then it’s all about Stuart and Jubilee and their new-found romance.

To be honest, I feel like Stuart is the real jerk here. He completely snaked through Jubilee’s relationship with Noah while subtly glossing how well they complement each other. Damn.

I enjoyed it mostly for the writing, it’s a fun read. The name Jubilee is funny and could indeed pass for a hooker name, but it was a bit over-explained. I liked both Stuart and Jubilee together but I didn’t like how she had to break with Noah like that: on Christmas and over the phone. Anyway, looks like Noah himself was struggling with the timing and was relieved to have Jubilee bring it up first. Whatever, kids.

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green

Simply put, it’s all about a bunch of teenagers’ stupid journey to a waffle house in the middle of a bad snowstorm in order to deliver a game of Twister to 14 cheerleaders and eat hashbrowns and waffles. Keyword: bad snowstorm. I would say it’s really about Tobin admitting to having feelings for his tomboy of a best friend, if only to push the theme, but his thoughts only wandered to that point more than half-way in the text right when I’ve decided there’s not much to this story than their unfortunate journey filled with crappy jokes and road emergencies. I rolled my eyes a lot, I did, and my head hurt. I wasn’t sold at any of their supposedly witty exchanges. It seems like Green has a penchant for designing teenage characters who are supposedly too clever for their age, but it failed to deliver (again. read: TFIOS).

Lame title, lame characters, lame story. It was a dragging read. Everything is too desperate. The characters are too over dramatic. Everybody thinks they’re funny. If I were watching this they would all look like bad actors struggling to make a pun. The situation is unbelievable – who’s going against a snowstorm to deliver a toy game to a bunch of cheerleaders like their lives depended on it? It’s annoying. What kind of friend would insist on inviting his best friends to hang out with him at the cost of their lives? And who would trudge knee deep snow to impress a bunch of over-stereotyped girls? Massive idiots.

And what’s with “the” Duke? It was explained too late in the story I was already too annoyed to accept it. Plus it only explained the Duke part and not the “the”. It didn’t make sense, I was even more willing to accept I got a badly transcribed e-book who got all Dukes accidentally replaced with “the Duke”.

I have nothing good to say about this story except that I was glad at some point Tobin admitted how stupid they were for ever jumping into the idea of braving a raging blizzard for a couple of Ambers and Madisons (stereotypical cheerleader names, IKR). I think it’s trying too hard to be funny but the story is too silly to make fun of. I’m so glad I’m over this part.

And now,

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

Just when I thought it will get better, that Green’s was the worst and that the quality of the story would pick up at this point, I was even more disappointed.

Starbucks was mentioned a staggering 50 times in this story that my brain bled (58 if you include the mentions from the second story). It’s no excuse that the main character works as a barista there. There’s only so much words you can repeat in a novel for over 50 times in a span of a hundred pages that isn’t an article or a pronoun and I’m sure as hell Starbucks isn’t one of them. Record breaking annoying.

The story is all about a certain Addie regretting breaking up with her boyfriend, Jeb, who was currently stranded on a train on the way to Gracetown. He was on the same train as Jubilee (from the first story) and the two actually met and talked (she even lent her phone to him), I just didn’t think it’s worth mentioning until this point hehe.

To me, Addie is just a normal teenager who once had a boyfriend, made a mistake, broke up with him, and regretted it. Her character is flat, uninteresting, and it’s true that she’s self-absorbed. She’s a very demanding girlfriend too. I don’t understand what’s so special with her that she gets to star in a hundred page advertorial for Starbucks.

The entire story circled around her paranoia that her ex didn’t want to get back together because she got stood up when they were supposed to meet and talk about their issues. That, and proving to her friends that she’s not as selfish as everybody thinks, by volunteering to pick-up a teacup pig for her friend and doing all means* to recover said pet after it was accidentally sold off to another person because she came to the pet store too late (these miniature pigs are said to sell like hotcakes, okay). Then she finds out the person who bought the pig, some old woman called Mayzie whom she has chatted with once while on duty, did it on purpose to freaking test her if she’ll really go all the way to prove she has changed, calling herself a Christmas Angel, out to share the magic of Christmas.

WTF. Some old woman messing up with her day, stressing her out, even pushing her to do some level of thievery by stealing the credit slip from the pet store containing the buyer’s name. I see no angel there, I see a bitch. My goodness this story is nuts.

* – that is calling the person who caused her breakup with Jeb

To be fair, there is some implied character development in here, but I just couldn’t see it. Despite Addie’s struggles in coping with her heartbreak, I actually think she’s generally nice and likable in real life. Her character is just not that engaging.

Then there’s the mysterious tinfoil man called Travis, a weird character clad in Reynold’s Wrap who has a fancy for cups and is seemingly unaware of his unusual fashion sense. He appeared on all of the stories as if to stitch them together, but the characters are already woven well enough the book could’ve done better to exclude him as he wasn’t really given that much attention aside from his odd choice of clothing.

I had a feeling they had planned something greater for him but in a rush to wrap up the book, he was turned into a symbol instead, a sad one at that.

“Why oh why does he dress like that?” I said, and not for the first time.
“Maybe he’s a knight,” Christina suggested.
“Maybe he’s a lightning rod.”
“Maybe he’s a weather vane, here to predict the winds of change.”
“Ooo, nice one,” I said, and sighed. “I could use a wind of change.”

Right, I could imagine where the knight and the lightning rod came from, but a weather vane? Unless he’s sporting an arrow or a spear or a chicken over his head, I would never have thought he’s there to predict the winds of change by resembling a weather vane. It’s saddening how his presence was concluded that way. I’m sure there are better ways to write him off as whatever object. That one line just seemed like the author went, “Oh my God, the story’s ending I forgot about Travis he’s supposed to symbolize the winds of change. Okay, Christina, go mention he’s a weather vane, they’ll get it.” Huhu. He’s one of the very few interesting characters in the book, so I felt it a waste that he wasn’t explored further.

But it’s not all bad

Aside from The Jubilee Express which I hoped was turned into a different book instead, here are a couple other things I liked:

  • Good job on interconnecting the stories. It did feel like one big Christmas story where everyone’s related by only a few degrees.
  • I liked the ending, with all the characters converging at a coffee shop (guess where) and all the couples being cheesy and lovey dovey. It’s the one time I didn’t hate Starbucks for being mentioned too many times.
  • I felt Christmas and the festivity. I also felt how bad the snowstorm was, which is why the second story sounded utterly stupid to me.
  • It’s a light read which made it bearable, you can finish it in a day unless you go nuts and decide to tear it off in dismay. Kidding.

I’m sorry this rant got so long. If you’ve read the book or is a major John Green fan, I hope you don’t get offended. 😛 It’s the second time I was unimpressed with John Green, but I’m still curious about his other books, looking for what could possibly hooked so many. Maybe third time’s the charm.

PS: Calling this a reaction instead of a review ‘cos I’m not entirely being objective here. Some people find it funny, and I just had to ask where (mentally). Good enough for a light read if you’re not easily annoyed like me.