Let It Snow - John Green, Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson Christmas comes best in threes
A lot of people have already summarized the three short stories (which are tangentially interconnected, might I add), so I will attempt to be brief:
Jubilee’s Express: After Jubilee’s parents are arrested in a Flobie Christmas display fight, she is sent on a train to her grandparents, only her train ends up stranded outside a Waffle House.
A Cheertastic Christmas: Tobin leads his friends, Angie “the Duke” and JP across town in the middle of a bad snow storm to a Waffle House to meet up with some cheerleaders.
The Patron Saint of Pigs: Addie, who has recently broken up with her boyfriend, starts to realize she’s a self-absorbed biatch.
Because this book is so different (three stories, yet really only one long one), I will review it slightly differently.
The absolute best, most amazing, most outrageously funny and sweet story of the bunch is, in my opinion, Maureen Johnson’s Jubilee Express. It’s quirky, it’s extraordinary, it’s insane, but never once did I drop my suspension of disbelief. Jubilee is smart and funny and reminds me a little of myself. I thought her relationship with her boyfriend, Noah, was complicated and interesting as well. Noah was a great boyfriend to Jubilee when she didn’t need him to be emotionally engaged. When she did, he didn’t know how to react, being so self-centered and so focused on his aspirations. It was clever, it was different, and yet it was realistic and believable. Stuart was a sweetheart, and his family was so charming and quirky. The story was quick, outrageous, and yet somehow believable—and most importantly funny! I was reading this while flying to Denver, and at one point, I was shaking with barely contained laughter.
John Green’s story, A Cheertastic Christmas was enjoyable as well. The scenarios were crazy and funny, the character growth very organic, and the ending was perfect (yeah, a little rushed, but it was almost told in that teenager way of hurrying). But I’ll admit, I wasn’t too keen on the whole “tough girl falls for best friend” act. Also, and more importantly, the characters in this story were the EXACT SAME as in the other Green novel I read (the ONLY other Green novel I’ve read), Paper Towns. Tobin was Quentin; JP was Ben to a “T”; the Duke was oddly reminiscent of Margot (although there were obvious BIG differences, to those who’ve read Paper Towns). Even the story was eerily familiar of the big cross country drive that Quentin and friends took in Paper Towns. It was like this was the further adventures of Quentin without the main character being Quentin. Don’t get me wrong, Green writes his characters well, but when I open a new story, I expect to see slightly different characters, not the same ones over and over and over again. Same with story.
“The Patron Saint of Pigs” by Lauren Myracle was a complete downer for me. Most of the action takes place after Christmas (bye, bye Christmas charm and spirit!), Addie is so mopey, whiney, and ungrateful in the beginning (not a good way to endear an audience to your protagonist), and the situations, while nowhere near as weird as what Johnson and Green wrote, seem contrived. The pipes break at the exact time Addie is rinsing out the steamer? Her boss gets mad at her…because Addie can’t shut off the water because the pipes are broken and it’s not really her fault anyway as she didn’t break the pipes herself? Everyone and his mother decide simultaneously to let Addie know how selfish she is? Nathan is upset at her because she never “read the note” and calls her selfish…but he’s been harping on this for four years? How does that not make him whacked out? Sure, Addie’s a selfish @#$%^, but he certainly doesn’t have to gripe about the “wrongs” she “done him” four years ago. And when Addie calls Dorrie about her recent crisis, Dorrie gets upset because Addie still hasn’t gotten the pig. Only, Addie has been at WORK the entire time unable to go on break, and that’s why she hasn’t been able to get the pig. Yeah, it’s selfish to want to chat before getting the pig, but really, Addie TRIED to leave work to pick up the pig, and her boss wouldn’t let her. So that isn’t Addie’s fault, it’s her bosses fault, and it’s Dorrie who’s being the @ss for blaming the wrong person. And the whole shoehorning “It’s a Wonderful Life” needed to go.
Overall, though, I really liked “Let It Snow”. Johnson’s and Green’s stories and characters are wonderful, funny, and charming (not to mention, very Christmas-y!). Individually, I would rate them 5 and 3.5 – 4 stars respectively and would definitely read them over and over again. As for Myracle’s story, unless you are already a fan of her work, I wouldn’t bother with her story (even though it does tie up Jeb’s loose end). It’s kinda depressing, not really Christmas-y, and bonkers. Two stars, by itself.
So head off to the bookstore or library, snatch this guy up and snuggle with a cup of hot chocolate under a blanket in front of your fire or Christmas tree and start reading!