Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances
By John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

To Sum It Up: A huge snowstorm wreaks havoc for the holidays for the characters in these three intertwined short stories. After her parents are jailed under some very bizarre circumstances, Jubilee has to go to her grandparents’ house in Florida, but the storm brings her train to a halt. She ends up at a local Waffle House, which also happens to be the destination for Tobin and his friends. They brave the perilous roads to get there and have a few adventures on the way. Finally, no amount of snowfall will translate into a day off from Starbucks from Addie, who’s coping with a broken heart that may distract her from an important holiday task. It’s Christmas, though, and sometimes things have a way of falling into place.

Review: If ever there’s a time of the year for a feel-good read, I think it’s Christmas. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances is just right for the season; it’s a light, quick read that’s packed with humor and, most importantly, holiday cheer. It’s also quite sweet, as implied by the presence of “romances” in the title, but not syrupy.

It just so happened that I ended up enjoying the first story the most and the last one, well, not as much as the other two. Maureen Johnson’s “The Jubilee Express” kicks off Let It Snow, and let me begin by saying that I loved her novel, The Name of the Star. The plot of that one centers around a series of Jack the Ripper-style murders, and yet the book also boasts some really funny moments. Seriously—that novel manages to incorporate both humor and horror. So I was thrilled to see that Johnson had authored one of the stories in this collection, and she totally delivers on the hilarity front. Her main character is named Jubilee, and straightaway, Jubilee demonstrates a healthy appreciation for self-deprecating humor by riffing on her own name. I instantly loved this girl, and her tale only got better and better. Jubilee’s parents are avid collectors of the Flobie Santa Village and are caught up in a brawl that erupts over a highly coveted piece. They’re arrested, and that’s how poor Jubilee finds herself on a train to spend Christmas with her grandparents in Florida. Johnson’s descriptions of the fervor of Flobie fans are just riotous. There’s also a touching side to this story, as Jubilee repeatedly tries to reach her boyfriend, Noah, who’s busy at a family holiday party. Jubilee is supposed to be at that party, and she slowly realizes that maybe all isn’t as perfect with Noah as she thought. She’s a resilient character, however, and some extreme kindness from a few strangers ensures that “The Jubilee Express” doesn’t lose too much of its easygoing tone.

As you work your way through the book, names and locales start becoming familiar. Each story stands on its own, but yet all three are related to each other. Up next is John Green’s “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle,” and though I’m not the biggest Green fan ever, I found his contribution to be a solid, entertaining read. The determination of Tobin and his friends, JP and the Duke (real name: Angie) to brave the winter weather in order to reach the local Waffle House is both inspiring and fraught with funny. Tobin and JP want to hang out with the cheerleaders who have invaded the restaurant after their train, (the same train carrying Jubilee, by the way), becomes stuck in snow. The Duke accompanies them because she loves Waffle House’s hash browns. Green fans should be very pleased with “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” and its wit-filled pages.

Unfortunately, I thought the book faltered a little with the final story, Lauren Myracle’s “The Patron Saint of Pigs.” It centers around a rather self-involved character named Addie, who’s just broken up with her boyfriend because he wasn’t demonstrative enough with his affection for her. Granted, this is the type of story in which the main character needs to see the error of her self-absorbed ways, but I couldn’t warm up to Addie. Call me unromantic, but I just didn’t find her troubles as tragic as she did. I also felt like the story tried too hard at times to pull all three stories together. That’s not to say that “The Patron Saint of Pigs” doesn’t have its moments. I really liked Addie’s friend, Dorrie, who isn’t afraid to speak bluntly to Addie. The story just didn’t grab me the way the other two did, though, and it was a bit of a quiet finish for a novel that began so strongly. Still, if you’re on the lookout for a good holiday read, this is definitely one to keep in mind.

All in All: “The Jubilee Express” was clearly my favorite story out of the three thanks largely to its quirky, lovable protagonist, but there’s probably a character for everyone to love here. And if you love snow, well, you’ll find lots of mentions of snow in this book, too!


  1. I have heard a lot about this book!!! Everyone says it's so good and your review makes me want to read it even more!

    Angela's Anxious Life

    1. It was just perfect for a Christmas read. I'm so glad my library had a copy!

  2. I'D actually never heard about this one so now I'm curious. I don't tend to read many straight up romances but I like how you said these ones aren't too 'sweet'. That plus the fact that I've been looking for more Holiday-themed reads to add to my tbr makes me think this one is a real contender!! Thanks for putting this one on my radar Lee :D

    1. I so wanted to read a Christmas-themed book this holiday season and was happy to have found this one. I also highly recommend Dash & Lily's Book of Dares for a Christmas read; it takes place in NYC, which immediately endeared the book to me, LOL!


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