January 1, 2009

Let It Snow by Johnson, Green, and Myracle

Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle
Date Started: December 30, 2008/Date Finished: January 1, 2009

"The Jubilee Express" by Maureen Johnson
Summary: A girl named Jubilee is preparing for Christmas with her boyfriend, Noah, however, her plans are derailed when her parents are arrested and she is being shipped of to Florida to spend the holidays with her grandparents. Her train is snowed in and Julie makes her way to a Waffle House where she meets a boy named Stuart. Stuart pays attention to her and convinces her that her boyfriend is no good. Jubilee learns that she was just a part of her boyfriend's perfect plan and does something crazy just this once.
Likes: The premise is cute and overall the story is a nice read for the holidays. It was the perfect size, just enough to get interested in. Johnson has an infectious writing style that is fun to read. Her characters are unique and quirky and the writing voice fits the tone of her characters perfectly. The romance was lighthearted and cute, more of the "I-wasn't-searching-for-love, but-love-found-me" type of romances. As a reader, you wonder if it is going to last, but Maureen doesn't hint at what could have been, what should have been, and what's going to happen next. The story stays in the moment and as a reader, I like that the author didn't allow for much introspection on the part of the main character, Jubilee. The author gives enough details about the back story to make the characters fully fleshed out and unique, instead of cardboard cut-outs.
Dislikes: There wasn't much that I disliked about the story. There were enough details on the characters, but I felt like I couldn't visualize them very well. I suppose this is more a matter of writing style more so than anything problematic with the story. I guess I'm not used to the author not giving many physical details on the characters.
"A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" by John Green

Tobin is snowed in with his friends JP and the Duke (Angie). They are contacted by their friend, Keun, who works at the local Waffle House. Apparently, a train of cheerleaders have just come into the Waffle House and want to play Twister. Tobin and his friends have an exciting adventure on their way to the Waffle House, and learn somethings out in the process.

Likes: Once again, the author has presented quirky characters who aren't cardboard cut outs. John Green has a knack for writing unique characters, and I believe that characterization is where is story truly shines. Even the car, Carla, is presented as a character and that makes the whole story believable. So far, I like this story the most because I can relate to the Duke. I have guy friends who treat me like one of the guys and seem to forget that I'm a girl sometimes. Green captures the opposite side of the situation, the story of the guy with a girl for a best friend. He shows that Tobin is oblivious to his feelings and to the Duke's feelings. The story brings back a nostalgia of being back in high school and the crazy things that people do to get something they want, only to realize that what they wanted was right in front of them all along. It's a sweet story about the point when one realizes that a friendship is developing into love and admiration. The story reminds me of a buddy flick about friends just trying to get simple things in life, like in this case, Hashbrowns, Cheesy Waffles, and Cheerleaders. Green doesn't skimp on the details and his writing is solid enough that the minor details he uses don't intrude on the action of the story.

Keun was irritating, only because his characterization was so realistic that he reminded me of people I know. The use of CAPS-LOCK GOT REALLY ANNOYING, REALLY FAST. I know when people are yelling, all it has to do is say they were yelling in the dialogue tags. Also the word "asshats" reminds me of certain people, not a good or a bad thing, but the word is used a lot.
"The Patron Saint of Pigs" by Lauren Myracle
Summary: Addie is suffering through the holidays without her boyfriend, Jeb, whom she cheated on. She invites over her friends and they show her that she is self absorbed and selfish. Addie's friend, Tegan, has bought a teacup pig named Gabriel. Addie learns to become less conceited when the pig is bought by an old woman named Mayzie, who claims that she is a Christmas angel.
Likes: Myracle (that's such a cool last name, even if it might be a pseudonym) has a knack for writing unlikable characters. Part of her stories appeal was that she still made me feel interested in this characters life and whether she changes or not. She also does a good job of getting the feeling for the other authors characters. The stories, this story in particular, remind me of growing up in a small town and I think the author does a good job of capturing that small town feel. Even though I didn't particularly like the main character of this story, Myracle's characterization is believable and the portrayal of Addie's friends is appreciated. The author does a good job of rounding out all the stories and making the story come full circle. She had a tough job tying in everyone's stories, but she does so in a believable way. It's not necessarily skillful, but it feels natural and wasn't forced.
Dislikes: I didn't really like Addie at first, but as the story got further along, she grew on me. It took a little while for me to get into because of Addie's constant worrying and complaining, but it wasn't too bad once the story got rolling along.

Overall: Each story left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. My favorite story was John Green's because I am that girl and he portrayed the side of the oblivious guy. It's nice to know that us tomboys aren't forgotten. Each author had their own style and a real knack for interesting and quirky characters. I look forward to reading each of their own books independently. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, not really being into the whole young adult/teen mushy romance thing. The stories weren't as mushy as I thought they would be (they were still mushy, but not the vomit inducing mushy) and there was enough humor to balance it out. A good read and a sweet way to finish of the holiday season and start the New Year.

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