Title: Let It Snow
Author: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Publication Date: October 2nd 2008
My Rating: 5/5
“Lady and gentleman, when my parents left Korea with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the considerable wealth they had amassed in the shipping business, they had a dream. They had a dream that one day amid the snowy hilltops of western North Carolina, their son would lose his virginity to a cheerleader in the woman's bathroom of a Waffle House just off the interstate. My parents have sacrificed so much for this dream! And that is why we must journey on, despite all trials and tribulations! Not for me and least of all for the poor cheerleader in question, but for my parents and indeed for all immigrants who came to his great nation in what they themselves could never have: CHEERLEADER SEX.”
One Christmas, one enormous snowstorm, one wrecked train, one waffle house, one teacup piglet, two jailed parents, three teenagers, a whole cheerleading team …
And a partridge in a pear tree!
Christmas is a time for miracles. A time for love.
And, at first, it doesn't seem like either will be happening in the lives of the teenagers at the centre of these three Christmas stories.
Jubilee (yes, that is her real name), is on her way to Miami to spend Christmas with her grandparents after her mum and dad were jailed following a riot at a “Flobie Christmas Village” collectibles factory. This means she won't be spending Christmas with her perfect boyfriend and his perfect family but, instead, will be spending hours stuck in a train carriage with a heartbroken Native American guy and a whole team of cheerleaders called Amber or Madison. Her Christmas officially sucks already.
But then things go from bad to worse when the train crashes. And bad to catastrophic when she finds herself stranded in a waffle house with the cheerleaders, a horny Korean guy and a man dressed entirely in tinfoil.
Her salvation comes in the form of a boy covered in plastic bags.
But, when Jubilee arrives at Stuart's house (by way of a quick dip in a frozen lake), she discovers that salvation comes with a crazy mum and a whole heap of ex girlfriend issues. Oh, and she still can't get her perfect boyfriend to spare a minute to talk to her. Is this the worst Christmas ever? Maybe not as bad as Tobin's.
It started out okay – a James Bond movie date with two of his best friends while his parents were stuck in the snowstorm. It seemed like it was getting better when his other best friend called to say that the waffle house was filled with cheerleaders and he needed Tobin to bring his game of Twister.
From there, it went rapidly downhill. Literally. Tobin hadn't banked on just how bad the snowstorm was, how pathetically his parents' car would deal with it, how scary it would be to be pursued through the storm by evil twins with their own ideas about who was going to meet the cheerleaders …
And how much his feelings about one of his best friends – a girl called “The Duke” - would change in the course of one crazy night.
Addie – the narrator of the third story – is experiencing some heavy feelings of her own. She and her gorgeous boyfriend, Jeb, have just broken up. It was Addie's fault – she cheated on him with the town sleaze at a party. It might have been because Jeb constantly failed to be as romantic as the movies say he should be, but that doesn't change the fact that it was her actions that caused the end. Or that she wants him back.
But Jeb didn't show up to Starbucks. And now Addie is heartbroken. Plus, she has to work an insanely early shift on the day after Christmas. Oh, and rescue a teacup piglet from a pet shop staffed by a boy who hates her guts.
Life sucks when you're Addie. But then, as people keep telling her, the world doesn't revolve around Addie.
There are other people experiencing their own crises these holidays and, in this final story, their tales are about to twist together like Christmas tree tinsel.
This book is a little Christmas miracle.
Each story is so wonderfully crafted, so full of sweetness and delightful quirk, so funny, so peopled with gorgeous, deserve-to-become-cult-icons characters (Green's JP is an adorable wealth of one-liners destined to become part of the Green Lexicon), so utterly, magically Christmassy …
Sure, readers of a more cynical, bah-humbugish persuasion might find the stories unbearably sunny (despite the storm in which they're set), but it's Christmas. Stories are allowed to be sunny on Christmas.
Romantic cynics might find them just too sweet for their own good but, hey, especially at this time of year, couldn't the world do with a bit more sweetness?
And, besides, the syrup in each of these stories is balanced by a dollop of tart humour and a smorgasbord of sweet, sour, fiery and just … well … Christmas-lunch-crazy characters. There's something here for everyone.
Even those with a penchant for miniature farm animals.
John Green's A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle was probably my favourite of the three interconnected stories, but I am an unashamed Green Nerdfighter of many years. I adored the typical acerbic humour and heart he always gives his characters and, as always, I was on the edge of my seat, fingers crossed, willing them to get their Christmas wishes (even if, in JP's case, that meant snogging a vapid cheerleader).
The other stories – Johnson's The Jubilee Express and Myracle's The Patron Saint of Pigs – were just as delightful and, as I have not read any Myracle before this, I'll definitely be seeking her other work out. Her self-centred-but-lovable Addie was a beautiful creation, as was Stuart's mad matchmaker mother in Johnson's tale.
I recommend this book to anyone struggling to find the Christmas spirit; to anyone in need of a bit of love and lightness in their life.
Or anyone who has parents in jail for a fight over a ceramic Christmas village, forgot to pick up a teacup piglet, or found love in a waffle house.
You just try saying “Bah Humbug” once you've read it!