Confession: I might have a possibly real disorder ORD (Obsessive Reading Disorder). This fall, it was Thomas Hardy. I found myself talking to the main characters, telling them not to go with Arabella, Bathsheba or Alec. Suddenly, everything Hardy ever wrote was clever and interesting–topic for casual conversation with my non-Hardy reading friends. (Don’t try it–conversation is very one-sided.)
By Christmas, I had turned my attention to more modern and lighter fare, John Green. I had read Fault in Our Stars and cried over it–who doesn’t? I had watched his YouTube channel. I started following his every Tweet. I thought I ought to give Looking for Alaska some attention. Then, I moved through An Abundance of Katherines. (It may be sacrilege, but I don’t love Green’s novels as much as just about every teenage girl I know.) Still, I went searching for more. I found, much to my delight, a JOHN GREEN CHRISTMAS story, Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances (2008). Actually, it’s three stories. The other two are written by Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (both accomplished authors whose books appear on the the NPR Best Young Adult Novel list).
The first of the three is Maureen Johnson’s story “Jublilee Express.” I loved the voice of the female character and the difficulties she experiences when her parents are arrested in a shopping brawl related to their desire to collect the “limited time only” collector pieces for the Flobie Santa Village, and Jubilee must go to Florida temporarily to stay with her grandparents while the Flobie incident blows over. The train is stuck in the worst snowstorm in years, so Jubilee leaves the train and seeks shelter at a nearby Waffle House. The adventure and romance that follows is light and funny.
Even though I read all the time, I am one of the most gullible readers–I never see the ending coming. Imagine my delight and surprise when John Green’s story, “A Cheertastic Christmas,” takes place in the same snowstorm with some of the same characters. (Yes, if I had read the reviews, I would have known these were interwoven stories.) Myracle’s story, “The Patron Saint of Pigs,” finished the trilogy with Jeb and Addie, who dyes her hair pink after the break-up, and searches for a way to bring Christmas cheer to others. By the time I started the third story, I had made friends with everyone in the Waffle House. I was laughing at and with them–in my Thomas Hardy-esque manner.
This book is perfect for the 12 – 17 year-old reader if you are looking for a unique Christmas gift. Even better, though, is the idea of finding two other writers and making your own holiday short story trilogy. I think I’m up for it. I’d like to add OWD (Obsessive Writing Disorder) to my growing list of personality problems.