Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Holiday Switch

Marcelo, Tif. The Holiday Switch
October 5th 2021 by Underlined
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Lila Castro enjoys working at the Bookworm Inn in her small town of Holly, New York. It was part of the setting of a beloved holiday movie, Holiday on the Lake, which was filmed in the town, and which sees tons of tourists every year. Lila prefers stocking her Little Free Library at the back of the gift shop, and keeps a secret blog of holiday romance books. When her boss's nephew, Teddy, arrives to help out with the gift shop at the inn, Lila is fairly annoyed with him. He's a bit pompous, doesn't work very hard, and is a constant thorn in her side. Lila is a fan of the movie (since it's a genre she prefers) and Teddy has never read the book or even see the movie. Since the Filipino-American star, Remy Castillo, will soon be visiting the town, Lila and her best friend set out to complete a bucket list of all of the activities from the film, even though some of them cost a bit more than Lila can afford on her gift shop salary. She's hoping to get into the college of her choice, and her parents want her to become a doctor. She's not too sure. As her path crosses Teddy's more and more, and they accidentally switch phones and read some telling texts to the other person, Lila becomes more irritated with Teddy, but also comes to find him rather attractive and not that hard to spend time with. Will Lila's Christmas plans be able to include a real life romance along with the hot cocoa and candy canes? 
Strengths: This definitely reads much like what I expect the Hallmark channel Christmas movies are like ( I watched Mistletoe & Menorahs (2019) and wasn't impressed, although if there were some of these filmed in the 1980s, I would totally watch them ALL for the fashions alone), BUT has some culturally diverse characters front and center, which is good to see. Lila's close knit family was a lot of fun, and her desire to make them happy by studying medicine in college even though she really wanted to be a writer was true to life. Holly is an interesting town, and it's fun to see all of the different businesses that are dependent on the movie. The romance is fine, and the phone switch adds a bit of a twist. A lot of my readers ask for Christmas stories, and they are especially in demand by some of my Somali students. I think that Christmas in the US is a fairly secular holiday. 
Weaknesses: A teenager with a blog? Was this set in 2010? Given the number of book review blogs that I've seen go belly up in the last fifteen years, this seemed highly improbable. I have also never been a fan of the romantic trope where they two characters don't get along at first. 
What I really think: While I was a huge fan of this sort of book when I was in middle school, I worry that I shouldn't hand these to young, impressionable girls. "Romance is BAD! Don't waste your time," the bitter, old me says, but then the readers just turn around and recommend all of the Angela Darling books to their friends. I'll purchase this one, because it will get checked out frequently, especially when I can't keep enough holiday books around!

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I feel like my 8th grade niece is boy crazy enough without my giving her any books like this and I just read an adult novel by this author I found lame. However, I will admit that I do like the enemies to lovers trope.