A light-hearted Rom-Com inspired by the film The Holiday, I can practically guarantee this book will put you in the Christmas spirit.
Take two teens, either side of the Atlantic. Neither are looking forward to Christmas and both are desperate for their lives to take a turn for the better – so desperate in fact that they arrange to swap lives for the festive period. Holly normally loves Christmas but this year she wants to get as far away as possible from her ex and his new girlfriend, and away from the prospect of moving in with her mum’s boyfriend and his kids. Leaving the UK for the USA seems like the perfect option. Elle wants to prove her life is as good as it looks on her social media profile and determined to win the #FestiveFifteen challenge – a race to get 15k new followers. There’s a lot riding on it. If she fails, she will have to delete her account. But, worse than that, she will have been beaten by the very person who forced her to delete her previous account. Can the British Christmas experience give her the win she needs?
Does this plot sound slightly familiar? I wouldn’t be surprised if it does as the publishers were upfront that it was inspired by the film The Holiday. Since I’ve told you this, you’ll immediately know this is a light-hearted Rom-Com. If I then tell you that Elle has a hot twin brother, and Holly has a cute geeky best-friend who’s the almost quintessential English boy next door, you’ll know what to expect. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine who is going to end up with who. However – as is the case in this genre – it really doesn’t matter that we can guess the outcome because the important part of the story is how we get there. And, in this, the book excels – it’s an easy and appealing read. I read it over just a couple of days (which is a seriously monumental achievement if I also admit that the current pandemic has effectively stopped my reading this year).
While the rom-com element of the plot may be predictable, there is an intriguing sub-plot focused on the mystery person posting negative comments on Elle’s account. I was impressed that I didn’t guess who this was until the reveal. There’s also some good character development and a strong underlying message about what is really important in life. (Spoiler – it isn’t the number of followers on Instagram or the swanky places you visit).
In the acknowledgements, author – Beth Garrod – states that she loves Christmas. However, by the time we reach the back of the book, we’ve already worked this out. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with quite so many festive references and I can practically guarantee it will put you in the Christmas spirit. If you’re not familiar with the great Christmas traditions and classics both sides of the Atlantic, you will be by the end of this book. (Thank you, Beth for inspiring me to watch Elf. And I will never listen to Mariah’s high notes in the same way again!)
If you enjoyed this and are looking for something similar that might suit another time of the year, I’d suggest you try My Type on Paper by Chloe Seager for a summer read or Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison is a fun rom-com around a school ski trip.
Publication Date: 1 October 2020
Author’s website: Beth Garrod