Morning everyone! It is almost Christmas and I can almost smell it in the air. Whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you are feeling the festivity in the air as the year ends for a new one to begin.
With that said, I am here to bring a set of 4 mini reviews on Chelsea Bobulski’s All I Want for Christmas series in time for the holidays. Almost all of these books have been released, with the fourth and last novel coming out on December 22, 2021!
I don’t know if you read holiday themed books at the time of said holiday, but this was a fun experience for me this year. I have decided to group all the reviews together in one post for your enjoyment.
Merry almost Christmas, friends!
Thank you Netgalley and Wise Wolf Books for these copies in exchange for an honest review.
It’s not often that I find myself stuck in a teenage boy’s mind, but here I am with All I Want for Christmas is the Girl Next Door. Graham is your average teenager living in small-town Virginia. However, this town isn’t just any town, but a literal one named Christmas. With Christmas in the air 365 days of the year, Graham is itching to get out.
But that may also mostly stem from his unrequited crush on his best friend, Sarah Clarke, who lives next door.
I love the angst initially as we follow Graham’s longing whenever he sees his best friend and Sarah together. Who of us (mostly) hasn’t ever had an unrequited crush? But with his deep heartbreak after coming to the inevitable realization that Sarah may never choose him, he wishes upon a star in the sky and wakes up the next day in some warped alternate reality. He has been dating Sarah for the last two years, not his best friend.
I also appreciate the message that comes with this story as Graham navigates his new reality. Soon, he realizes that perfection isn’t all that he thought it would be. What if he had fallen in love with the idea of Sarah Clarke instead of who she really was? What if he spent so much time focusing on her and his longing for this relationship that he closed his mind off to the very real girl he was always meant to be with? Maybe love, the real kind of love meant for the long run, is known not by the feelings we initially get, but by how much we make one another shine to our brightest potentials.
This was a fun Christmas story with a lesson wrapped in a bow. It’s light, cute, and the kind of book to curl up with by the fireplace while it’s snowing outside.
All I Want for Christmas is the Girl in Charge brings the next installment in the series, and it is written in dual POV alternating between Beckett and Evelyn. Oddly enough, I didn’t connect as well with Evelyn as I would’ve hoped. I understand with her type A personality and how much her college applications relied on the success of the play she’d written that she would be absolutely anal about everything. But that’s not really my style and it was a little stressful reading just how stressed SHE was.
Beckett, on the other hand, I liked well enough. He’s your typical misunderstood bad boy with a gooey inside. We don’t know too much about why he needs to serve some community hours – obviously something bad happened that required such punishment – but he ends up stuck with the play in the lead role of Mr. Darcy. I didn’t emotionally connect with him much better than Evelyn, but I loved seeing his interactions with his Aunt Bee and Uncle Bill (who were a big enough part of the first book).
Graham and friends make cameos in this book too, set during Christmas time the following year after Graham’s story. There’s a little less focus on Christmas than book 1 but it’s in the little pieces, like Beckett working at the Christmas tree farm.
I wish I could’ve invested more in the relationship to have made this a more enjoyable Christmas read, but it was a light read either way for this time of year.
This must be the favourite of the bunch, but All I Want for Christmas is the Boy I Can’t Have was the perfect amount of romantic angst, miscommunication and unrequited love.
August Harker was the perfect kind of guy for a girl who’s as in love with love as Isla Riddle. We’ve already been introduced to Isla from book 2 and I definitely liked her outlook on love. Full of references to the best romantic comedies of the last few decades, this was an ode to love and the stories that bring people together.
I love the idea of a Christmas wedding, and what’s more romantic of a backdrop to set this story to? Isla and her mother have a wedding planning business and it was so much fun seeing their plans for August’s sister’s wedding.
But more importantly, the romance was cute even though it frustrated me at the same time. August was kind, considerate and a great friend. The instant love feel at first was a bit unrealistic as Isla just fell for him immediately, but their interactions over time sold me on their connection and by the end I just wanted the happily ever after for them.
If you want a cute winter read, with admittedly less focus on Christmas than just a winter romance, this is the one!
It’s not often I find a protagonist who dislikes love as much as Savannah did in All I Want for Christmas is the Girl Who Can’t Love, but I can understand why she has guarded herself from the emotional/higher power aspect of love beyond the scientific mechanism of hormonal chemistry in our bodies if it meant losing herself seeing how her mother does with each boyfriend.
I really enjoyed the dual POV between Jordan and Savannah. If I wanted a cute, romantic story that showed us love can be more, can actually be like magic, then this is the one to read. Jordan can definitely woo a girl and has the maturity of the college-age boy that he is, which is rare in YA novels.
The archaeological aspect where the two of them try to figure out the mystery behind a couple from the Revolutionary War era was a great way to look at history in the beautiful colonial Williamsburg (which I really need to visit someday) and to showcase love beyond genetic survival. As a scientist, I can understand how some people may like to think of it in this way, but as a hopeless romantic, I am 100% like Jordan too, rooting for love in every way.
One quick shoutout for the rep in highlighting Savannah’s struggle with dyslexia that cannot stop her from pursuing her dreams to be a travel writer someday. I love that it focuses on how studying can be hard for her while also not letting it be a foregone stumbling block to her dreams.
The ending wrapped well, with plenty of faces from the whole series that connects us full circle. I love seeing everyone together. Also, Jordan made a cameo in book 1 (that was SO cool) so it really is a full circle moment and I’m super glad I read this series in time for Christmas.
How’re you celebrating the holidays this year? Do you read holiday-themed books in December?