I am usually the type of person to turn my nose up at holiday-centered romances. If someone is falling in love at Christmas time, I’m not the first person to put myself on the holds list or bounce up and down on my couch waiting for the latest Hallmark channel release. However, I'm a HUGE fan of the holiday rom-com classics. Love, Actually, The Holiday, and When Harry Met Sally will always have a place in my heart and on my queue of movies to watch during the holiday season, but anything that has been specifically contrived for people who love to watch people falling in love during that magical, snow covered season usually earns a head shake from yours truly.
This year, I grew my Grinch-like heart one size larger to accommodate some shameful holiday cash-ins and I’m not sorry I did. I’ve put them in order from delightful to… less delightful.
If you’re looking for a slow burn romance that happens to coincide with holiday cheer, then this is the read for you this winter. Jack and Laurie have excellent chemistry, and while there are certain plot points that had me tilting my head towards “really?” the novel as a whole is well written and effervescent. Not only does author Josie Silver have a deft hand, but her characters’ banter is excellent.
She weaves in enough references to the holiday classics like Love Actually that you feel exactly where she was trying to go with this book: a holiday rom-com for the ages. While I don’t know if it will stand the test of time and be immortalized with gilded pages, this is definitely a book I enjoyed cozying up with this season!
The Princess Switch
I’m not one for Hallmark channel flicks, mostly because I’d have to pay extra to have the Hallmark channel, but as soon as Netflix dropped a trailer for this perfectly unreasonable Christmas version of the Parent Trap starring Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame, I was on board. Ridiculous premise, check. Made-up European country, check. Questionable costumes that make you wonder what the budget was for this entire film, check. Tons of fake snow, check. Vanessa Hudgens sporting an awful British-type accent, CHECK.
If any of these tick boxes for you too, then you should pull up your (or your parent’s or your roommate’s or that one friend who forgot that they gave you the password’s) Netflix account and succumb to the hype. While I would NEVER place this movie anywhere near the holiday greats, this movie can be a lot of fun when you add hot chocolate, popcorn, and friends (plus maybe a little alcohol).
Some movies and books are the perfect fix for the holidays... this is not one of them. I was so excited to read this book because Melissa de la Cruz can do no wrong according to those who love the Descendents movies and the novels she writes to go along with them, but oh man, this was a clunker for me. I might be the worst audience for this book because I LOVE a good retelling of Pride and Prejudice. At best this version is clumsy, and at worst it is completely out of sync with the tale we know and love. The premise is great: a gender swapped Pride and Prejudice story set around the holidays; the actual book: lots of unneeded drama with crazy plot points that are unnecessary, plus a terrible heroine.
One of my favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice is how wrong Lizzie is about Darcy, but the whole problem with De La Cruz’s re-interpretation is that Miss Darcy is the least redeemable character ever: she’s selfish, makes strange choices, and HAS NO CHEMISTRY WITH LUKE (Lizzie). The whole book feels like it needs an editor and someone who has actually read or watched any adaptation of Pride and Prejudice within the last year.
-Lauren Taylor is a Youth Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.