Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
So, This is Christmas by Tracy Andreen
Series: So This is Christmas #1
Published by Berkley on October 12, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it. Christmas hasn't changed much in her sixteen years. But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother's inn. And she certainly didn't expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother's doorstep. It's up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley's Christmas. It's about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.
Perhaps she told a tiny lie back at her prestigious East Coast boarding school to the snobs before going home for what she anticipates will be the dreariest Christmas ever. But, that was before she finds herself showing an English guy what a small town American Christmas is all about and learns a thing or two herself along the away. I was looking for a Young Adult holiday charmer and I got it in a debut author’s engaging story.
Young Adult contemporary stories are usually not my go-to, but perhaps it was getting caught up in the holiday reading spirit or the promise of trying a new to me debut author that had me enthusiastically reaching for So, This is Christmas.
Finley Brown has just finished the first semester of her junior year of high school as a new scholar student at a prestigious preparatory school out east. It was not the new experience she was anticipating. She went from big fish in a small pond to a mediocre minnow who ends up on the outside and part of nothing. It beats her down and becomes an eye-opener for her toward the small town she only wanted to see in her rearview mirror on her way to bigger things.
Coming home for Christmas and not going back seems like a safe decision, and that was before she gets home to discover her parents have been living separated, and her best friend and her ex have been dating. The tinsel only gets more tangled when an aloof and awkward English guy has shown up with his aunt for the fabulous festivities of Christmas, Oklahoma that she bragged about and changed the town website to show off to the snobs in her school that her home town was exciting. She thought she had Arthur pegged until he arrives and reveals a little more about himself and now it is essential that she give him a Christmas to remember.
This has a strong YA feel in how Finley overthinks stuff, struggles to see other people’s perspective while being a good person who wants to do the right thing at the heart of it all, but learns to do so as the story progresses, but it also has a fabulous holiday setting in the quirky small town of Christmas and the Christmas folk as well as her grandmother’s cozy B&B. I enjoyed the playful and festive moments- alas the runaway reindeer and the twin reindeer wranglers might have edged out the burnt cookie disaster for funniest. It didn’t get overly sugary because there was balance with the various issues Finley and the others around her were struggling with. Though yes, it was a holiday romance so had to end with the merry and bright big money scene at the end.
All in all, it was engaging and hit all the holiday spots for me. I would love to return for more stories from Christmas, Oklahoma and the fab characters I met. I can recommend this one for light drama, young adult, holiday romance fans.
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