Let It Snow is a book of three short stories with overlapping characters. Jubilee, Tobin, and Addie serve as the three main protagonists. Each face loneliness and questions of romance in the face of the Christmas season, and each has a hectic adventure of their own in Gracetown, where the three stories are primarily set. A cozy and quick read, the three stories have distinct styles and character voices but still manage to capture the magical Christmas spirit that entwines them all.
What is Let It Snow about?
This novel is about Jubilee, Tobin, and Addie, three teenagers who find themselves in the middle of a blizzard in a small town called Gracetown. Jubilee’s story begins on Christmas Eve when an unusual turn of events leads her not to her boyfriend’s home for dinner, but puts her on a train to Florida. After meeting Jeb, a group of cheerleaders, and a man wearing tin foil in a Waffle House Jubilee winds up following a perfect stranger named Stuart out into the blizzard. Stuart and Jubilee bond over unsuccessful teenage romance, and Jubilee has a decent Christmas morning after all.
Tobin’s story also starts mid-blizzard on Christmas Eve. His Bond movie marathon with his friends is interrupted when they receive a call from the local Waffle House. There are bored cheerleaders, stranded by the storm, and if Tobin and his friends can get there in time not only are cheesy waffles and hashbrowns on the table, but so too are cheerleaders. The adventure to the Waffle House is perilous, takes multiple vehicles as its victims, and ends up not quite how Tobin thought it would.
Addie is sad and unhappy the morning after the blizzard. Starbucks will open after the holidays so long as she can drive there. After struggling with emotional turmoil for the Christmas holiday, Addie is charged with being responsible for a friend’s happiness. Her tendency to become self absorbed and sabotage everything around her being her biggest obstacle, Addie must balance her feelings with her duties in friendship and in work.
Genre: YA Romance
Like those cheesy Hallmark Christmas romance movies I love so much, Let It Snow is a cheesy, largely age appropriate romantic feel good book. The stories are short, complete, and give off some warm fuzzy feelings.
Like most YA romances, the biggest obstacle for most of our characters is not knowing how to communicate feelings properly, and not knowing how to communicate in general. This trope did start to wear on me by the third story, as I’m not a huge fan of its use and to have three otherwise unique stories presented with the same basic premise (girl and boy like each other but god forbid they talk about it) was…meh.
Plot: Separate but Repeated
As I said above, the three short stories in this book are separate and concern different characters and couplings, but nonetheless all follow the same basic layout. Protagonist (Jubilee, Tobin, and Addie respectively) has an unusual situation to deal with during the holiday season. Each protagonist is dealing in some way with the feelings of a breakup (more immediately for Jubilee and Addie than for Tobin) and each protagonist will end up forgetting those feelings for the new romantic ones they have found by the end of their story. It was just repetitive.
I did like a few things in particular. I enjoyed the weird detail of the Flobie Christmas village, and I appreciated that Addie’s story also seriously focused on her personal character development and growth. I also found that the message in Jubilee’s story being that dating the perfect person isn’t the same as dating the perfect person for you is an important distinction from the other two stories. I definitely preferred Maureen Johnson’s story the most of the three, and enjoyed the strange happenstance of the whole set up whereas the other two stories were not as appealing.
While I liked Addie’s character development in her story, I also felt like it was half-assed. First of all, she comes to no realization on her own. She is told by others that she is self absorbed and needs to start doing more. But in situations that are truly out of her control, others continue to tell her this. At multiple points in her story she realizes she dramatizing and that’s good, but others also blame her for things that are not possibly her fault. Like pipes overflowing, or her not being permitted by her supervisor to take her break at exactly nine AM.
I found several of the characters unlikeable. Mostly side characters, but also Tobin, one of the protagonists. I didn’t like Tobin’s friends Keun and JP much, either. I felt that a lot of the side characters were comically obnoxious to emphasize the drama of the protagonists in question, and the teenage mannerisms of some of them overemphasized. Perhaps the stories were originally meant to be longer, but they also felt rushed through. The events of all three stories take place over two days essentially, which really rushes certain emotions (ahem, romance).
All in all this is a decently cute read, one that fits in with the theme of cheesy Christmas Hallmark movies. It was cute enough to entertain me, but not groundbreaking. I’d definitely keep this for when you’re in a Christmas romance mood (if you’re a mood reader) because otherwise it’s just teenage drama and miscommunication. If those are your thing to read, then this is probably appropriate for whenever you want! I’m just not huge on those particular tropes personally.