Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: Ex-mas

Title: Ex-mas
Author: Kate Brian
Genre: YA Commercial Fiction
Rating: B-

Summary: Lila Beckwith is planning to have a smashing Christmas, including having her gorgeous, Stanford-attending boyfriend return home just in time to attend her event-of-the-year Christmas party. Of course, none of that goes right. Everything goes wrong. But, because this is fluffy YA fiction, everything turns out just right.

First Line: "Mr. Geary had to be kidding. It was literally moments before the last bell was supposed to ring on the last half-day of classes--three seconds to Christmas break and the holidays and freedom--and the earth science teacher was handing out homework with every indication that he expected people to be paying attention. Had he finally lost it?"

Review: I picked this book up as my 2009 Christmas read. (Last year I read [and reviewed] Let it Snow, a series of intertwined stories by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle.) This book fell pretty far short of the high standard set by the JGM trio.

If judging solely on the basis of YA contemporary fiction, this book wasn't bad. You had some good angst-y love/hate relationships going on (Lila's ex, Beau, seemed like a loner dreamboat), social drama, and some family dynamics that made for a fun, light (roughly three hours total) read.

If judging on the basis of a Christmas story, this book flopped. Maybe it was because this book was set in California (so we didn't get much Christmas-y weather) or because it all happened before Christmas, but the holiday wasn't central to the story. I think this book could have been set in any time of the year and still worked. (Frankly speaking, I think it was a gimmick used to market the novel around Christmas for increased sales).

If you're looking for a YA book that will get you in the Christmas spirit, don't bet on this one. But, as far as YA books go, Brian's not a bad little author.

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