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broodings from the burrow

May 28, 2022

into the stacks 2022: january and february
posted by soe 1:48 am

I finished five books during the first two months of the year:

Christmas with Anne and Other Stories by L.M. Montgomery

Anchored by chapters from two of the Christmases at Green Gables from the Anne series, this collection of holiday stories is everything you’d expect from L.M. Montgomery. There are orphans whose stories end happily. There are reunifications with long-lost family members and healed feuds with bosom friends and good deeds aplenty. There is lots of tugging on the heartstrings, some of which are tuned rather melodramatically. But in the end, we don’t want Christmas stories that end with meanness or want or death. And L.M. Montgomery will give you only Christmases that end with laughter and family and warmth.

If you have liked other compilations of Montgomery’s works, you’ll also enjoy this one. If you’re allergic to sentimentality, I’d give this a pass.

Audio. Library. 224 pages

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

Set in a town where one of the most famous Christmas romance movies was filmed, a high school senior and a college freshman are thrown together in a workplace enemies-to-friends holiday YA novel. She’s trying to earn some extra money for college. He’s staying with his aunt for the holidays and being guilted into helping out at her hotel gift shop. One day, they inadvertently pick up the wrong phone and discover each other’s guiltiest secret.

A sweet Filipino-American holiday romance. I’d recommend this one to anyone looking for something heartwarming to read over cocoa in between repeats of The Holiday and this year’s newest made-for-tv Christmas films.

Paper. Library. 272 pages

Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo

A young designer turned bartender turned fashion instructor meets a man she thinks is managing the holiday opening of the high-end department store on her block. He offers to showcase her designs and to let her students put on a show on their launch day … in exchange for her pretending to be his fiancee for a few weeks until his parents come to town. But first, it turns out that his family owns the store. And second his ne’er-do-well cousin and her skeevy ex seem to be teaming up to tear down their maybe-no-longer-so-fake relationship. And, finally, she has a secret she’s convinced will ruin things anyway.

This was … fine. Honestly, I’d forgotten that I’d read it. But if you’re looking for a holiday romance, there are worse.

Paper. Library. 336 pages

Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

Apparently (and I didn’t know this until I finished the book), Faith is a superhero who appears in a number of comic books put out between the early ’90s and today. Julie Murphy, who excels at telling stories of young working class women, imagines an origin story for this queer, plus-sized teenager who lives with her grandmother, hangs out with her two best friends, writes for the school newspaper (and anonymously runs a blog about her favorite tv show), and works at the town’s animal shelter. But unknown to her loved ones, she has also survived an experiment that has imbued her with the ability to fly, a talent which she’s trying to keep under wraps, at least until her grandmother wanders off, a classmate disappears, and one of her BFFs is charged with murder.

Murphy does a great job imagining how a newly awakened superhero might struggle with maintaining a secret identity and being a teenager. Since I haven’t read the comics featuring Faith Herbert/Zephyr, I can’t speak to how true this feels to the original character. But now that I’ve read this book, I would read the comic, so I hope that says something.

Paper. Library. 304 pages

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

This collection of interconnected romance stories follows six Black teens or teen couples as a blackout strikes New York City. There’s the story of two exes who show up to compete against each other for an internship in Harlem who have to walk all the way back to Brooklyn. Two classmates get stuck in the same subway car. Childhood friends are locked in the library (maybe sort of on purpose). And more.

I’m not a huge fan of short story collections, but this one was fun. You catch glimpses of the other characters as you make your way through the book toward the final scene where they all find themselves back in Brooklyn. While some of the stories were more self-contained than others, each of them solid enough on its own and well-integrated as a combined entity.

Recommended for any reader who likes teen love stories.

Paper. Library. 256 pages

More to come as I try to get caught up with my reading reports before midsummer.

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