The Holiday Switch // Book Review

Title: The Holiday Switch
Author: Tif Marcelo
Published: 2021
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday
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Synopsis
A bookish Filipino-American girl who crosses paths with the innkeeper’s aggravating nephew–but when they accidentally switch phones, their newly discovered secrets draw them together.


With a title like ‘The Holiday Switch’, you’d think this going to be some swap story. However, it has little to do with an actual switch. The main character, Lila, has worked at the cozy local inn for a while, and fancies herself as their best employee. But everything changes, when over winter break, she has to train a new employee, Teddy, who happens to be the nephew of inn’s owner.

First off, this is not some cute enemies-to-lovers swap story. The switch happens fairly early on when the two accidentally swapping phones. However, this gets resolved in a day. That being the end of any switch plot line. While they have each other’s phones, for literally just a few hours. They learn each other’s most deepest secrets.

Lila is hiding her book blog from her overprotective, non-social media loving parents. Teddy has a secret passion of rock climbing that he is very serious about, but he is afraid his family will think it is too dangerous.

“Sometimes it takes a snowstorm to bring two people together, but sometimes it takes one person—and someone you least expect—to help save the day.”

The plot took awhile to get into, and for the first half of the book, I wasn’t invested in the story or supposed romance that was going to happen. I didn’t feel any connection between Lila and Teddy. Sure, Teddy wasn’t the best worker, and was preoccupied with his rock climbing training. But, I found that Lila judged him right off the bat. It seemed that she didn’t like him, because he took away her chance to get extra hours working at the inn. In short, she was just being petty and bitter. Didn’t she ever hear not to judge a book buy it’s cover? Which is ironic seeing as she is a book blogger.

Speaking of her book blog, throughout the book there were review excerpts that she wrote on her blog. It was a nice touch, yet most the books where rated 4 or 5 stars. A little more diversity ratings would have been nice, since not every book can be a 4 star read. However, if all her books are that good, then she is one lucky reader.

This book does focus a lot on both their secrets. And, sharing these secrets help them form a bond. Still, I felt like their friendship and relationship came out of nowhere. Did they even like each other? Or did the mutual agreement to keep each other’s secrets make them want to be together. It really seems like it could be the latter.

As for the side characters, they were all very one dimensional. The author put less thought in everyone surrounding Lila and Teddy. I know a book needs it’s lead, but I like a well round group of supporting character as well. It wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just wasn’t anything new or exciting. It was pretty forgettable. And overall, there was rather little romance involved in the story.

Also, one of my biggest pet peeves in books is the portrayal of writing as a career. In most every book where a main character wants to be a writer, there is one person that doesn’t believe it is a real career. Seriously, it’s 2022, if people can make a living on social media, then you can be a successful writer. Than again, maybe these authors were judged for their career choice, and are speaking from personal experience.

Please keep in mind that this solely my opinion. I try to be transparent and honest in my reviews. But, I would never want my reading experience to shy you away from reading a book that interests you. If you have any positives about the book, leave them in the comments. If you want to like and share this post, that would be amazing. And, follow my blog for all things bookish, and more!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

The Afterlife Of Holly Chase // Book Review

Title: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: 2017
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday
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Synopsis
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died. Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything.


I was very excited to read a YA version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. This is a story that has been told many different ways before, and for good reason. A Christmas Carol embodies not only the spirit of Christmas, but also teaches us that we should remember the past, live in the present, and hope for a good future. However, the story is always about an older depiction of Scrooge.

A book that follows a teenager, especially a girl, intrigued me. At first, Holly was an unlikable Scrooge who was too self involved to care about the lessons that the ghosts were trying to teach her. She had lost her mother, and grew distant from her father. She was raised by her bitchy stepmother, which turned Holly cold. However, as the story went on, we learned a lot about Holly. She was regretful, and truly lonely. You could see that there was a good person hidden with in her Scrooge-like exterior.

Because Holly ignores the ghost, she is forced to become the new ghost of Christmas past after her death. But when teenager, Ethan, is chosen as the newest Scrooge. Holly is instantly drawn to this younger, teenage version (as was I). The thing that made Ethan different than other Scrooges, even Holly, was that he still wasn’t all that heartless. True, he was stuck-up, self involved, and thought that money was all that mattered. But, he still managed to show kindness at times.

“My fortune read, ‘It’s never too late to become what one could have been’.”

There were moments throughout the story where I felt bad for Holly and Ethan. You want them to get a happy ending with each other. They both had been through things that contributed to their lack of compassion. But, their shared hardship doesn’t excuse their actions. Especially Holly’s, who was being a bit thoughtless in her communications with Ethan. She was being reckless because she found him cute and interesting. His journey wasn’t about her, but she somewhat made it about herself by only thinking about what she wanted and not focusing on thawing his cold heart.

Still, the love-story aspect was very cute. I understand why Holly and Ethan were attracted to one another. They were both unkind people that had a secret desire to change and be better people. But, they didn’t know how after all the mistakes they had made. Although, the love-story was a big part of the plot, it was the fact that isn’t was a real love-story that made this book so special. This was overall a great, heartwarming story.

The ending was incredible, shocking, and inspiring. It gave me all the feels of “A Christmas Carol”, while still managing to separate itself from the original story. However, from the beginning, the story has always begged the question, “Can people truly change?” I, for one, believe that changing yourself is a choice. One must decide if they want to make that choice.

Do you enjoy the story “A Christmas Carol”? What’s your favorite retelling of it? As always, don’t forget to like and share this review, and follow my little book blog for more content!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1) // Book Review

Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Published: 2010
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday
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Synopsis
Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?


The book was exactly how I anticipated it to be, yet there were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. In the book, we follow Lily, who is an adorably awkward teenage girl having the worst Christmas of her life. Her family have all made other Christmas plans, leaving her with her older brother who is more focused on his holiday romance than spending time with his kid sister. Dash on the other-hand isn’t a fan of all the holidays opting to spend Christmas alone. These two very different teens meet by fate, kind of, and embark on the cutest love-story.

This is a dual perspective story where we get to hear from Dash and Lily. And, I am happy to say that I enjoyed both sides of the story equally. Lily is a fun character to follow, because even though she isn’t having the merriest Christmas, she is determined to stay joyful. She is shy and socially awkward, which I found to be very relatable. Dash dared her to challenge herself and step out of her comfort zone. And, to not be so afraid to be seen by the world. I know that was swooning hard over Dash, so there is no question to why Lily fell for him.

Dash reminded me so much of Holden Caulfield. He is cynical, moody, and a bit of a know-it-all. He doesn’t let anyone see his soft side, and is scared to let anyone get too close. Dash is lonely and wants to find ‘his person’ but isn’t sure there’s someone out there for him. Lily changed his outlook on a lot of things, including the holidays. I think he realized that maybe Christmas isn’t so bad if you have someone to spend it with.

It was fun watching the story unfold, and I kept wondering what the next dare would be. For a large portion of the book, they only converse through a red notebook. There is something sweet about falling for someone by their words, not their looks. Which just so happens to be how I fell in love with my husband. Still, I couldn’t wait until they finally met in person.

“I want to believe there is a somebody out there just for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody.”

The story does a good job of showcasing how we all place people on pedestals. This is especially true when we only have a mental image of someone. Dash and Lily both got to know one another, but they still had unrealistic expectations. No one will ever be exactly how you envisioned them, but that’s okay. The story demonstrated that we can, and should, overcome our preconceived notion of somebody, and to get to know the real them.

The story had some flaws, as most do. One being that Lily was very confusing at times. She wanted Dash, but didn’t mind pursuing someone that she didn’t even like. I understand that Dash was just the guy in the notebook, but I would think that all his attempts to break her out of her shell would make her more brave. I want her to go get the guy, and not settle.

Dash annoyed me at times, because he could be really stuck-up. Without spoiling anything, there was a scene close to the end of the book where Lily messed up big. Dash was unforgiving, and it made me slightly annoyed, considering they hadn’t even met at that point. Cut the girl some slack.

As for the ending, I think it was simple, and wrapped everything up with a nice bow. The story as a whole was exciting, cute, and it took place in New York City! Spending the holidays in The Big Apple, even through a book, is fabulous. If you have read the book, go ahead and leave your rating in the comments. Also, follow the blog – all the cool kids are doing it!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny