Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Released: October 2nd 2008
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House ( and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.
So this was the one John Green book I hadn't read (excluding Zombiecorns but I have a copy of that so ssssh) and that's ultimately what lead me to buy it. What I thought would be quite a cheesy romance novel was actually pretty interesting, and whilst it had it's cheesy moments, it still managed to hold my attention. I mean, I'm pretty sure I devoted more of my Christmas Day to reading this than conversing with my family.
The Jubilee Express by Maureen JohnsonAfter reading a total of three of Johnson's books and only liking one of them, I was really sceptical about this. I mean, if I didn't enjoy her novels, how was I going to enjoy a short story? The weird thing was, I actually really really liked it. Would I go so far as to say it was my favourite story of the book? I don't know. But it was pretty great.
The story circulates around a girl called Jubilee who boards a train to Florida after her parents are jailed for causing a fight at a Flobie convention. However, Jubilee's train breaks down, and her adventuring outdoors to the Waffle House is what initally sets in motion all three storylines. At the Waffle House she meets a guy called Stuart, and his mother insists that she spends Christmas Day with them. (And since it is a cheesy romance novel, guess what happens? Yes. Yes.)
Jubilee is a kickass character. Maybe she doesn't kick anyone's ass exactly, but she's witty with a quirky personality that immediaely endears the reader to her. Although parts of her story are unbelieveable, it's in the best way possible and you are still able to relate to her, especially given her romantic situation. As the reader, we get emotionally tied to her and everything she is going through, meaning that every page is a constant cliffhanger and you can't turn the pages fast enough to keep up. It was fun, interesting, and just overall enjoyable.
A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John GreenI think it's impossible for Green to write a story that isn't full to the brim with smartass comments and quirky characters. However, as per usual I am in love with his writing style and hilarious plot lines - I never expect what he will throw at me next!
When the Waffle House is invaded by cheerleader's from the train, friends Tobin, JP and the Duke (otherwise known as Angie) get a call announcing that the race is on to get to the Waffle House first. Thus ensues a crazy expedition into the snow, involving car tires, twins, Twister, and a whole lot of running.
Tobin and JP are classic Green characters - intelligent, nerdy, and completely loveable. Although I tend to find reading from a female perspective more enjoyable, I don't mind either when it comes to Green as you can't help but become absorbed in the storyline. However, the Duke definitely had to be my favourite because she is so real. She's that typical platonic gal pal that may as well be one of the boys - and I've got to say it, I'm like that too; my two best friends are guys, and sometimes I think they forget that I own a pair of boobs. Despite the story not being told in her perspective, I was still able to empathise with her situation, and I'm so glad that the ending was what it was. I nearly died from adorable overload.
The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren MyracleMyracle is the one author whose writing I have never read before, and I have to say that for first impressions, it was pretty great. However, it's got to be said that this one just wasn't as good as the other two. Whilst I enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped, and I think a lot of that is to do with the fact that the main character was incredibly hard to like.
This last story focuses on our last character from the train, Jeb. Throughout the previous two stories we hear about this girl named Addie and how he's late seeing her - so guess who's point of view this story is from? Yep. Addie. In true Christmas spirit, this tale is about her learning to become less selfish and becoming a better friend.
I tried to like Addie, I really did, but she was so breathtakingly annoying that in the end I just gave up. She is so self-absorbed, and yeah, I got the fact that she was a bit of a Scrooge who develops into this absolutely wonderful human being, but still. Annoying. But despite that, I did enjoy the story, and it nicely rounded up the rest of the book.
Overall, the best way to describe this book is nice. Now my English teachers would be having a fit if they saw this because apparently "nice" is the worst descriptive word ever. However, I disagree. Sometimes I think that we all just need something nice in our lives, especially at Christmas time, and this is it. It's a very cute and enjoyable read, and I definitely recommend it to be read at Crimbo time.