John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
On the night of a Christmas Eve blizzard, Jubilee is trapped in a strange town after her parents’ arrest, Tobin and his two best friends embark on a quest for a Waffle House full of cheerleaders, and Addie is determined to prove her capacity for selflessness at least to her friends, if not to the ex she can’t let go. The three searches for love, each written by a different rightly renowned YA author, interlock and collide amid holiday miracles.
The last story of the three, Addie’s, falls into the unfortunate role of having to tie all the threads together for the others, making it the weakest in its own right, and leaving Addie’s personal epiphany feeling as though it’s sparked simply by reaching the point in her arc where she’s supposed to have an epiphany, rather than by natural progression.
The use of a Waffle House full of snowed-in cheerleaders as the unifying ingredient across the three stories doesn’t always come across quite as sensitively as is clearly the intent. After seeing them used as a symbol and canvas for several other characters to project their differing attitudes, I would have loved to see the multi-perspective format used to take us inside the life of one of the cheerleaders to see how she views herself, but no such luck.
The ultimate message seems to be that they’re not mystical creatures, they’re not property to be controlled, and that the coolest girls are the non-cheerleaders who don’t allow themselves to be used as sexual accessories to the more respected exploits of boys, which is all good stuff. However, the female perspective to this effect rings a bit hollow when the characters providing it are always in a position of jealousy, and the male dehumanization of the cheerleaders is harder to accept as the curable youthful ignorance and lack of communication it’s meant to be when those male characters are endowed with all the intellect, perceptiveness, and perspicacity required to deliver John Green dialogue.
Whatever accidental inconsistencies they may cause in the characters’ social awareness and aptitude, John Green’s sharp wit and evident heart are as enjoyable as ever in Tobin’s struggle with the terrifying prospect of taking a chance on the female best friend he loves, rather than searching for the next pretty girl he’s not afraid to lose. Lauren Myracle brings her usual vivid rendering of high school friendship in spite of the confines of the final story, and Maureen Johnson (the one whose other work I’m least familiar with), starts things off with a bang, or rather, with a double-dose of the humor and genuine sweetness that runs throughout all three storylines.
While the three stories are each capable of standing alone (the first two especially), and all three authors play to their own strengths, occasionally even with some gentle fun poked at each other, the snowed-in town and the tone of romantic holiday spirit are seamlessly cohesive.
Let It Snow is like a smaller scale, teenage version of Love, Actually, without the inexplicable fat jokes or creepy theme of powerful men exploiting female subordinates, but with all the unabashedly heartstring-tugging sentimentality and double the smiles.
Pity this review is going up in February, thanks to receiving the book as a perfect Christmas present, but… belated Valentine’s Day reading, anyone?
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