29 December 2010

Let It Snow (Part I) - The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today's bestselling teen authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

(Alright.  So don’t panic.  I know there are three stories in this book.  But I’m going to review each one separately.  So go ahead and calm down.  It’s all good.)

  • A cute and well put-together story.  I’ve had some tear-filled, hair-pulling, breakdown-worthy experiences trying to write short stories but Maureen Johnson has this thing down pat.  Jubilee’s character (yes, her name is Jubilee...) is a perfect pair of eyes to look through.  I usually don’t feel very connected with characters personally (but I can still love them half to death) but Jubilee had pointed out some things that I thought only I had noticed.  (Isn’t it wonderful when that happens?)  Maureen Johnson’s descriptions are incredible, too, in very creative ways.
  • Will leave you breathless for laughter.  My aunt heard me laughing in my room and when I came out she kinda gave me an amused/funny look and said, “Must’ve gotten a good one.”  Jubilee has such a hilarious way of putting things while keeping them real and Maureen Johnson came up with some creative events.  (I put that delicately, cause I’m really thinking, “How the heck did she come up with that?”)
  • A great cast of characters.  So there may not be enough to qualify for a full cast (but what do I know?) but the characters are sparkling with their own fire.  Jubilee didn’t come off as whiny to me (shocker there) or as pathetic (major bonus) and I really enjoyed the Boy.  (I was thinking maybe revealing which boy would be a bit of a giveaway because Maureen Johnson DOES leave it up to speculation, methinks, early on.)  So even while, essentially, it’s just Jubilee and the Boy, the Boy’s mother and younger sister as well as Jubilee’s parents are present and well-developed for just sub-characters.
  • So as I’ve already pointed out (multiple times), I really liked Jubilee’s character.  She was funny but completely honest.  I loved her observations early in the story and most of her reactions reminded me of what I would have done.  So, since I’m in a good mood, lemme say again: Jubilee’s character was awesome.
  • That aside, the descriptions were refreshingly brilliant.  The one I especially like is this paragraph:
    • Mass Market Paperback edition, page 83 -- Debbie had to get up and slice me a thick piece of cake before she could answer.  And I do mean thick.  Harry Potter volume seven thick.  I could have knocked out a burglar with this piece of cake.  Once I tasted it, though, it seemed just the right size.  Debbie didn’t fool around when it came to the butter and sugar.
  • There are many descriptions like this and I love it.  Not just because it mentions Harry Potter.  I’d love to be able to knock someone out with a slice of cake, too.
  • A story just right for the holidays.  I think this would hold me better than a cup of hot chocolate.  I know this will be a holiday re-read.

Book Info:
  • pages - paperback, 352
  • published - September 2008
  • publisher - Puffin
  • genre - collection
  • received via - Half-Price Bookstore
  • Part I of III