Let It Snow
By John Green, Maureen Johnson
and Lauren Myracle
Everyone loves a good Christmas romance, but finding one suitable for young adults is hit and miss. Christian readers are left with Amish novellas and stories about animals during the holiday season (no, I’m not kidding).
A Christmas story by popular author John Green seems to be the answer to this problem. His breakout novel, The Fault In Our Stars, went gangbusters in cinemas, and his latest novel, Turtles All The Way Down, was one of the most sought-after releases of 2017.
Young adults love his mix of wit, romance, diverse characterisation and complex themes and when Let It Snowwas released in 2008 it became a New York Times Best Seller. It has aged, but the fact the anthology of holiday-themed short stories is being made into a movie means it will be front and centre for millennials again very soon.
So how does the book stack up?
It’s important to note that Let It Snow isn’t entirely a John Green book. He pens one of three novellas, all of which are linked by their characters, the plots and location. This makes it a sharp, bite-sized offering that young adults will devour in an age where 140 character Tweets are king.
Maureen Johnson’s The Jubilee Express leads the charge, where we meet a quirky teen called Jubilee. She’s taking a train to visit her grandparents over Christmas, and it gets stuck in a small town called Gracetown. Once she steps off and accepts the help of a stranger, we come across lead characters and plot points in the next two stories.
Green’s A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle is about best friends becoming more than friends, and Lauren Myracle’s The Patron Saint of Pigs shows a narcissistic protagonist becoming more self-aware and generous.
The anthology weaves a delightful and off-beat narrative about the importance about staying true to your self, not sacrificing your self-worth for a significant other, the spirit of giving and compassion, and above all, love – or the two second, teeny-bopper version anyway.
Teens will love these stories. The characters are bizarre and hilarious, and each author has the ability to communicate a complex backstory with laughter and gravity. The idiosyncrasies of family Christmases (where teens often feel embarrassed by their parents and activities) are highlighted, as is the rigmarole of schoolyard politics where popularity is the key to success.
Young adult fiction has a tendency to be overly sexual and inappropriate in its language. The inclusion of sex scenes and swearing seems to be an attempt at relating to the younger generation, and this is the case with Let It Snow, albeit a bit more toned down.
Innuendos abound, and each character’s obsession with finding love can get tiresome. Then again, this is a romance novel, and a watered down version at that. Still, leave this for the older teens who are able to discern what is appropriate and how to navigate love and meaningful relationships in their own life. This makes it an entertaining book, rather than a guide on how to navigate your teen years.