I’ve never had my life together enough around the holidays to remember that this time of the year is my chance to read something Christmassy and actually feel the magic around me as well. Pair that with my favourite writing duo, Christina Lauren, and I had some pretty high expectations for their latest, In A Holidaze. Described as Groundhog Day meets your favourite holiday rom-com, I knew I would be in for a treat—and boy, was I correct.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
I’m not sure this is my favourite Christina Lauren book (they have so many amazing ones), but this is definitely my favourite holiday story—I want to keep reading it year after year around Christmas. All of the characters in the book were well developed, and I felt like I was part of their crazy chosen family. I want to join them all at the cabin next year!
The Groundhog Day situation was well done. She didn’t go back and relive the same thing more than a few times, and before we were even halfway through the book, the plot started to move beyond just that trope. The supernatural—or whatever you want to call it—behind her returning to the same day, though, was never explained, and “the magic of Christmas” just wasn’t enough for me. But because the plot kept moving along and other things started happening, I did more or less forget about it by the end of the book.
I enjoyed that the love interests were a little bit older than right out of high school, but young enough to not be jaded by love (as these types of books often are), which made the epilogue perfect—I wasn’t even cynical about it. Andrew, the love interest, was a little too perfect to be believable (especially when you compare him to flawed-but-likeable Maelyn), but when you see the type of people these characters grew up with/around, it kind of makes sense.
If you like books with big, crazy families, a holiday plotline (obviously), and just a great feel-good love story with a tiny bit of a supernatural twist, you will eat this up faster than you can say “Santa’s favourite holiday cookies.” I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this story.
“Listen, if the universe wants to drop a cursed ring in my lap that I’m supposed to throw into a lava-filled mountain, I’m all for it. But right now this is all I’ve got.” —Christina Lauren, In A Holidaze
Thank you to Ezra Jeffrey Comeau on Unsplash for the featured photo of the wintery cabin.