In a Holidaze
by Christina Lauren
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Gallery Books
Number of pages: 334
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/F
Read 1/12/21 to 1/13/21
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.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
As you can probably tell from the description of this book, this is a Groundhog Day loop story. I don’t recall ever reading a book using this plot device so I was quite curious how it would play out. When it comes to that aspect of this story, I was all in at first. The authors did a great job of setting things up so the reader wasn’t lost in the dust the first time the loop happened. After the second loop, while I was still enjoying how things were going, I had the thought in the back of my mind about how this could end up getting repetitive as it plays out differently on paper than it does in a movie. Never fear, just as I was truly on the precipice of getting annoyed if it happened one more time, the authors took the story in a direction that pulled me fully in and kept me engaged without feeling things were getting stale.
Since Mae hit puberty and realized boys were anything other than icky, she’s had a crush on Andrew. Their parents have been best friends since college, so she grew up with Andrew and his brother Theo. Every major holiday has been spent together their whole lives. Here they are, in their late 20s, spending yet another Christmas together at his family’s cabin, and things begin to run off the rails.
The beginning of this story kept me guessing. While I wholeheartedly believed that Andrew was an amazing guy and that Mae was infatuated with him, I wasn’t sure if that was where destiny would take her. There was also Theo in the mix since it seems he had some sort of romantic feelings toward Mae. Or did he? I cannot tell you how many leaps from one scenario to another my mind took when it came to Mae and why she was caught in this loop and who she was supposed to be with, if anyone.
While I’d definitely call this a romance because of things that start happening about halfway through, I really enjoyed the banter and antics of this group of friends as a whole. Even though there were certain characters we saw more than others, the authors did a beautiful job of giving them all their own distinct personalities. I would have loved to see Benny used a bit more throughout this story, but things still ran smoothly without him having to be more involved. The dynamic really worked for all the scenarios Mae found herself in as she tried to figure out what the heck was going on.
I’m purposefully being vague so as not to give away the reason Mae is looping. Of course, there are always things people need to realize about themselves, the direction their lives are going, etc. Mae is just given the advantage of setting things on the correct course. Destiny forces her to get out of her own way and take a step out of her comfort zone in order for her to live her best life.