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Colleen Hoover is a terrific writer and is fast becoming one of my favorites. Right off the bat, I have to point out that I am not at all sure if thisColleen Hoover is a terrific writer and is fast becoming one of my favorites. Right off the bat, I have to point out that I am not at all sure if this book is really more Young Adult, New Adult or just fiction, as the publisher has it. The protagonist is a 17-year-old girl, Merit Voss, and the book revolves around her, her dysfunctional family and mental illness. That said, it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that I couldn’t put it down and it was an excellent, emotional read – what I’ve come to expect from this author.
Merit has been having a rough time lately. She has a huge crush on her identical twin sister Honor’s boyfriend Sagan and can’t really see how or why those two are together. Her relationship with her sister and her older brother Utah has deteriorated to the point where she feels like a third wheel. At one point she passively-aggressively decides to stop speaking to anyone in her family and wait to see how long it takes for anyone to notice – and they don’t.
The Voss family live in a house that is also a bit nutty – it was a church that their father bought in anger at the pastor and his barking dog. They used to live in the house behind the church, so now they own both. Merit’s father is remarried to an oncology nurse, Victoria, who he met while she was caring for his first wife, also named Victoria. Wife number one has recovered from her cancer but has a severe case of agoraphobia and lives in the basement of the church. She has her own apartment there and her kids bring her food and occasional company.
Every character is a bit off, but all have redeeming qualities and most are endearing in one way or another. This is one nutty family but it is Merit who is the narrator here so everything is taken from the point of view of a teenager who takes teenage-angst to a new level.
The story moves on its characters, and the reader can’t help but be sucked into this family and their problems. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop, and I was very sorry to turn the last page. As an aside, I was especially appreciative of the link to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website.
These characters are going to stay with me for a long time. If you love quirky family stories that delve into real problems, you won’t want to miss this book. I loved it....more
Yay! Debbie's back with another terrific Christmas book. After her last super Christiany (is that a word? Spell check doesn't think so) Any Dream WillYay! Debbie's back with another terrific Christmas book. After her last super Christiany (is that a word? Spell check doesn't think so) Any Dream Will Do, a standalone novel, I was a little nervous thinking that maybe that was the direction she was going to be going in all her books. But it wasn't. The Macomber I love is back and she remains my favorite author of Christmas stories.
This book was a direct ripoff of "You've Got Mail," one of my favorite movies ever (which in itself was a remake of "The Shop Around the Corner") and believe me, I am not complaining about that. In fact, Macomber even mentions it, poking a bit of fun at herself and I loved that moment.
Merry Knight is a hard-working temp filling in for someone on leave for a year. Her time at the company is up on Dec. 23, and she's been socking away the money so she can go back to college and finish up. She lives at home with her parents and her brother, who has some challenges and she has enormous patience with all of them.
Her boss, Jaysen, is a bit of a jerk. He is the type who reads the rule book and lives by the rules. No eating at your desk. No holiday decorations. And so on. She has a nameplate on her desk that says "Mary" and the HR department is not inclined to correct it as she is only a temp, so Jaysen thinks that is her name.
For an early birthday gift, Merry's parents and her brother buy her a subscription to an online dating service. It's really not something that she wants, but her brother and mother are so excited about it that she doesn't have the heart to tell them. They set up an account for her, using her dog's picture instead of her own.
Jaysen's best friend is getting married. He met his fiancée on an online dating site, so Jaysen decides to check it out. He is drawn to the dog account and uses a picture of his old dog as well. "Jay" signs on and he and Merry start chatting online and they both are infatuated rather quickly. But when they arrange to meet, Merry sees who "Jay" really is and takes off, leaving him frustrated and both of them upset.
Meanwhile, Jaysen realizes he's been acting like a jerk at work and starts trying harder to be more pleasant. He soon finds himself attracted to "Mary" and well, you can see where this is going. Let's just say they find their happily ever after, but not before there are more roadblocks to overcome.
I suspect this will become another Hallmark Chrismas movie. Just a hunch though, we cut the cord and don't have cable or the Hallmark channel anymore...which I would gladly pay for if Hallmark would get with the times and offer their channels to us cord cutters! But I digress.
Another fun Christmas story from the Queen of Christmas. Loved it!...more