In a Holidaze | By Christina Lauren
Book Review | Contemporary Romance
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 collide. 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 hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
Narrative and Plot
Like everyone else in the bookish community, the idea of a holiday romance set up in an Edge of Tomorrow scenario had me hooked. I say Edge of Tomorrow because honestly; I didn’t watch Hollywood movies during the Groundhog day era. Anyway, steering back to the topic in hand, In a Holidaze hits all the beats that you expect from a repetitive narrative storyline. It doesn’t get too caught up. You are there with the main character, taking in the confusion, the dread, and the frustration – all of it.
The plot doesn’t linger too much on that aspect. It draws a clear path demonstrating how a person can act completely differently if they realize that their actions can be erased with the possibility that there won’t be any consequences if or when things go wrong. Only, life doesn’t work like that. And that’s when the plot goes deeper while exploring a simple theme – what does happiness mean for Mae?
Characters and Conflicts
It won’t be wrong to say that Mae was the prime focus of the story. She has a character arc that we follow closely. It is her fears and trepidations that we witness during the course of a holiday that brings out the emotional weight of a lifetime. Looking back, it feels like her character development overshadowed the others simply because this particular narrative needed to focus on her. Except for Miles, because even in an alternate reality, the sibling dynamic came through. Or perhaps that’s just something I was looking for.
Romance is the central conflict. It is justified, what with the two main characters having a sizzling chemistry and a shared history and understanding of each other. This whole scenario opened a realm of possibility that neither knew was there. It escalated quickly and that caused quite a stir, making it an inevitable page-turner.
Overall, this is a holiday tale with a whimsical touch that can take you on this joy ride. At the same time, it explores the most basic conflict that any self-loving person must have had at some point in their life. What makes one really happy? Sometimes curling up with a feel-good book such as this after a wholesome meal with a family can make one happy. If you’re that person, make sure you pick this one up at least for the next holiday season.