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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 


Yet Another Reason to be Put on the Naughty List

North Pole Reform School - Jaimie Admans

Note: There's an actual picture of my pathetic tree on my blog, so if you want to see it click on the below link.


If you don’t know this by now, I’m sort of a Christmas-holic.


I actually sort of got my tree out in October (which is Nutcracker theme).  Though in hindsight, I guess it should be expected.  My mother has like five trees in our house- a gingerbread, bird, retro, Santa, and Victorian themed tree.   So yeah, blame my love for Christmas on genetics and cheesy Lifetime movies.


Which is why when I saw North Pole Reform School being advertised as a free Prime rental I had to go for it because hello North Pole and YA it should be awesome.
So, how did it go?


Okay.  As far as self pubs go, I’ve read worse. Technically the editing was bearable, either that or I’ve gotten way better at ignoring comma errors on my Kindle and the book was overall cute.  But just because the  manuscript was readable doesn’t make this the best Christmas book ever.


That still goes to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever if your wondering.


However, North Pole Reform School had its moments.  I guess if I was going to describe what it’s like, it would be like a decent made for TV movie. You know where the acting and plot are relatively cheesy, but something about it keeps you watching.

The plot of the book is pretty simple.  Mistletoe (yes, that’s our MC’s name, I know) is sent to North Pole reform school after supposedly ruining someone’s Christmas.

You’ll find that this is where I throw my biggest bitch fit in regards to this particular book.


As for a MC, Mistletoe isn’t horrible but she’s not great.  I just wish she would’ve taken charge of her situation a little more.  If I was kidnapped by a big purple moose and was held hostage by elves, you bet your donuts I’d be rebelling.  But Mistletoe is just sort of fine with it.  Oh, she mouths off but she doesn’t really try to scape or cause havoc in the North Pole.


That would be just too awesome for her.


Instead, she learns a Christmas lesson.   Get me some  spiked eggnog, now.

That was the worst part of this book: the lessons.  Which I thought were fucked up.  I’m sorry, Mistletoe’s greatest sin is that she hates being born on Christmas Eve since her dad is too busy playing Santa than taking her to the Cheesecake factory and an accident (which was not intentional and not her fault in any way) causes some idiotic moron to end up in the burn unit.  But because of some stupid kid who thought it was smart to touch a tree that was on fire, Mistletoe (better known as Misty) is sent to North Pole Reform School.  And at the end she learns she was wrong.


As a December baby, I object.


Actually, I object as a person.


I hate saying this, but I hate lessons in books.  Maybe it was because I’m still getting over all the book lessons I was forced to read as a kid or maybe it’s because I have been watching too many ABC Family made for TV movies where they preach mediocrity.  But fuck that lesson is terrible.  Mistletoe and most of the other characters did nothing wrong.  And the elves explanation, well, it would never hold up in a court of law.


Maybe that’s the problem.  I wanted to go all lawyer on these elves asses.  Or maybe, I just wanted to have see Mistletoe rebel against the elves a little more.  There was hope though, the fact that the book made Santa (the current Santa) a crazy ass  made me smile, but then the book had to go all Santa Clause and…I warn you the ending is just really groan worthy especially how only men can be Santa.


Oh, yeah.


Women can never hope to be Santa.  A woman can do other things, I guess like being a U.S. Supreme Court justice, a prime minister, a princess, or even a solider, but forget Santa.  And yeah, I get there’s the whole beard thing but that didn’t stop Queen Hatshepsut from being the ruler of Egypt.


Obviously, those elves didn’t study world history or for that matter human blood sugar.  Eating cookies as a main course for every meal does not make for a healthy diet.  And yes, I get where the book was going here, I had to roll my eyes at this.  I actually had to roll my eyes at a lot of things.  Much like I do in ABC Family Christmas movies.

Though I don’t think I can get past the zombie thing.  That was just a little too illy placed and not explained that well to me.  Maybe if it would’ve been utilized better it would’ve made a bit more sense, but it just seemed like a random plot point thrown in there because The Walking Dead is popular.


Honestly, though, when I think of this book I really do see it as an ABC Family movie.  Its cutsey, the characters are just defined enough to be likable-ish, but at heart its shallow.  I really do wish the whole lesson thing wouldn’t be so draconic.  The elves were wrong.  To see some rebellion would’ve been hilarious, alas this is not the case with this book.  The ending also had me fuming.  It wasn’t a horrible ending, per say, but it’s almost as if the author forget the kids were teens.  I just had real difficulties with what was done.  And I have to wonder is Luke still hot or does he look like Santa now?

I know, purely shallow and some people do find Santa hot (hello, that obnoxious song “Santa Baby”)…but…but…this is YA.  And Santa is not supposed to be hot in YA.