Hi, hello! It’s Cossette here, with our first round of holiday showcases — this time, I’m recommending In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. For as long as she can remember, twenty-six year old Maelyn “Mae” Jones and her family, along with some family friends, have spent the holidays at a cabin in Utah. While Christmas, and the cabin, have always been a special place for Maelyn, this year is a little different. Between being stuck working at a job where she’s under-appreciated and undervalued, finding out that the cabin is being sold, and accidentally making out with the wrong brother, this Christmas isn’t off to a great start so far. Tired and lost, Maelyn sends a wish to the universe to show her what will make her happy, not expecting to be thrown into a Groundhog Day-esque time-loop until she figures it out for herself. Will Maelyn figure out what will make her happy in time for Christmas?
- Title: In a Holidaze
- Author: Christina Lauren
- Publisher: Gallery Books
- Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
- Age Range: Adult
- Trigger warnings: car accident, brief mention of cancer
Even though it’s not quite Christmas yet, I’m currently listening to Christmas carols and wishing for winter weather. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m absolutely not a “winter weather” person — I’m not much for the cold, or winter in general, but In a Holidaze has me wishing for snow, wanting to light up candles, and string up Christmas lights. While not my favorite Christina Lauren book (Autoboyography still holds the reigning title for that), In a Holidaze is definitely in my top three, if not my top two.
If I died today, what would be written about me? That I’m an obsessive peacekeeper? That I put together a serviceable spreadsheet? That I also loved art? That I couldn’t ever figure out what it was that I truly wanted? Tuning out the sounds of Judy Garland on the radio, I close my eyes and make a silent plea: Universe. What am I doing with my life/ Please. I want… I’m not even sure how to finish the sentence. I want to be happy, and I’m petrified that the path I’m on now is going to leave me bored and alone. So I ask the universe, simply: Can you show me what will make me happy?
In In a Holidaze, Christina Lauren explores what it means to truly be happy. Maelyn is simply skating through life, settling for what comes her way instead of taking risks. She’s spent the majority of her life playing the role of peacemaker, especially after her parents’ divorce, to the point that it feeds into the other aspects of her life. And so, when Maelyn wondered what she’d be remembered by, and what it means to be happy, I couldn’t help but do the same. In a Holidaze is an existential crisis, wrapped up in a rom com, and it’s everything that I would’ve wanted from it. It’s equal parts funny and real and all too relatable to anyone in their twenties, although I’m sure it’d be relatable to others as well. After all, we’ve all pondered the meaning of happiness, and how we want to be remembered. Maelyn’s character development felt authentic to me. I loved watching her stand up for herself, her relationships with her family – including her chosen one, and actively take steps to ensure that she was happy. It was really important to me that Maelyn was able to come to the realization that her happiness wasn’t dependent on a guy, but on herself.
Christina Lauren has always excelled at writing romance that leaves me feeling things, and this book was no different. I found myself genuinely rooting for Andrew and Maelyn to get together, and found them a really endearing couple. I’m a sucker for all the tropes, but childhood friends to lovers is one that I don’t get to read as often, and I loved the way Andrew and Maelyn – or Mandrew and Maisie, as they called each other – were written here. Something that I especially appreciated was how they communicated with one another, and how you could pinpoint the moment when their relationship finally shifted. Their development felt natural, and even though they had been “dating” for a very short period of time, their “I Love You”s felt like it had progressed naturally. After all, they’d known each other for years. I will say, however, the way that Andrew was described was a little too perfect to me. I felt like he simply didn’t have any faults of his own.
While others might think the time loop got repetitive, I felt like it allowed us to view how Maelyn was trying to figure out what was going on; any fewer time loops and it wouldn’t have been as believable. Overall, I would recommend In a Holidaze to anyone looking for a feel-good holiday read!
About the Authors
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced sixteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received multiple starred reviews, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, been inducted into the Library Reads Hall of Fame, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. They have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, O Magazine and more.