Review: The Charmed List by Julie Abe
*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Ellie Kobata is tired of being the quiet girl. She’s ready to take risks, go on adventures and have an unforgettable summer. That starts with creating her Anti-Wallflower List — 13 items to complete before school starts in the fall. But number four on her list, get revenge on her nemesis Jack Yasuda, goes wrong, Ellie has to spend her epic summer road trip with him instead of her best friend Lia.
Nothing could be worse than driving from Palo Alto to Los Angeles with Jack. But when the two are forced together, maybe they’ve been wrong about each other this whole time. All it takes is a road trip and some magic to change your perspective.
Unfortunately, The Charmed List didn’t charm us. We loved the idea of the Anti-Wallflower List and that a lot of the book takes place during a road trip. However, we found the book to be super slow and boring. We almost DNF’d it half-way through, but choose to continue in hopes it would get better.
There was nothing wrong or problematic with he book. We just weren’t fans of the writing style and couldn’t connect with the characters. Maybe it was because we felt the author tried to throw too much into the book that it felt messy. For example, there’s magical realism, the friends to hate to love trope, an extensive road trip, the trying to get out of your shell trope and a lot of drama with Ellie’s best friend and family.
Overall, The Charmed List wasn’t for us, but a lot of other book bloggers really enjoyed it.
Review: Ex-Mas by Kate Brian
From the bestselling author of Private and Privilege comes contemporary romcom set at Christmastime. Like The Charmed List, this book follows a road trip with two ex-friends.
Lila Beckwith and Beau Hodges were best friends and even dated in middle school and early high school. But they grew apart. Lila choosing to get an in with the popular crowd and Beau being a loner and focusing on his music. Too bad they still have to interact since their little brothers are besties.
When Lila’s parents go away a few days before Christmas, they leave Lila in charge of Cooper. Except Cooper basically ruined her life by telling their parents about the party Lila planned. To get revenge, Lila leaves an article out about how climate change is melting the North Pole, which means Santa is in danger. Along with his best friend Tyler, Cooper heads North to try to save Christmas.
This leaves Lila and Beau to try to drive from Los Angeles to Seattle to find their brothers before their parents notice. Too bad these smart kids took a train and seem to be one step ahead of their older siblings. If they don’t get home by Christmas Eve, Lila won’t be allowed to leave her house again until college.
Ex-Mas was a really fun read. We found it to be creative and perfect for the holidays. It’s relatable as a kid to want to save Santa.
While we found Lila annoying and shallow at first, she grew on us. We enjoyed her character development throughout the road trip and getting the details of why she broke up with Beau years ago. Beau wasn’t faultless either. He had too much pride, which got in the way of what he really wanted. The two shared some cute moments, especially with the snowball fight in Seattle.
Overall, Ex-Mas is a light and quick read. We enjoyed the winter romance book and the funny antics that happened along the journey.