Review by Booklist Review
Sophie's looking forward to Christmas alone: while her parents stay with her very pregnant sister, Sophie will cuddle up to Griffin, her longtime boyfriend. But then she overhears Griffin telling a friend that he's tired of her. A devastated Sophie heads to her grandmother's house, where the boisterous extended family she grew up with, but has grown away from, is waiting for her with a plan: 10 family members will send her on blind dates. The dates vary in quality: her aunt sends her to a living nativity with a handsy 14-year-old; her cousin scores tickets to an underground party with a total hottie; and her evil twin cousins . . . well, they're evil. And now Griffin's begging for a second chance that Sophie isn't sure she wants to give. The repeating first-date structure means things never get too intense between Sophie and her dates and keeps the focus on her relationship with her family. This piece-by-piece romance doesn't need its Christmas theme to sell, but it makes it glitter all the more.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
After overhearing her boyfriend tell a friend that he might want to call his relationship off, Sophie, 17, breaks up with him, then heads to Shreveport, La., to spend Christmas with her large, extended Italian-American family while her parents care for her pregnant sister, who has preeclampsia. When she arrives and shares the story with her grandmother, Nonna decides to set Sophie up on 10 blind dates, each concocted by a different family member. Much to Sophie's horror, her relatives, including "weird Aunt Patrice" and her "evil" twin cousins, are all too eager to take part, even creating a chart for the project. In a funny holiday romance that has Sophie dog-sitting in a hockey rink, watching porn at a drive-in theater, and playing the Virgin Mary in a middle school Nativity, Elston (The Rules for Disappearing) cleverly reflects the family members' personalities through their choices of dates for Sophie. Reflective moments balance the comedy as Sophie comes to realize how much her family means to her and is surprised by a possible romance. With its predictably happy outcome, the book closes with a comforting, if tidy, note. Ages 12--up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Oct.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--Seventeen-year-old Sophie is looking forward to spending Christmas with her boyfriend Griffin, until she overhears him at a party telling one of his friends that he wants to break up with her. Since her parents are taking care of her pregnant older sister (who has superimposed preeclampsia) over the holidays, Sophie heads to her grandparents' house in Shreveport, LA to lick her wounds. But her big, boisterous Italian-American family has its own ideas about what Sophie needs. Instead of peace and quiet, she is subjected to a series of 10 blind dates between December 20th and New Year's Eve, each orchestrated by a different member of her family. The dates range from fun (an exclusive, edgy Christmas party) to kooky (a "living nativity" where Sophie plays Mary, complete with live baby) to downright awkward (a drive-in theater screening porn), but as Sophie meets a range of boys, she also develops rich new bonds with the family members who are setting up the dates. While the premise will attract readers seeking a fluffy holiday romance, the characters have limited depth, the dialogue is bland, and the plot is entirely predictable. Its most satisfying moments focus not on Sophie's romantic trajectory but on her anxious, heartfelt relationship with her older sister and her preemie niece. VERDICT The literary equivalent of a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, this book is likely to find an audience despite its weaknesses. Readers seeking a holiday romance would be better served by Cynthia Hand's The Afterlife of Holly Chase or Stephanie Kate Strohm's Prince in Disguise.--Elizabeth Giles, Lubuto Library Partners, Zambia
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn't thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents' house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart10 blind dates, each set up by different family membersshe's even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie's dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie's Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.