Christmas clash

Suzanne Park

Book - 2022

"Chloe Kwon can't stand Peter Li. It's always been that way. Their families don't get along either: their parents operate rival restaurants in the Riverwood Mall food court--Korean food for the Kwons and Chinese food for the Lis. Now it's the holiday season and Chloe's the photographer at the mall's Santa Land, and Peter works at the virtual reality North Pole experience right across the atrium. It's all Chloe can do to avoid Peter's smug, incredibly photogenic face. But it turns out the mall is about to be sold to a developer and demolished for condos. Eviction notices are being handed out right before Christmas. Their parents don't know what to do, and soon Chloe and Peter realize that the... two of them need to join efforts to try to save the mall. Just when it seems like they can put aside their differences and work closely (very closely) together, they discover that the Kwon and Li feud goes far deeper than either of them realize"--Provided by publisher.

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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Park (So We Meet Again) utilizes on-point dialogue and an amicable cast to keep the holiday spirit alive in this Romeo and Juliet flavored rom-com. The parents of Korean American Chloe Kwon and Chinese American Peter Li, who run food court restaurants at their local Tennessee mall, have been fiercely competitive for as long as the teens can remember. Following their parents' lead, Chloe and Peter have always had an intense rivalry, which heats up further when they both get mall jobs working at competing seasonal businesses: budding photographer Chloe photographs children with Santa, while Peter operates thrilling virtual reality sleigh rides. When news gets out that the mall will be closing after the holidays, the two high schoolers must set aside their differences to help prevent the closure and save their parents' livelihoods. As they work toward a common goal, the duo navigate varying interpersonal issues, such as Chloe's participation in a national youth photography competition and their growing attraction to each other. Chloe's and Peter's alternating perspectives capably drive this witty novel, an upbeat homage to nostalgic "suburban mall culture." Supporting characters are racially diverse. Ages 14--up. (Oct.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Two teens from competing families team up to thwart the destruction of their local mall. As long as they can remember, high school juniors Chloe Kwon and Peter Li have been told to stay far away from one another. For more than a decade, their families have been sworn enemies in a feud of mysterious origin. Running in different social circles--self-effacing Chloe is in the artsy crowd and genial Peter is an athlete--their interaction in school is minimal, outside of some occasional banter. However, with working competing holiday jobs plus pitching in at their families' restaurants--all at the local mall--their crossing paths is inevitable. And when Chloe and Peter discover a plan for the impending sale and demolition of the mall, they might just need a Christmas miracle. The pair team up in an attempt to save their parents' businesses and change the landlord's mind. Late-night forbidden food swaps, friendly favors, and research into tenant rights find their tentative truce transforming into a budding romance. Dual narration affords a candid look at the two protagonists as they deal with familial miscommunication, racism (Chloe is Korean American; Peter is Chinese American), community organizing--and falling for one another. Chloe's narrative feels dominant as she balances another life-changing event: A subplot about a national youth photography competition sees her discovering her artistic voice. Peter's character development and personal stakes feel less even. A fun rivalry-to-romance romp. (Romance. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.