YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Ex-Mas by Kate Brian

Ex-Mas by Kate Brian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 1st 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3/5 stars)

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith’s parents just left for vacation, and Lila’s all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa.

Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler’s older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila’s musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend.
It’ll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love…all over again?

Review: Ex-Mas, for the most part, was enjoyable. It starts off slow and readers are introduced to Lila. Like most of Kate Brian’s characters, the main character is popular and usually superficial. Lila exhibits many of the same characteristics as typical popular girls, snobby, selfish and irritating. The concept for Ex-Mas is not exactly unique, it has been done before in Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street which I have yet to read but nevertheless I was excited for this book.

Lila’s character was too shallow for me to like, half way through the book while they were on the road-trip, I thought Lila matured but no, she had to ruin everything when they arrived back in L.A. What really pissed me off was that Lila and Beau were actually reconnecting and poof! It suddenly disappears. I don’t want to include any spoilers but if you read the book you’d know what I’m talking about. All I can say is that I was ready to scream “After EVERYTHING you still revert back to your old self, Lila, are you insane?!” Another thing that bugged me was how almost impossible the whole thing sounded. Two young boys alone on a train? If they were so smart and not to mention tech savvy, wouldn’t they have realized that Santa Claus did not exist?

As for Beau, I completely liked and understood him. He’s undoubtedly a realistic and likable character who isn’t bothered about people’s opinion’s of him. The minor characters were somewhat poorly developed and at times unbelievable, and I had a hard time believing the popular girl would suddenly want to be best friends with the nerdy girl. Cooper, however, stood out from the other minor characters. He was surprisingly well-developed. I really liked the innocence and sweetness but as I mentioned above, I have a hard time believing he really thinks Santa exists.

Other than the problems, I found the story light and entertaining. While the whole romance of the story is pretty predictable, but that does not make it any less swell. Fans of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies might enjoy this cute book. Ex-Mas is a great Christmas read that will leave you warm and fuzzy inside.


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