Charlotte (Charlie) Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He’s the school’s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he’s exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.
But Charlie is determined to be Teo’s date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper’s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo’s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He’s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he’s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she’s stuck with him.
Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?
My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff follows the main character Charlie who is the co-editor of the school paper and has just broken up with her long-term boyfriend. There is the Christmas ball coming up and she needs a date, but it has to be someone better than her ex. Right at the beginning of the book, there was this classic high-school romance interation where the guy bumps into her and she drops what she’s carrying and then the guy bends down to help her pick it up and she falls head over heels for him. Our main character Charlie then goes on to try and get him, Teo, to be her date for this big Christmas ball.
She crafts a plan to pick him for secret santa and plans to give him several gifts throughout the book to show him how much she really knows him and cares for him. Only, Charlie doesn’t know him that well so she asks help from his cousin, J.D.. The two of them then set out and work together to pick out Teo the perfect gifts. J.D. is the self-proclaimed perfect gift giver and he seems to prove himself as this time and time again.
At the beginning of this book, I wasn’t particularly enjoying it. I found Charlie, the main character, really annoying. Even as the book progressed, I still didn’t really find her likeable. She often reacted irrationally and dramatically and it wasn’t something that I could really get on board with. Charlie is the tpye of person who likes things done properly. Things have to be done her way, on time and set to a plan. She came across as quite selfish in a lot of her interactions with other characters, such as J.D.. J.D. is the opposite of Charlie in every respect and in the end I do think it was a good thing, because it got them both to try and meet on this middle ground.
I think I really started to get sucked into it when she started her interactions with J.D. They do not get along. They are constantly bickering and disagreeing. Charlie has this preconception in her mind about what J.D. is like, but at every corner he proves her wrong. I found there interactions entertaining, though not groundbreaking, they were funny and I think J.D. was probably my favourite character.
The romance aspect of this book was a little dry. The interactions between Teo and Charlie were few and far between and there wasn’t anything in the first half of the book that really made me understand why Charlie was going to such effort to try and win him. The second half of this book was where it started to flourish. I did end up finishing it pretty quickly and once I got to a certain point I couldn’t stop.
The story was predictable. There is no denying that. However, it was exactly the light-hearted Christmas story that I was looking for. There were times that I just wanted to shake Charlie for not realising what was happening in front of her. It didn’t bother me that I knew where the story was going, though I think this may bother some readers.
It was a really quick read and I did enjoy it overall. I would recommend if you’re looking for a cheesey, light-hearted story with the backdrop of Christmas.
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