When three very different siblings, Fern, Rowan and Willow, go home for a Christmas reunion at their family home in Edinburgh, it’s not long before some VERY BIG SECRETS threaten their cosy holiday …
The McAllister house on Arboretum Road has seen 120 Christmases since its completion.
This year, FERN is bringing her gorgeous boyfriend home and she wants everything to be perfect.
But her twin brother ROWAN would rather go on the pull than pull crackers with the family.
And their younger sister WILLOW is terrified of Christmas Day.
With FOUR sleeps till Christmas,
THREE secretive siblings,
TWO hot houseguests,
And ONE juicy secret …
This Christmas, there will be some BIG surprises under the tree.
Sometimes at Christmas, you don’t get what you want, you get what you need…
I don’t tend to read that many festive books, but I was drawn to this one and I ended up buddy reading it with a couple of friends for our December book club pick which was a lot of fun! I’ve read some of Juno’s books before and found them quite mixed, so I was a little hesitant going into this one but I really enjoyed it.
I was half expecting a thriller, from the taglines on the front of the book and synopsis. However, this is more of a high drama contemporary set around a family and written from the points of view of the 3 siblings. I really enjoyed the family drama and I could never guess where the book was going, which kept me interested throughout. I also liked the close-knit group involved in the story, and the side-characters began to feel like main characters the more we read about them.
There were a lot of heavy discussions throughout, including discussions about self harm and eating disorders. Although I can’t give my opinion on this from any kind of personal experience, I felt these discussions were handled with care and attention, and I appreciated the trigger warnings in the front of the book.
The characters were messy and chaotic, but Juno weaves something so clever throughout the story and I couldn’t help but root for them. They might make mistakes and not always treat people brilliantly, but they have their own reasons and it makes them real.
I also appreciated the non-binary and bisexual rep, and I loved having a non-binary side character without a coming-out story or discussion of their gender in depth, it just came across naturally. The discussions of racism, sexism and gender were witty and sharp, and again, felt very real.
Overall, there was a lot to love about this book and the short chapters and constant chaos made it very hard to put down. Although it was a little too neatly wrapped for the amount of mess that happened throughout the story, I couldn’t help but be happy for the characters and root for them. And it is Christmas, after all.
4 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽