Two lovelorn teens connect on Christmas Eve.
A blizzard has struck New York City, grounding Charlotte’s plane home to Britain. Charlotte is still getting over a rough breakup, and on a whim she purchases Get Over Your Ex in Ten Easy Steps! from the trashy airport gift shop. Before long Charlotte bumps into Anthony, who has just been dumped by his long-distance girlfriend, returning to the city for the holidays. The pair lick their wounds and unite to perform the 10 steps enumerated as they travel across the city. The author hangs smart character work and swooning romance upon this structure, teasing out the main characters’ hang-ups and quirks while effectively fanning the flames of their romance. The book’s pace is neither frantic nor too navel-gazey, with these well-rounded protagonists bouncing off a variety of tertiary characters that are less developed but move the plot forward at all times. Charlotte and Anthony, both white, aren’t the most original pair, but there’s a pleasant ease to their chemistry that will have readers rooting for them. The clichéd backdrop of “Christmas Eve in New York” doesn’t overplay its twee possibilities. There’s certainly a bit of magic in the city, but the grit of the real New York pokes out here and there.
A sweetly paced and smartly wrought romance. (Fiction. 12-16)