A bookish, diabetic newcomer to her neighborhood lives through one difficult day at the grocery store where she works.
It’s Christmas Eve, so all hands are called to work at GoodFoods, starting early in the morning. Chloe works as a checker there, and she’s not too surprised to find that all the “Younglings” (as Chloe’s favorite shift manager calls them) will be working with her all day. Despite the annoying Christmas music playing throughout the store, all goes fairly well until a TV crew arrives for the opening of the charity box, only to find that the box is nearly empty when it should have held nearly $10,000. Now all under suspicion, the Younglings are held after closing time, waiting for the police to arrive. The wait grows into hours, and Chloe begins to suffer from low blood sugar, but she doesn’t want to reveal her diabetes to anyone. Czukas writes in a chatty, engaging style that makes Chloe’s present-tense account a quick, enjoyable read; Chloe’s compulsive list-making adds some fun. Both the hunt for the thief and Chloe’s impending diabetic crash contribute to the suspense. The real charm of the book is its character study of Chloe and her hesitant outreach to the other characters; although billed as a romance, this is a book about forming friendships.
Charming, fun and insightful. (Fiction. 12-18)