Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

by Heather Caliendo
review in a holidaze - book club chat

Editorial note: I received a copy of In a Holidaze in exchange for a review.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren is such a fun and enjoyable holiday-themed book.

I started watching Hallmark Christmas movies back in October so I’m clearly ready for the holiday season! But I don’t tend to read that many holiday books—maybe about one a year at the most. I like some of the ones I’ve read, especially The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan, but I find the others are either way too heavy on the romance or are too much of a generic story.

When I saw Christina Lauren, the author duo behind many romcoms, wrote a holiday story this year, I definitely was interested. I like their laid-back writing style, even if I don’t always think the story is the best (cough The Honey-Don’t List). But I had high hopes that In a Holidaze would be a nice break from more intense and serious reads. And it was! It’s by far my favorite story I’ve read from this duo.

The synopsis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Groundhog Day with a twist

I love the movie Groundhog Day and if you haven’t watched it, add it to your list immediately! It’s pretty much the defining measurement of this concept: where the protagonist is in a time-loop of sorts and they experience the same days/events, while the rest of the world is oblivious. And that’s just what happens to Mae. One minute it seems her family is in a horrific car accident and the next, she’s boarding a plane to start the holidays all over again. It’s pretty entertaining as Mae is absolutely confused as hell about what’s going on and I love when she recruits her parents’ hippie friend Benny to help her.

Don’t expect any reasoning about why Mae is experiencing this—just roll with it. Eventually she somewhat adjusts and realizes that this crazy time loop might be helping her lead the life she’s always wanted to all along.

Christmas romance

I loved the setting in a cabin in Utah. And it’s a pretty cool idea that Mae’s parents and their friends always spend the holidays together. This also means Mae grew up with their sons Theo and Andrew. And when she was a teenager, Mae developed a huge crush on Andrew, which he’s completely unaware of. You can see where the story is going to go, right? I have to say, I liked the romance and how it developed. And while Christina Lauren likes to go heavy on steam content, it wasn’t so much in this one so if that’s not your thing, don’t let that deter you. I actually thought it was overall a very sweet story.

And the holiday elements are super fun! It’s such a nice distraction read.

This is a cute, low stakes read that will get you in the holiday spirit. Highly recommend! Check out my book club questions here.

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