Hot Cocoa Hearts

Hot Cocoa Hearts(First lines currently unavailable.  I took the book to school before I got them down.  Sorry!)

Ok, so this is going to be a slightly different book than I usually read.  This is 100% a middle school book, but this is an author that my middle school girls love.  It seems like they’ve all read something Suzanne Nelson has written.  So I wanted in on it.

If Emery had to pick a Christmas character she’s most like, it would be the Grinch.  She’s so over Christmas and all the hype.  Ugh.  To make it all worse, her parents are forcing her to work as an elf at their Santa photo booth in the mall.  The only silver lining is meeting Alejandro Perez, who works at the hot cocoa store next door.  Alejandro is totally into Christmas, though.  But the more time Emery spends with Alex, the more she starts to wonder if she’s really the Grinch she thinks she is.  When a Secret Santa exchange turns her world upside-down, will she embrace the Christmas spirit in time to truly enjoy the season?

I really needed a Christmas book, and this was definitely cute.  I mean, I am totally Alex in this situation (I even bought thigh-high red and white striped elf socks that I totally want to wear to school on the last day before break…to wear as I carol in the hallways.  I am going to be branded as “lame” and loving it.)

Anywho, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect with this, since I’d never read anything by this author before.  And it’s been an awful long time since I was a middle school student myself.  There were some times that I felt like it was a little immature or that Emery should have seen something coming, but I could usually think about my students and go, “Nope, it’s pretty on target with what they know/do.”

While it is incredibly predictable (at least to me, maybe not to my students), it does have a lot of heart.  There’s a lot of good stuff in here about getting into the spirit of Christmas and really understanding traditions and why we do them.  As someone who sticks very closely to my Christmas traditions, I loved seeing that feeling put down into words.

So it may not be the most exciting read, but it’s cute and it’s got a lot of emotion packed into it.  I definitely recommend this to anyone who knows a middle school girl who loves romance.


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