*Thank you to Denise Jaden for sending me A Christmas Kerril. I received this book in exchange for a honest review.*
Sorry that I have been M.I.A. I have been preoccupied by the holidays. However, I promise you that I have some incredible posts coming soon!
Synopsis: In this modern take on a holiday classic, high school junior, Kerril, faces her past, present, and future to be reminded of the good in others, and in herself.
Haunted by the memory of the worst of her divorced parents’ public Christmas blowouts, Kerril, will do almost anything to avoid the upcoming tinsel-filled season. Unfortunately, a teacher with a grudge casts Kerril as the lead in the school’s holiday production. To add to the misery, she will star alongside ultra-awkward Adam as her love interest.
Wanting to ditch the play, Adam, her parents, and Christmas altogether, Kerril accepts an invitation to take off to a cabin with her ultimate dream crush, Perry – only Perry may not be the guy she hoped he was, and it’s not until she’s left Adam behind to fend for himself onstage that she realizes he might just be the guy of her dreams.
Description of the Plot: Throughout the story, we follow Kerril, a somewhat scrooge who has hated Christmas since the year that her parents had a huge brawl in front of her town resulting in the parent’s divorce. Following her parents separation, Kerril has stood by her mom and has avoided her dad at all costs. However, Kerril still remains in the middle of the family’s war.
At school, Kerril is faced with several dilemmas as well. Kerril’s best friend, Brooke, is determined to make Kerril and her new friend, Aysha, close. However, Kerril is not a fan of Aysha especially when she starts to date Kerril’s crush, Perry. Soon, Perry and Kerril become close and things between the three become complicated.
Also, Kerril is being forced to star in a play called ‘A Christmas Kerril’. Kerril believes that this is a revenge scheme created by Adam because of her making fun of his speech problem when he started school. Despite what happened, Kerril and Adam become close and Kerril begins to have dreams of great importance that feature him.
Actual Review: My overall opinion of the book is good. However, I thought it would be easier to state the negative traits of this book first. The one thing I have against the story is the cheating. I have never been a fan of cheating in books. Even in books I love, I still feel a little resentment for the cheating characters.
Now onto my positive review! I rarely read holiday books. However, this story has encouraged me to read more holiday based books. The greatest thing about this book was how unique it was to other holiday adaptations of A Christmas Carol. I may not read Christmas book, but I do watch an unhealthy amount of Hallmark Christmas movies that have an A Christmas Carol vibe! I can honestly say that I never watch a Hallmark movie similar to this book. I believe this could be a great book-to-movie adaptation for Hallmark Movie Network. Another thing I enjoyed was the characters. I felt that the characters, with the slight exception of Kerril and Perry, were easily likable. Finally, I enjoyed the topics that the book addressed and the overall theme of the story!
- What is your book, A Christmas Kerril, about?
A Christmas Kerril is a reimagining of the Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. In this YA novel, a modern-day teenage “scrooge,” Kerril, experiences her past, present, and future through lucid dreams, and must decide between filling her selfish desires, or making herself truly happy—by helping others.
- What inspired you to write your book?
I was recently critiquing a friend’s novel, a YA retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and I loved the idea of retellings. I’m also a big fan of all things Christmas (I leave my tree up year-round) and was very familiar with A Christmas Carol. I hadn’t seen a teen retelling of this one, so I thought it would be a fun story to reimagine.
- Which character do you relate to most in your book?
I relate to a lot of the characters in different ways. With Kerril, I relate to her in her desire to do what’s best, but still somehow making stupid mistakes. How many times have we all made stupid mistakes, and then the more you try to cover up or make up for your mistakes, the deeper you seem to dig yourself? I relate to Brooke in that I tend to look a little too much on the bright side of life, even ignoring reality sometimes. I relate to Adam (my favorite character in the story) in that I am the type of person to push past my fears, sometimes putting myself in ridiculously difficult situations in order to overcome them.
- Which character was the hardest to create?
Kerril was the most difficult character to create. She’s loosely based on Scrooge, and so I realize many readers will have trouble warming up to her, especially when she is at her most selfish stages. But I saw the depth of her and how much she really did want to be a good and helpful and loving person, and I hope I was able to deliver that side of her to readers as well.
- What do you think readers will enjoy most about your book?
I think readers who enjoy retellings and reimaginings will enjoy the uniqueness of this story. I hope they’ll also enjoy the voice and bits of humor.
- If there is one thing readers get from this book, what would you want it to be?
I’d love for readers to take away that we all make mistakes, but it’s never too late to turn your life around, to have a better outlook. Also, that helping others will always bring more personal joy than helping yourself.
- What is it like being an author? What is scary about it? What is great?
I love writing and telling stories, and would not give up my career for that reason alone. The publishing side can be scary—not knowing what books will sell, which ones will resonate or offend. The most rewarding part, at least for me, is hearing from readers who have really connected to one of my characters or books.
- What has been your greatest experience throughout your journey of writing your novels?
One of my greatest experiences was hearing from a reader who had been struggling with an eating disorder and with cutting. After hearing her painful story, she told me my book, Never Enough, was a comfort to her and helped get her through her days without hurting herself. I look back at that letter often and it reminds me of all the wonderful connections I’ve made with readers. It reminds me of why I do this.
- What advice do you have to give to new authors?
I’d say to try really hard not to compare yourself to other writers, at any stage in your career. When you’re first writing, you may compare the amount of agent requests you get with someone else. The next thing you know, you’re comparing publishing deals, foreign sales, and movie rights—or lack thereof. The list goes on and on, and it can be all-consuming and leave you feeling depressed and inadequate. I encourage all writers to focus on and enjoy their own journey, whatever that may be. There are joys to each stage, if you remember to look for them.
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