Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
It’s December, which means I am all about that holiday reading. But don’t worry, I won’t completely bombard you with holiday themed books this season (although I can recommend a few great new YA books!). However, this one was so delightful I HAVE to shout about it.
Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Betty was once an influencer, but now that she’s lost all her money she’s squatting in a dead woman’s house and fervently hoping her successful, rich family members don’t find out. Of course, the ruse becomes impossible to maintain as Christmas approaches and Betty’s not sure how she’s going to get through it until she accidentally drunkenly summons the Holiday Spirit. Hall, for short. Hall is handsome, exuberant, and he loves the holidays. At first Betty thinks his magic is just what she needs in order to convince her family that she’s doing great actually, never been better, but it’s not long before Betty has to admit that the holiday spirit might be growing on her.
I saw this book described on Instagram as “delightfully unhinged” and I can confirm it is indeed that, and much more! This is a romance novel for people who like Schitts’ Creek and enjoy watching Elf every December, and I struggle to remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud as much as this one did. Hall is basically everything you’d expect him to be — over the top, magical, endlessly enthusiastic, and full of quirks. Betty is mostly grumpy and vain to start, but even though most of us would be rolling our eyes at her shallow tendencies, Hogle does a great job of giving readers peeks at the real, vulnerable Betty from the beginning, so you can’t help but want to root for her.
This book also does a great job of packing in a lot of the spirit of the holiday season, which is in fact full of mayhem and angst as well as happiness and cheer. I ended up loving the dysfunctional family, and the plot took some truly wild turns that had me laughing and always wondering what was going to happen next. (The Dancing with the Stars scene undid me.) If you want to laugh and you’re willing to go with a banana-pants Christmas book, then definitely pick this one up!
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