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My New Crush Gave to Me | Shani Petroff | Review

Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Oritz. And she has a plan: to rig the paper's Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Oritz, Teo's cousin and possibly the most annoying person on the planet.

Having recently broken up with her ex-boyfriend, Charlie finds herself without a date to her friend Noelle's Lovers' Ball party, which also happens to be the hottest holiday party around. Everyone at school is talking about it and everyone will know if Charlie shows up dateless. Luckily, Charlie leaves nothing up to chance. Not only is she going to have a date for the party, she's going to have the most perfect date with the most perfect boy, Teo Oritz, and she has the most perfect plan to get it.

Charlie's plan has two parts: 1. Rig the school paper's Secret Santa so she gets Teo and can give him five gifts that show just how well she knows him and 2. Spend as much time with Teo as possible so he can see how great she is. For both of those things she is going to need some help from Teo's cousin, J.D. Fortunately, J.D. is willing to help but unfortunately, that means Charlie has to spend time with J.D too. However, the more time she does spend with him, the more Charlie starts to think that may not be such a bad deal after all.

Charlie needs to be in control of everything and while this story may revolve around a romantic plot, it's as much about Charlie learning to let go of her best laid plans as it is about her finding a date to a party. Charlie's mom has to work on Christmas Day, spoiling the usual traditions that Charlie is so fond of, and in order for J.D. to help her with her plan to get Teo to be her date, she has to give J.D. full control of what photographs appear in the school paper's special holiday edition. Giving up control is not something Charlie does lightly. For Charlie to have a good Christmas she needs to learn that not everything can be planned or controlled, and sometimes things turn out a whole lot better than you might have planned anyway.

With a classic plot and plenty of holiday cheer, My New Crush Gave to Me is the perfect YA read for fans of cheesy Christmas romcoms and ideal for reading snuggled under the duvet with a cup of festive hot cocoa this holiday season. It's a little predictable at times, sure, but just like those romantic Christmas movies we all know and love, that's just part of the cosy charm of it, and there are still always a few fun twists and turns to be found. One of the greatest things about this novel is the friendship between Charlie and her best friend, Morgan, who run a homemade cookie company and edit the school paper together. It's the kind of friendship between girls that I would love to see more of in YA literature, and a really great aspect of this story.

If you're looking for a cosy Christmassy read featuring a Secret Santa plot, an annoying yet lovable neighbour boy, an unforgettable Christmas jumper party, and lots of holiday baking, then this is definitely the book for you.

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