Title: North Pole Reform School
Author: Jaimie Admans
Published Date: October 22, 2013
Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
Rating: See Reviews Below
***THIS BOOK WAS GIVEN TO ME IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.
Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.
She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.
But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.
A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.
***Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.***
***Kristin, #NerdGirlSoldier’s Review***
Christmas is supposed to be a fun, festive time spent with family, right? For five humans, it’s anything but fun. North Pole Reform School introduces you to: Joe (a nasty, smelly man who thinks he knows it all), Emily (a woman who has a real fear of ducks and thinks they’re out to get her), Hugo (a young man who lost his parents one Christmas), Mistletoe Bell (a young lady who feels that her parents care more about other people than celebrating her birthday Christmas Eve) and Luke Wyatt (a young man who feels like his neighbors go overboard with lights and tacky decorations). These five people are brought to the North Pole because they have ruined Christmas for other people and are put in reform school with the hope that they’ll learn that it’s okay for other people to enjoy Christmas even if they don’t.
Normally, I shy away from YA books but this one sounded too fun to pass up. I’m glad that I read it because I laughed when I read the first sentence and kept laughing throughout the book. I enjoyed the characters, except for Joe. Joe was so mean and nasty to everyone that I just wanted someone to punch him. Even though Emily has this fear of ducks, she was actually a very kind person and encouraged Hugo throughout. Hugo thought he was dead when he discovered he was in the North Pole, and it took him a while to come around to the idea that it was real. He is the youngest character in the book but definitely likeable. These three are basically secondary characters to Luke and Mistletoe but Ms Admans did a wonderful job making these characters important to the story.
Luke Wyatt is a college student who hates Christmas because of his home life. There’s also the matter of his ears and he tries so hard to hid them. Why? Because he’s actually part elf and he doesn’t like knowing that. He bonds instantly to Mistletoe Bell, who equally hates the season. Mistletoe was born on December 24, her father is a store Santa and her mom makes more than enough food…but somehow they forget that her birthday happens. Luke and Mistletoe form a friendship and bond over their course of their stay at the school. They learn not only what the elves do not only to help make Christmas Eve run smoothly, but what they do all year round to make the holiday special for each child. They also have to learn the tough lesson that Christmas isn’t about their dislikes or wants; they learn that other people depend on Santa (even though the Santa in this book is a jerk…but karma does get him). They learn that sometimes its the little things about Christmas that can be fun and that parts of Christmas can be enjoyed.
This book is great for YA. They’ll laugh at the dialogue between the five reform students, and they’ll be introduced to the idea that not everyone has a perfect home life. It’s a book that they’ll truly enjoy as much as I did. I actually can’t wait to read it again.
***Shelby, #NerdGirlShelby’s Review***
North Pole Reform School was a lot of fun to read. I was feeling kind of burnt out on reading when I started this book and I read it from beginning to end in one day which is something I haven’t done in quite a while. How could you not get sucked into a book that begins with the line, “It started with a purple moose”?
Sixteen year old Mistletoe Bell, yes that is her real name, goes to bed one night and has the strangest dream. She is visited by a purple moose who claims to be the ghost of Christmases Ruined. According to this purple moose, Misty (as she prefers to be called) has been charged with ruining someone else’s Christmas and her punishment is several weeks in North Pole Reform School. Or however long it takes to change her attitude and behavior. But that’s not all, she also dreams of flying above rooftops, over oceans, and of extreme cold.
When she awakes the next morning it is to find herself in a bed that is not her own, in a room that is too bright, and that smells of mint. She also finds that she is not alone. There are four other people there as well. Emily who has a fear of being watched by ducks at all times, Hugo who thinks he has died, Joe an older bitter man who smells of stale beer and seems to be angry at the world, and Luke a young man who seems quite normal and is quite cute as well. What’s even stranger is the fact that all of them seem to have had the same dream. Which leaves us only two questions…
1) Was it really just a dream? AND
2) What’s white and round?
The answer? A red cube, of course! (Read the book to find out what that means!)
I thought this book was thoroughly charming. The author provides us with an amazing amount of detail which really helps to bring her world to life for her readers. I thought that was a nice touch. I never once had to struggle to picture anything in my mind’s eye. The scenery, the elves, even the outfits were made quite clear for me.
The characters themselves were really enjoyable to read. Luke and Misty were very likeable and easy to relate to. There were also a few that seemed to be thrown in for their entertainment value alone like Navi the elf whose infinite wisdom never failed to keep me laughing with quips like “Don’t think of it as trapped. Think of it as being pleasantly stuck” OR “A stitch in time is better than a poke in the eye” and who could forget “He who lives by the broccoli will die by the asparagus”. Don’t take those quotes at face value. I can see that they make the book sound a bit on the goofy side but it’s not. There is plenty of serious going on in here too. Navi just helps to lighten it up some and keep it fun. All of the characters were pretty enjoyable to read except for Santa himself who, in the words of Mistletoe Bell, “is a bit of a bastard”… another aspect that I thought kept this book fresh and new compared to other Christmas books that portray Santa as a jolly fat man who enjoys nothing more than bringing joy to the world.
I especially liked the vast cast of elves and all of their christmas-y names like: Eggnog and Peppermint. Tinsel and Navidad. Snow and Bauble. And so on.
I thought this book might get a bit dodgy with the introduction of zombies. I was actually dreading it since I was enjoying the book so much and I couldn’t imagine how the author could possibly pull that one off without losing the readers. But she did. I actually think it added to the books fun charm and spirit if its possible for zombies to do that. (It is. You’ll have to take my word for it. Or better yet, you could buy the book and find out for yourself.)
In the end, I have nothing else to say other than…Treat yourself and buy this book. It is unique and fun and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it! Two thumbs way up!
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.NG***
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