Just so you know, this review will be a little spoiler-y. I apologize in advance, but I want to talk about how much I loved it and do it justice properly. You’ve been warned. 🙂
I love Christmas. Hallmark Christmas movies are some of my favorite things, but I’ve never been one for Christmas books before. Honestly, they tend to disappoint. My New Crush Gave to Me did not disappoint, however! I loved every page (every second, since I listened to the audiobook) of it. Charlie Donovan led the story wonderfully, and the romance made me smile and feel all types of Christmas spirit.
Charlie didn’t want to go to the biggest party of the year dateless. To make everything worse, Noelle’s part had a theme – a couple theme, and Charlie’s Ivy League ex-boyfriend wasn’t keeping up his end of the bargain and coming home to be her date. With the help of her best friend, Morgan, she came up with the idea of finding her a date, what they later call “Operation Secret Santa.” They used their weight as the editors of the school paper to get everyone in the mood for the holidays.
First and foremost, before I talk about the romance part of the book, I must mention the friendship between Charlie and Morgan, and Morgan and Charlie as characters separately from each other. They had a wonderful friendship. I loved that Petroff didn’t cause strife between the two girls. One, it’s been done before (too many times, sometimes) and two, they weren’t the characters that had secrets between each other. They differed…a lot…but it helped them understand each other and support each other in everything that they did, no matter how crazy each of their schemes were.
Next, Morgan baked liked no one else’s business. She was sure of herself and knew what she wanted to be and who she wanted to be. I also enjoyed the romance between her and her long-time boyfriend, as in they had been together for five years and only grew closer. (I kind of want them to have their own book.) To put it lightly, I adored Morgan. She was funny and supportive, and even though she didn’t agree with Teo as Charlie’s choice, she helped her friend no matter what.
Now on to the romance. Charlie approached relationships thinking about how they might be compatible, not necessarily if they were. Her love life was an equation to her, not chemistry. She wanted someone who wouldn’t disappoint her – or her reputation at the party – not necessarily someone perfect for her. When she ran into Teo Ortez, quite literally, it hit her (sorry, I can’t help it) that this guy might be the one for her. She enlisted the help of his cousin, J.D. Ortez, her irritating and always-late photographer for the school paper, to land the guy through the guise of four weeks of Secret Santa surprises.
From the start, I loved J.D.. I loved how not perfect he and Charlie were and how she didn’t see it. The best part of the romamce in this story was that you know that J.D. most likely has a thing for her (though you’re still a little scared he might not) and she doesn’t even see it. Charlie learned to let go. Not only of her perfect picture of her perfect guy, but of her comfort zone. Some things are better when they’re new and exciting and things you might not necessarily do because you aren’t good at them. Charlie could plan and organize her life, but she couldn’t change that she was tone deaf or burned instead of baked cookies. I loved her for all her flaws and her uptightness. I loved that she reminded me so much of myself and that she discovered the guy best for her, not the one that made the most sense.
I want to listen to this audiobook again before the holidays are over, maybe even read the physical copy that one of my best bookstagram friends sent me. I found excuses to be in the car, since that’s my prime audiobook time, just to listen to the rest of the story. If you’re looking of the perfect holiday recommendation, look no further. Christmas/Holiday books aren’t done enough in the young adult genre, so I praise Petroff for creating a story I want to read at any time of the year and enjoy as much as rewatching my favorite Christmas movies.