Talk Santa to Me

Atheneum. Sept. 2022. 288p. retold by . Tr $20.99. ISBN 9781534478831; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781534478848.
Gr 8 Up–Francie’s family is all about Christmas, and their year-round holiday store is well-known in the town of Hollydale and beyond. Francie is still mourning the death of her grandpa, who played the quintessential Santa, but she is trying to hold it together in her job at the store so that she can purchase her uncle’s Miata to gain some freedom. Meanwhile, her aunt has moved back to town and wants to alter the store’s longtime business plan. In a play to outwit her scheming aunt, Francie portrays Santa’s intern on a local cable show that ends up going viral. As a result, Francie must spend hours writing back to all the children who write to Santa. Francie is the target of bullying by her school’s hockey team for a kissing debacle when she was 13, and wonders if her new crush, the boy who works at the Christmas tree lot across the street from Francie’s family store, will turn into something more. Even with the inclusion of family and bullying issues, this is a light, fun read. All characters are white, except for Francie’s love interest who is Latinx, and best friend who is Korean American.
VERDICT The perfect choice for rom-com fans who love the enchantment of the Christmas season.

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