I can’t believe Christmas has already passed. In some ways, I like the anticipation before Christmas more than the day itself. It’s exciting seeing all of the different holiday decorations around the city, making chocolate mousse pie, and spending time away from school.
Therefore, The Holiday Switch is an excellent Young Adult romance centered around Christmastime in Holly, New York. It felt refreshing to me because I don’t read many holiday themed romances. In The Holiday Switch, Lila Santos, high school senior, is working at the Bookworm Inn, and trying to figure out how she can earn more money to go to her number one college, Syracuse University. Lila’s winter break plans are changed when she’s assigned to train Teddy Rivera, her boss’ nephew.
Lila Santos is a relatable main character. Like me, she loves reading, has a book blog, and is Filipino American. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to read more books by Filipino American authors centered around Filipino Americans. Beyond these traits, though, Lila and I both desire for control over our lives where there are so many changes occuring. Applying for college and moving beyond the place we’ve lived all our lives requires help, sometimes from unexpected people.
Enter Teddy. Lila sees Teddy as an unfriendly coworker at first, as he is assigned the hours Lila was hoping for to raise more money for her college fund. This isn’t exactly the enemies to lovers trope because both Lila and Teddy want to see the Bookworm Inn succeed, but they have different ways of trying to draw people to the Bookworm Inn. Lila’s had an organized system for her library section of the Bookworm Inn, for a few years, while Teddy is a newcomer who has a fresh perspective on how Lila’s library should be organized.
This isn’t a spoiler because it’s on the back cover: Lila and Teddy end up accidentally switching phones. Here’s an area where I was a bit skeptical: sometimes when phones get switched, characters lie to each other and try to solve the other’s problems without asking. This is not the case for The Holiday Switch – I love the fact that Lila and Teddy communicate what their problems are. They know that they have different ways of organizing things, but in the end, they both respect and try to understand the other’s opinions.
I also like that the other people in the town are fleshed out. There’s an emphasis on community in The Holiday Switch, which is nice, as the romance and the plot nicely entwine. Ms. Velasco, Teddy’s aunt, runs the Inn, Carmela Ferreira (Lila’s best friend), is an artist who aspires to go to RISD, Pratt, or VCUarts. The town itself is like a character in the book: its fame comes because of the book turned movie “Holiday by the Lake” (which ends up playing a large role later on).
What I love most about holiday romances is that they’re all about love. Yes, The Holiday Switch is a romance novel, but there’s also signficant friend and family relationships. Lila learns more about the relationship with herself, and learns to recognize that moving out of one’s comfort zone may be easier with the support of family and friends. The Holiday Switch asks us to reconsider our first impressions of people, and to think about how love can be unexpected. This is a calming and bright read for Christmas, and I can’t wait to re-read it.
*Note: I thought all of the holiday puns were very amusing!!