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Hallmark for Teens

*This is a book review of The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo.

“But to be this close, to have worked so hard for something and then lose it because of money? I hate it.”

– Lila Santos

Quick Facts

Author: Tif Marcelo
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Christmas Story
Main Characters: Lila Santos & Teddy Rivera
Number of Pages: 272
SJ Rating: 76%

The Synopsis

Living in a town obsessed with a film called Holiday by the Lake, Lila Santos works endlessly to capture the magic of her beloved town and her future. But one minor accident with Teddy Rivera throws a massive wrench in her plans… but could the wrench be good?

The Good

I bought this book because the artwork really captured my attention. There are Filipino American leads, which is a rarity for any of the romance novels I read, so I was even more excited about diving into this easy-to-read book.

A few pages in, and we learn the main character, the one telling the story–Lila, is a secret blogger. The author managed to write about me (lol). I found several elements of myself in the main character. Like, when she said, “While I can keep a secret, I cannot keep my emotions in check.” That statement hit way too close to home.

Continuously, I really liked the font change for the Tinsel and Tropes blog posts. Also, the blog posts paralleled beautifully with the plot of the story.

The Bad

Though she’s pretty relatable, Lila seems a little too innocent, which makes her pretty cheesy at times. Although she has a hardship, it seems like she still looks at the world through rose colored glasses; like, there’s been better (or worse?) hardships in other YA books I’ve read.

The Christmas puns and metaphors got to be more than a little annoying halfway through the book. I don’t even know if they’re necessarily puns. For example, when Lila Santos says, “Ghost of Christmas Future, help me” in a moment of distress.

**A really cool plot twist would have been Teddy being related to Remy Castillo (as his mother) and that was why he’s so against Holiday by the Lake. Maybe that was why he had no interest in his mother’s work because of a strained relationship?

I feel like there needs to be just a little bit more when things pick up between Lila and Teddy romantically. Honestly, I’m not sure what that “more” is, but I didn’t feel myself getting flustered or giddy like I have with other romantic young adult books. I wish the epilogue was a bit further down the timeline to eliminate the uncertainties and establish the relationship between Teddy and Lila. There was a build up just for them to be “whatever.”

There are also some grammatical errors. I looked over some of them and pinned it on a difference in dialect, but I can’t simply ignore the “one on top of the another” on page 188.

The Overall

All in all, this book went the same speed as a Hallmark movie. It was a quick and easy read, but there wasn’t anything incredible or memorable about it, besides the relatability of Lila.

Though, I am happy I read it.

Next book to be read and reviewed: Will by Will Smith with Mark Manson

“Cliffhangers should be banned.”

– Lila Santos

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