In a Holidaze
by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones.
She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
In A Holidaze is a holiday rom-com written by the sister authors Christina and Lauren. It centers around twenty-six year old Maelyn, who is looking forward to the annual holiday week with her family and chosen family, to take her mind off her crappy, unsatisfactory job, and the fact that she is living with her mom. But the trip doesn't turn out the way she wants. A night of drinking egg nog leads to a make out with her childhood best friend - NOT his brother who she has been infatuated with since she was old enough to know what attraction felt like. An awkward morning where that friend ignores her, her crush lets her know he saw her and his brother kissing - and is totally fine with it, and to make matters worse, due to the expensive upkeep of the cabin they have all celebrated the holidays in for her entire life, its planned to be put on the market. On her way home, she makes a plea with the universe: to show her what would make her happy. Cue an accident when a truck runs a red light, and BAM! She wakes up six days prior, on the plane, on her way to the cabin. The universe is giving Mae a second shot to live the week that will lead to happiness. The right brother. The cabin. The job. Everything.
In A Holidaze has been on my TBR for a while now, and I was waiting till this month to read it. I love these sisters writing style, and despite only reading one book from them so far (Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, which is an absolute delight, by the way), they are quickly making their way to one of my favorite authors. That being said, In A Holidaze wasn't my favorite. Now don't get me wrong, I liked it. I just didn't love it like I loved Josh and Hazel. I liked the plot, I liked the characters, the flow was great, and didn't repeat much storyline despite it being a "Groundhog Day" plotline, I enjoyed the romance and it felt like a book with some true holiday spirit, but it just didn't inspire love in me, I guess. Maybe it was the way the sex was written? Very YA feel to it.
I think if you want to pick up a holiday romance to get you in the holiday mood, you can't really go wrong with In A Holidaze. It's well written, and entertaining, and I think it balances that line of being steamy, without being overly descriptive for those who are not into that sort of thing. Honestly, I feel like you can't go wrong with picking a Christina Lauren novel to put a smile on your face.
Benny "Was I high" question when Mae is telling him again what is going on
Andrew and Mae building a snowman. Both times.
Mae living her life the way she wants to, because she believes she will end up repeating it anyway.
The snowball fight. Both times.
Mae telling Andrew how she feels about him
Andrew and Mae under the Christmas tree
Sliding, and that moment where Andrew holds her tight. Sigh.
Their first time
Mae's speech, and the sketch!
Benny building a little cabin for Andrew And Mae, and the proposal <3
How does one move on from a man so kind of heart and fine of ass? Mom: "Look at our friends.”
She spreads her hands.
Mom: “Thriving. My two children—thriving.”
Is that what I’m doing? Thriving? Wow, a mother’s love really is blind. Mae: “Have I ever given you the impression that I am—how should I put this? Mentally impaired?”
Benny: “Before today? No.”
Mae: “Emotionally unbalanced?”
Benny: “A few moments when you were thirteen to fifteen, but since then? No.” Mae: “Well, I told you this morning, but like everything else—everyone else—you’ve forgotten.”
I take a deep, calming breath.
Mae: “For the record, you were much more helpful last time.”
He considers this.
Benny: “Was I also high?”
Mae: “Actually, yes.”
He holds his hands palms-up as if to say There you go. Mae: “But what do I do? Is this happening so I don’t kiss Theo again? This seems like a pretty lame flex, Universe.”
Benny: “But without kissing Theo you wouldn’t be here,”
Mae: “No. Kissing Theo is where I messed things up… right?”
Benny: “No. It’s like in Avengers, where they want to go back and kill the guy with the stones, but if they had killed him then they wouldn’t be having the conversation to begin with.”
Benny: “Holy shit, time travel is confusing.” Andrew: “It’s too wet.”
I look up at Andrew when he says this.
Mae: “What’s too wet?”
Swallowing audibly, Andrew uses the butter knife to point to where I’m struggling to get the monkey’s tail to curl up and back over itself. It crumbles every time I dig out the extra snow.
Andrew: “You have a moisture problem.”
The words bounce back and forth between us, growing louder somehow in the ringing silence. His eyes twinkle with repressed laughter, and finally, unable to hold it in anymore, we both break.
Mae: “Did you just tell me I have a moisture problem?”
He can’t stop laughing.
Mae: “Are you broken, Andrew Polley Hollis?”
He doubles over.
Andrew: “I promise I’ve never said that to a woman before.”
Pressing my hand to my chest, I say,
Mae: “What an absolute honor to be the first.”
I wave him over.
Mae: “Come help me with this.”
Andrew: “With your moisture problem?”
Mae: “Andrew.” Mae: “What is happening?”
I shout to Andrew through the commotion.
Andrew: “At last, tradition is crumbling!”
He wears a maniacal grin as he runs to take a bracing stance in front of Thea, arms wide, adding gallantly,
Andrew: “They can take this day, but they cannot take our monkey!” Mae: “I’m fine,”
I say, irritably and clearly not fine at all. But who cares? Nobody! They’re not going to remember this anyway!
Mae: “Just been living the same freaking day over and over again, but whatever. Let’s just land and get on with it.” I look up warily. Across the yard, I think I spot the snow-covered branch that cracked me on the head, and I point at it, growling,
Mae; “You will not get me tomorrow, you fucker.” Mae: “Oh. And I asked you to tell me something that only you know so you’d believe me if this happened again.”
Mae: “And you told me about the club in Sedona.”
His eyes go wide.
Benny: “I did?”
Mae: “So I have to live with that information now.” Andrew: “Sleeping bags?”
At my silence, he adds quietly,
Andrew: “Another hunch?”
Two dimples dive into his cheeks.
Andrew: “You worried about me out there, Maisie?”
Mae: “I’m always worried about you,”
Andrew: “And my protruding body parts?”
Next to me, I sense Benny is valiantly trying to disappear into the swing.
Mae: “Always,” Mae: “What is up with you?”
Andrew: “What’s up with me? What’s up with you? Who is this demanding new Mae who needs drinks and hugs?”
Mae: “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,”
Andrew: “Well, whatever it is, I like her. You’re making me feel a little drunk, out of the blue. Which isn’t a bad thing, by the way.”
Before I can think too much on what he means, his mouth curves into a grin and Andrew tugs my knit cap over my eyes so all I get of his retreat is a laugh. Mom: “Honey, are you sure you want to eat all that?”
I never argue with my mother, but since none of this matters anyway—
Mae: “My eyes say yes. My stomach says probably not. But these are the best blintzes I’ll have all year, and who knows when I’ll get them again?”
I look at Benny and wink.
Mae: “Well, except me. For sure I’ll get them again.” Andrew: “But life is good?”
Mae: “I mean, I don’t have to pay rent, and I get to hang out with Miles whenever he’ll have me. But I also sleep in my childhood twin bed and know what it sounds like when my mother and her new husband have sex, so… define ‘good.’ ”
He winces deeply, groaning,
Mae: “Listen, if I suffer, you suffer.” Mae: “It’s just hard to know which choice is right until it’s all over, I guess.” Benny: “You always hold back so much. Maybe it’s not about making the right choices exactly, but making the right choices because you’re finally being you. Maybe that’s what you needed.”
Mae: “Or maybe it has nothing to do with me? I don’t know. I’m just tired of being so careful all the time.”
He leans back with a bright smile, pointing at me.
Benny: “Exactly.” Andrew: “You know what just occurred to me?”
Mae: “What just occurred to you?”
Andrew: “We brought this tree in, like, two hours ago. What if there’s a squirrel still living in there?”
We stare at each other, wide-eyed, and shout in unison:
Andrew and Mae: “Ahhh!” Andrew: “You have the entire world to choose from and you go to Hawaii?”
Mae: “What’s wrong with Hawaii?”
Andrew: “It just feels so easy. What about Tahiti? Mallorca?”
Mae: “Sure, they sound nice.”
Andrew: “Okay, it’s settled. With that attitude, I’m in charge of all of our future travel.”
The words settle heavily between us, and we both go still.
Andrew: “I made it weird,”
he says finally, grinning over at me. I burst out laughing, relieved that this time it wasn’t me.
Mae: “You totally did.”
Our laughter dies away and silence engulfs us. I don’t know how to read the mood. I told him how I felt, giving him an opening to reciprocate, but he didn’t. And yet… there’s a strange understanding blooming between us.
Andrew: “Okay, I have an idea. No speaking for five minutes. Let’s just look up at the tree together.”
Mae: “And hope we don’t get our faces eaten off.” Mae: “Mandrew, you don’t have to give me yours.”
He lifts his hood up and grins at me.
Andrew: “My lice will like your hair better anyway.”
Mae: “Gross.” Andrew: “You’ve never been for me, Maisie. I never knew you were an option.”
Mae: “What do you mean?”
We hit a bump and veer to the left, and his fingers tighten at my waist. When we straighten out, he doesn’t let go; if anything, he tightens his grip, pulling closer and wrapping more of his arm around me. His fingers curl, brushing just under my jacket. His breath comes out warm against my neck, voice shaking:
Andrew: “It never occurred to me that you might be mine.” Andrew: “I was teasing her about it, I guess, and she made me sit down. Put these cards in front of me and was like, ‘I’ll do your reading.’ What do I have to lose? She doesn’t know me. So I told her, ‘Sure.’ She looked down at the cards and said I could be happy being second at work. Told me I didn’t need a big life, didn’t need to set the world on fire. She’s right—I don’t. But then she told me I’d already met the love of my life, I just wasn’t listening.”
Andrew: “And all I do is listen.” Mom: “Listen up, because I’m going to tell you a secret not everyone knows: Everything is going to be okay. I mean it. I realize everyone around you being messy might make you feel like you can’t ever be, but that isn’t true. It’s okay to be messy sometimes, honey.” And then, unfortunately, there’s the altar—the one thing that demonstrates that I am a terrible Catholic and probably going straight to hell no matter how I spend my Sundays. With arched stone framing an equally arched window, it looks so much like a vagina from where we sit to the side that neither Miles nor I can ever look at it without breaking into suppressed laughter. The only person whose expectations you have to live up to is yourself. When I thought it didn’t matter and no one would remember, I finally started living authentically. I quit my job. I was honest about my feelings. I went after what I wanted without fear. Mae: “I was honest about my feelings. I was honest about my mistakes. I was honest in my best and worst moments this week.”
I take a steadying breath because I’m starting to get choked up.
Mae: “And if there’s one thing that we did perfectly, it was talking and being transparent and honest with each other right from the start. Right away, we talked. I can’t think of anyone else in the world I’ve ever felt that comfortable with.” Mae: "So, I’m sorry that this whole situation is such a bummer, and I’m sorry if the intensity of my feelings for you made you move faster than maybe you would have otherwise. But I’ve loved you since I knew what love was, and I can’t undo that. I would never wish to take that away. Loving you is all the proof I needed that love can last decades. Maybe even a lifetime, who knows.” Mae: “Mandrew and Maisie,”
I tell him quietly, voice thick.
Mae: “I didn’t have time to do a full painting, but I think I like it like this. This way, it’s only a sketch, just a possibility. Even if it never turns into more, you are the only one who makes me that happy, and I am so grateful for it.” Mae: “That’ll teach you to listen to your time-traveling…”
My smile breaks, and I flounder as the rest of my sentence hangs like a ribbon in the wind. Andrew’s eyes narrow with a knowing smirk.
Andrew: “My time-traveling what?”
And here, for just a breath, my confidence falters. With my hope buoyant enough to lift the cabin off its foundation, wouldn’t it just be perfect if the universe pulled the chair out from under me one last time? But this time, I’m not going anywhere.
Mae: “Your time-traveling girlfriend.”
Andrew’s smile lights up the inside of the closet.
Andrew: “Finally, Maisie. I thought you’d never ask.” Zachary: “Were you wrestling?”
Zachary asks in a lisp, now missing his two front teeth, and Aaron struggles valiantly to not burst out laughing.
Andrew: “Yes. And look! Mae won a ring.”