North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: November 6, 2013
Format: eARC, 234 pages
How I got it: From the author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Review: My Thoughts
“Every single one of you has been brought here because you have ruined Christmas for somebody else. This is not about hating Christmas – anyone can hate Christmas and not suffer any consequences for it. You are here because you have all taken deliberate actions to ruin Christmas for others.”
Mistletoe Bell doesn’t like Christmas. Born on Christmas Eve, she’s accustomed to her birthday being overshadowed by the holiday. Moreover, her father is a store Santa and spends more time at work than with his family during the holidays. After an accidental fire at her school, the Ghost of Christmases Ruined (a purple moose, in case you were wondering), shows up in her bedroom and informs her she will be sent to the North Pole to learn how to behave properly and stop ruining Christmas. She’s not the only one, either. There, in addition to all the elves, she meets four others who are facing the same fate as she is. It’s quite a cast of characters.
“This is about as surreal as it gets. I’m in the North Pole, listening to an elf lecture an alcoholic about the threat of zombies, with a boy who thinks he’s dead and a woman who thinks ducks are watching her. Things just can’t get any weirder.”
Mistletoe’s time in the North Pole was filled with elves, sweets, Christmas cheer and incredibly interesting characters. Oh, and zombies. But we’ll get to that. First, let’s line up the characters. There’s Luke, the half-elf college student who has been “stealing” Christmas decorations from unsuspecting folks. Then there’s Emily, the woman who fears she’s being watched by a duck (you know, anatidaephobia), Joe, a rather unpleasant alcoholic and Hugo, the little boy who thinks he’s dead. Oh, and we can’t forget the elves! I loved the elves. With festive names like Tinsel, Navidad, Peppermint and Eggnog, how could I not? Some of the elves had an edge, too. Oh, and Santa? Santa’s a jerk. The characters were clearly well thought out. I found them delightful and intriguing.
“Wait, is everyone just accepting this? We’re in a giant snow globe surrounded by zombies and nobody thinks this is even slightly unusual?”
The world-building in this novel was brilliant. The North Pole is surrounded by glass, essentially in a snow globe. It’s also surrounded by zombies. There’s no internet, TV or radio… except for the holiday movies and songs that play all year long. The detail was incredible. I felt like I had donned an elf dress and was there with them. Part of me wishes I actually was.
“The North Pole Reform School has undoubtedly done its job on me. I never considered that Christmas was important to people. I never considered how much it mattered. I thought it was nothing more than an excuse to overindulge and be surrounded by annoying relatives whom you don’t want to be surrounded by.”
While in the North Pole, Mistletoe learns a lot about herself, her family, and the spirit of the holiday. She bonds with Luke and together, with the elves, they not only change themselves, but find a way to make a positive impact on the elves and Christmas as a whole. There are great messages hidden beneath the story.
Often funny, sometimes emotional and thought-provoking, and other times just plain fantastically ridiculous (ZOMBIES!), North Pole Reform School was a great, quick holiday read. It kept me guessing and there were some fascinating and unexpected twists along the way.