Review | In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

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.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

If you’re looking for a sweet holiday read with a strong family focus, In a Holidaze is the perfect read for you. I wish I had read it over the holidays, as intended, but it was nice to bring some of the Christmas magic into the new year with this first read of 2022.

One of the main reasons why I picked up In a Holidaze was because I wanted to see how the Groundhog Day time loop scenario played out; unfortunately, it was only a factor for the first 1/3 of the book. As a result, there was a noticeable lack of tension and drama, the love triangle that was expected doesn’t materialize, and the character growth that results from living the same day(s) over and over is minimal. The Groundhog Day repetition was never resolved, either, making me wonder why it couldn’t have just been the linear story progression that took up the bulk of the page time.

I’m not the biggest fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, as it often relies on readers embracing an off-page history between characters. I enjoyed the banter, and Andrew was quite sweet (although niceness was the only dimension to his personality), but I was never invested in their romance. I just couldn’t get past how it essentially started like this: I had no idea you were into me, but now that I know you’re an option… It just sounds like settling, and that isn’t romantic. That’s not to say that they didn’t have some cute moments, but I didn’t buy it as an HEA.

The cabin setting and the strong family focus, though, were perfect. It was such a nice, festive atmosphere filled with people who love and support one another unconditionally.

Overall, In a Holidaze was a sweet read that will lift your holiday spirits. It’s fun and light, and would go perfectly with a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

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