|Photo courtesy of FantasticFiction.co.uk|
Winter's Kiss is an omnibus that contains 2 young adult novels: The Ex Games (2009) by Jennifer Echols and The Twelve Dates of Christmas (2008) by Catherine Hapka.
The Ex Games
High-schoolers Hayden and Nick have built up quite the tension between them over the past several years; especially since the rich, handsome Nick was dared by his friends to take Hayden on a date back in the 7th grade. Now, 4 years later, the 2 ex-lovebirds consider themselves friends, but sparks still manage to fly when in each other's presence. When Hayden and Nick engage in a major snowboarding competition against one another, their friendly relationship suddenly becomes more heated than ever before, causing them to re-evaluate their true feelings for one another.
The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Studious, brainiac Lexi has been dating the kind, polite, caring, and supportive Cameron for the majority of her teenage years, and their relationship couldn't be stronger. However, the ambitious Lexi has her sight set on college, and knows that she can't possibly maintain her relationship with Cameron if he stays behind in their hometown after they graduate from high school. Lexi then comes up with the brilliant plan of staging their breakup by indirectly encouraging Cameron to begin dating other girls so he can painlessly move on. When Cameron starts dating the bubbly, cute, and sweet new girl in town named Jaylene, Lexi begins to second-guess the choice she has made.
Winter's Kiss definitely falls into the young adult (YA) genre and doesn't exactly cross over to the adult genre like other YA books sometimes do, such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (seen below).
While both stories are considered light reading for the most part, The Ex Games is far more intense than The Twelve Dates of Christmas, the latter of which has more of a comical theme. The Ex Games will appeal more to sporty chicks - especially those who have spent time in the mountains snowboarding or skiing; whereas The Twelve Dates of Christmas may appeal more to studious girls who enjoy the topics of science and psychology.
Typical teenage angst is present in both novels in regards to the constant over-analyzing of "Does he, or doesn't he like me?" which becomes tiring after a minute for adult readers; however, I'm sure I would have eaten it up when I was a teenager.
The teenage characters in The Ex Games are majorly sexually charged from a physical standpoint, while the characters in The Twelve Dates of Christmas seem to function more like typical high school students. I was actually a little put-off by the sexuality of the teenagers in The Ex Games, which contains a few steamy scenes that remind me of a few contemporary romance novels I've read under the Harlequin label.
I definitely recommend Winter's Kiss to pre-teens and teenage girls, but not to adults who typically enjoy reading the YA genre, as they might find the love stories redundant. Readers from snowy regions of the world will appreciate the wintry setting in both novels; especially those who enjoy snowboarding, ice skating, and the holiday season specifically.
To mothers with teenage daughters: there are no explicit sex scenes or anything too freaky in Winter's Kiss to worry about, but the sexual tension in The Ex Games may be a bit much, or melodramatic to say the least, for your daughter.
Jennifer Echols' latest novels are entitled Such a Rush (July 2012), The One That I Want (2012), and Love Story (2011). Catherine Hapka's latest YA novels are At First Sight (2010) and Love on Cue (2009).
Click on the images of the books below to review them in more detail on Amazon.com.
What are your favorite YA love stories? Do you have any recommendations?