Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter's Kiss by Jennifer Echols & Catherine Hapka

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Released: January 2012

Winter's Kiss is an omnibus with 2 young adult novels: The Ex Games (2009) by Jennifer Echols and The Twelve Dates of Christmas (2008) by Catherine Hapka.

The Ex Games regales us with a love story between high-schoolers Hayden and Nick. In the 7th grade, Nick's friends dared him to take Hayden on a date. Now, 4 years later, the duo considers themselves friends, but have amazing chemistry. 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 feelings for one another.

In The Twelve Dates of Christmas, studious Lexi has been dating Cameron for many of her teenage years. Cameron is incredibly loving, caring, polite, and supportive. However, ambitious Lexi has her sights set on college and knows she can't maintain her relationship with Cameron if he stays in their hometown after they graduate high school. Lexi comes up with a plan to stage a breakup by indirectly encouraging Cameron to start dating other girls so he can move on without grief. When Cameron starts dating a bubbly, cute, and sweet new girl in town named Jaylene, Lexi begins to second guess her choice.

Winter's Kiss definitely falls into the YA genre and doesn't really cross over to the adult genre like other YA books sometimes do (like The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak). Both stories are light reading for the most part, but The Ex Games is far more intense than The Twelve Dates of Christmas, which has more of a comical element. The Ex Games will most likely appeal to sporty chicks—especially those who have spent time in the mountains snowboarding or skiing. The Twelve Dates of Christmas may appeal more to studious girls who enjoy science and psychology.

I was 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'd definitely recommend Winter's Kiss to teens and preteens, but not to adults who typically enjoy reading the YA genre. Readers from snowy regions will appreciate the wintry setting in both novels, especially those who enjoy snowboarding and ice skating.

What are your favorite YA love stories? Do you have any recommendations?


  1. I so appreciate posts like this as I traverse the reading world with my 12 year old daughter! Thank you.

  2. Thanks Misa! Yeah...I definitely don't recall the YA books from my youth being as mature and racy from a sexual standpoint like this one is. I was already enough of a drama queen without needing to add books like this to the equation!


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