Popular teen authors, John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle write three intertwined short stories about Christmas romances. Maureen Johnson starts with “Jubilee Express.” Jubilee (yes, that is her name) is heading to her grandparents after her parents are arrested on Christmas Eve for taking part in a riot at the Flobie Santa Village factory. Jubilee is upset that she’s missing Christmas with her overachiever boyfriend, but even more upset that he doesn’t have time to listen to her troubles. On the train, she meets Jed, who we’ll get to know better in the third story. Jubilee’s train gets stuck during a snow storm, forcing her to schlep over to the Waffle Hut with 14 perky cheerleaders. There she meets Stewart. We also meet the interesting “tin foil guy” who makes other appearances as the next two stories unfold.
In John Green’s Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, we find out how the guys at the Waffle Hut feel about being invaded by cheerleaders. It’s a Christmas Miracle!! Kuen phones friends, JP, Tobin and “The Duke” and tells them to get there, pronto and bring the game, Twister. The story is filled with John’s signature hilariously witty friend banter. There is also a great car race in the snow between the friends and two lopsided twins. Tobin realizes he should have been thinking about the girl sitting next to him, instead of perky cheerleaders.
In The Patron Saint Of Pigs, Addie is heartbroken because she ended things with her boyfriend, Jed. (You’ll remember Jed from the train, he is also moping at the Waffle Hut in the 2nd story.) Addie is a bit of a drama queen, as her two friends subtly remind her. Jed is not the boyfriend Addie wants him to be. She would like him to be more romantic (Edward Cullen-like, I am assuming.) After Addie’s huge mistake, Jed is supposed to meet her at Starbucks. When he never shows, Addie suspects the worst. Addie’s friend, Tegan has a pig obsession. Enter the world’s cutest pig, a tiny tea cup pig named Gabriel and lewd boy named Charlie and a bus full of senior citizens and the cast of interesting characters grows even larger.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Addie wants Jeb to change. She doesn’t think he’s romantic enough. Talk about how drama can get in the way of a good relationship.
Why are the guys so obsessed with the cheerleaders? Talk about how the cheerleaders pay attention to them at first and why the guys are disappointed later.
Jubilee thinks she has a great relationship with her overachiever boyfriend. Talk about how she may have lost herself along the way.
What drew Jubilee & Stewart, Addie & Jed, Tobin and Angie to each other?
Tobin and the Duke (Angie) are good friends. The Duke likes Tobin, but he is afraid to ruin the friendship. Talk about making that transition between friends and more than friends.