Welcome to my stop on the North Pole Reform School blog tour, hosted by Oops I Read Again. Below you'll find a great excerpt and my review. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!
North Pole Reform School
YA Fantasy/Romantic Comedy
Available at Amazon
Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.
Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.
She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.
But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.
A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.
Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.
When dinner is over, if you could call two mince pies and a candy cane dinner, Tinsel and Navi start leading us back to our quarters.
Luke falls into step beside me. “Hi.” His green eyes sparkle under the Christmas lights.
“Hi,” I say shyly.
“So this place is messed up, right?”
“Yeah,” I say. “Really strange.”
“I feel like you’re the only normal one here. Is that weird?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Nothing has been exactly normal today.”
“Tell me about it. I wish I could figure out what’s going on.”
“Are you buying everything they’re telling us?” I ask quietly.
He shrugs. “It’s too impossible to believe, and yet I have no other explanation. The fact is I’m in a cold, snowy place, surrounded by elves. You and I both know that shit like this doesn’t exist, but somehow we’re looking at it, you know? I’m not a kid, I haven’t believed in Santa since I was like, four years old, but I just met him. So either this is for real or they’ve put a hell of a lot of time, money, and effort into a very elaborate prank.”
“I’m leaning towards the prank angle,” I admit. “Not that I know who would do it or why they’d want to, but none of this makes sense to me.”
“Me neither, but these elves… they do remind me of my grandfather, and he wasn’t a prank, and neither are my ears, sadly.”
“Your ears are cute,” I say, then blush from head to toe when I realise what I’ve said.
Luke smiles. “Thank you. And for the record, Mistletoe is a pretty name, but I can see why you dislike it.”
“Are you kidding? It’s got to be the worst name in the world. I get nothing but insults in school.”
“Yeah, well, try having to hide these ears from your friends. It’s not fun.”
“Bloody Christmas,” I say.
He laughs. “I don’t think you’re supposed to say things like that here. It’s probably their equivalent of the F-bomb.”
I’ve been so distracted by Luke that I don’t even realise we’ve taken another turn.
“This is a side of the dome,” Tinsel announces.
I look up and in front of us is a wall of curved glass. It stretches way above our heads, so far up into the night sky that you can’t see where it ends. The side curves so far behind the trees that you can’t see an end to that either.
Luke walks forwards and taps it a couple of times. He shrugs. “Glass. Feels pretty solid.”
“It’s very solid,” Navidad says. “Don’t you worry about that—nothing can get through it.”
Emily is peering out, her hands around her eyes to block out reflections.
“You won’t see anything,” Tinsel tells her. “Firstly, it’s too dark, and secondly the visibility is poor in this blizzard.”
“There might be ducks out there.”
I think it’s sweet that Hugo goes over and takes hold of her hand. “Ducks would die in that weather.”
It seems to make her feel better. Until she says, “But they might be inside the dome with us. They might have followed me here.”
Joe bursts out laughing. “Paranoid much?”
Tinsel gives him an angry look.
“Hey, can you see any zombies?” I ask.
“The zombies don’t usually come this close to the dome. Sometimes you see one wandering around if they come closer to hear our music.”
“God knows why,” Luke mutters and if Tinsel didn’t hear him then she probably wonders why I’m grinning.
“And this seriously goes all the way around?” Emily asks.
“Indeed it does. There’s another visible side behind the reindeer stables, but other than that the barriers are quite far away in the forest. We might be elves, but we do need our space after all.”
We head back after that. Tinsel and Navidad stop outside the door of the building we first woke up in.
“Elf Wenceslas will let you through,” Navidad says. “Take it easy tonight. Get to know each other, watch some TV, and have an early night. Talk to Wenceslas if you need anything, and don’t even think about trying to sneak out in the night because you won’t get anywhere and he will know. Wenceslas knows everything.”
“I thought he was too busy looking out on the feast of Stephen,” Luke says and everybody laughs.
Everybody except Tinsel and Navidad.
“Don’t forget we’ll be here first thing in the morning for an in-depth discussion of what you’ve all done to ruin Christmas,” Tinsel says. “I suggest you spend some time tonight thinking about it.”
“Remember not to judge a book by another man’s fridge freezer,” Navidad says as they shoo us into the building.
My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Jaimie Admans has created a wonderful holiday story that made me laugh out loud and left me feeling so happy at the end. Frankly, North Pole Reform School was just what I needed today to laugh the stress away. It's such a creative premise, and the North Pole world created by Ms. Admans is both familiar and strange. We all picture Santa's village with the festive Christmas lights, happy elves, and nonstop Christmas music. But I have never considered that the poor elves had to deal with the potential threat of zombies. Who knew?
Five individuals are spirited away by elf magic in the middle of the night, sentenced to reform school for deliberately ruining Christmas for others. Main character Mistletoe Bell has hated Christmas for a long time. Not only does she have what she considers a miserable name, but she was born on Christmas Eve, making her birthday a far second to Christmas with her family. Luke Wyatt suffers during Christmas as well, and he takes out his frustrations on the neighborhood decorations (I get it, Luke. I really do.). Little do Mistletoe and Luke know that what they consider the worst thing to happen to them may just turn into the best. The budding romance between the two is so sweet. They make a great couple.
The three other characters at the reform school all have pretty good reasons why they hate Christmas, with the exception of Joe, who needs an overall adjustment on his outlook on life. My favorite part of this novel was the comedy. I swear it will be a while before I look at ducks the same way. What do ducks have to do with the North Pole? Sorry, not telling - you'll have to read the book! The way elves Navidad and Tinsel screwed up idioms was hilarious (there's one at the end of the excerpt). I enjoyed following Luke and Mistletoe around as they experienced the entire North Pole operation. This book is very hard to put down once started. There's really never a dull moment in the story. The ending was great, perhaps a tad sappy, yet adorable nonetheless. Never underestimate the power of a funny book with a satisfying ending.
I highly recommend North Pole Reform School to everyone high school and up that enjoys an interesting plot with great characters and a healthy dose of hilarity. There was quite a bit of coarse language, so keep that in mind. This is a great book year-round, but especially satisfying this time of year. It's one of my favorite reads this year.
About the Author
Jaimie is a 28-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps. She has been writing for years but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. Afterlife Academy is her third novel and she hopes you enjoy it. There are plenty more on the way!
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