What Happens At Christmas by Jay Northcote [M/M]
As many of you have noticed, the year is rapidly approaching its end and being the procrastinator that I am, I thought I’d squeeze in one more book review!
This time I picked a book that had a Christmas theme (since it’s the holidays), was short (because I only had so long to read it), and that it was an M/M story (because I’m into BL and thought it’d be fun to read a legit gay romance story).
I actually stumbled upon this book while browsing my ‘to-read’ shelf on Goodreads, and seeing the cover I thought, this looks nice, let me try it! It’s also for this reason that I decided to try out Kindle Unlimited 🙂
This story falls under novella, Christmas, contemporary, erotica, and M M Romance over on Goodreads. So it suffices to say that this story is NSFW
But what is this story about? The story revolves around Justin and Sean, two guys who have been friends since they were children. Justin had been out since his middle school days while Sean stayed in the closet mainly for fear of his father’s reaction. His other reason was that he had noticed his feelings for Justin were no longer platonic.
Fast forward years later and Justin has just broken up with Andy, his latest boyfriend, and Sean, having just come from a few months trip from the tropics, can’t help but see this as an opportunity. Even more so when Justin mentions an office party he doesn’t want to attend for fear of bumping into Andy.
Sean sees an easy solution and suggests taking him to the party as his new boyfriend, just to show Andy that Justin is fine without him. Of course, like all pretend relationships, this one turns complicated as both parties realize that they want their relationship to be real.
As a whole, What Happens at Christmas really fell short for me. When I started reading it I knew it was your cliche childhood friends and pretend relationships that lead to a happy ending through some frustrating means. I’ve read so many of these stories they’re just easy reads for me. I don’t have to put on my thinking cap and I can just enjoy the characters being lovable idiots.
Of course, that was hard to do in this case for a couple reasons.
The reasons we should connect with the characters were never developed. Justin and Sean are very simple characters that just didn’t grab my attention. For example, we’re told early on that Sean had problems with his father about his sexuality, but as readers we never personally witnessed such problems. Since I didn’t witness them I couldn’t find myself to care about his dilemma. I mean, even at the end I was left thinking, they were fighting?
They like each other? Yeah, I guess if Justin and Sean getting hard over just a gaze or simple touch means they’re in love then ok. Because it’s all about the physical (if that’s the case then they must adore each other)
Neither Justin or Sean had distinguishing qualities. I felt that both characters were too cowardly for my tastes. They both liked each other since they were kids, they pretended to be boyfriends, they ended up having oral sex, and a few days later actually had all out sex, but they were still too scared to confess that they liked each other? I was pretty concerned with the fact that it took them until after Christmas to sort things out.
I did like the little revenge scene at the office party but even that felt like it ended too quickly (in favor of them getting handsy and leaving the party early).
Nothing memorable really happened. All I ever remember was them waking up, eating, cafe, watching TV, falling asleep, fooling around, and then the cycle repeats. Only two moments really stayed with me and those were the office party and the dick shaped snowman. The office party because the story is about them being pretend boyfriends for the sake of the party and the dick snowman because it was pretty funny.
Communication between Justin and Sean could have been developed better. The only time these two really talk about things is when they finally reveal that they want their fake relationship to be authentic. Everything else is pretty mundane and sometimes their dialogue felt rather off (more so at the beginning).
Overall I didn’t think this was bad, but I also didn’t think it was good. I probably would have cared more if I had gotten to know the characters better but this story seemed to be more focused on their physical relationship. I wouldn’t recommend it and I gave it 2 ☆’s for an OK though really this is probably a generous rating >_<
Of course, I know lots of people enjoyed it, if Goodreads has anything to say.