Book Buddies is a discussion-style “review” that takes place with Cristina from Girl in the Pages. (You can check out past posts here.) We both read the book, have a discussion, and post our conversation (plus other fun things sometimes!) here. Book Buddies is a seasonal feature that now happens four times per year. Be sure to check out the other half of our feature and discussion on Cristina’s blog (link below)!
Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day
5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market
4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi
3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm
2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)
1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000
Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.
Check out Cristina’s post here!
We’ve decided to bring some new elements into our Book Buddies posts, so it will be less Q&A discussion between the two of us, and more personal applications to the book. Because this book featured a bunch of lists the main character keeps in her head, we decided to channel the same thing for our post! The lists below are generally related to the book too. Chloe gets stuck at work in a grocery store on Christmas Eve, so you’ll see some place and food-related questions below!
5 Things About This Book
- This book made me so nostalgic for my grocery store days. I worked at Geissler’s Supermarket, a family-owned chain only in Connecticut and Massachussets, throughout the end of high school and beginning of college (on breaks). This book is incredibly accurate for what it’s like to work in a grocery store, from scheduling breaks to weird relationships with coworkers to having to work on Christmas Eve.
- Chloe and her coworkers were a bit presumptuous. I didn’t like so many of the assumptions they made about fellow employees. It almost read like this book was written in the 90s and republished, based on some of the comments they made? I don’t remember specific examples but they assumed things about the Muslim coworker, the “looks like a lesbian” (eye roll) coworker… Just lots of people not using their brains.
- The story and ~mystery~ part was predictable. I knew within the first few chapters who took the money from the charity box. Maybe you’d figure it out as quickly as I did. The rest of the story, aside from solving the mystery, was a cliche contemporary. Not necessarily a bad thing; it’s a quick, holiday-ish read.
- The holiday thing isn’t super strong here. It’s worth mentioning after saying “holiday-ish” in the previous bullet point. It references Christmas music and talks about the fact that it’s Christmas Eve, but that’s about it. You definitely don’t have to read this one in December.
5 Places I’d Want to Spend the Holidays
- Log cabin in the mountains surrounded by snow | I recently took up skiing and would love to spend the holidays in a log cabin with easy access to the mountains. Having all the snow around and being super cozy by the fire sounds so perfect to me. I know Chris would be on board with this one too.
- With my family all together | It’s a pipe dream because I know that it would be hard to get everyone in one spot. I would love to have Christmas with my mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad, half-sister, stepsister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, AND Chris’s family all in ONE SPOT. We do so much running around over the holidays that it would be awesome to stay put for once.
- Europe | I follow a blogger who just moved to Germany with her husband and there are the CUTEST Christmas markets out there! I’ve loved following along throughout the season so far. I would also love to see how other European countries celebrate and decorate, just for some different perspective.
- Anywhere with a warm fire | I love fireplaces so much. It’s one of the main reasons I could never live in my apartment forever! I love curling up by a fire with a blanket, book, and hot chocolate. Being surrounded by the warmth and tons of holiday decorations? My favorite place to be this season.
- Somewhere tropical | I could handle ONE Christmas away from snowy/cold Connecticut. Maybe. The idea of lounging on a beach instead of being freezing cold doesn’t sound Christmassy, and it’s never how I could spend every year, but I would like to try it one year. Give me a margarita and palm trees with some Christmas lights on them just once.
5 Holiday Recipes
- Cinnamon rolls | Yes this is not a recipe but literally a can of cinnamon rolls. Every year since I was probably born I’ve had cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I’ve seen recipes for some kind of “french toast bake” that uses cut-up cinnamon rolls and icing, so I may try that this year! The tradition definitely continued into my years of living with Chris too, not just with my parents.
- Green bean casserole | My mom only makes this for Christmas and Thanksgiving, so I make sure to get enough between those two days! I don’t even like mushrooms but for some reason I love this casserole. The crispy onions on top are probably the reason why, to be honest 😉
- Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip | I’m a big dip fan and so is the rest of my family. I know this would be a hit with some people! (My mom doesn’t like sweets so she may pass on this one, but I know my stepdad would LOVE.) I found the recipe on Pinterest but haven’t tried it yet.
- Reindeer Chow | Muddy buddies (or puppy chow to some) is one of my favorite snacks ever. I love the idea of making some from scratch instead of buying the Chex Mix version from the grocery store. Yes, I’m lazy. This one is very cute and festive! I love that it has other items too, besides the Chex cereal.
- Sherbet punch | One of my FAVORITE things about the holiday season would be my aunt’s sherbet punch. I even made some batches last year for me and Chris to literally just sit at home and drink like weirdos haha. It’s DELICIOUS. The closest recipe I can find is here. It involves Sprite, rainbow sherbet, and cranberry juice in my family. (The link uses Hawaiian punch instead.)
5 Seasonal Foods & Items I Buy Each Year
- Gingerbread or chestnut praline lattes from Starbucks | I’m a huge fan of pumpkin spice, but I easily switch over to wintery drinks in December. I love both of those Starbucks lattes! I don’t drink coffee from Starbucks very often, but I do try to do it more in the latter part of the year when my flavors come out.
- Chocolate covered cherries | I can’t believe they don’t sell these year-round! It sucks. But then again, they wouldn’t be as special. I love receiving these in holiday care packages and picking them up on various Target runs throughout the winter months. One of my favorite candies for sure!
- Reeses trees | I’m a sucker for Reeses in general, but I tend to eat more between October and December. Why? The festive shapes! I love Reeses Trees and, even earlier, Reeses Pumpkins. There’s something about those shapes that make something great taste even better.
- Eggnog | Okay so eggnog totally makes me feel sick when I have too much of it. I usually buy the smallest container so Chris and I can each have one glass each December. I can’t have more than one because yuck. It’s way to sweet. I’m probably going to try a “light” one this year and see if that works!
- Little Debbie’s Christmas Trees | This is another snack I don’t buy very often because I want to just satisfy a small craving in December. Chris barely likes them so usually I eat four out of the five in the box. I’m not a huge fan of buying snack foods like that, but I make an exception for these!
What was your first job? Did you ever have to work holidays like Chloe?
As I mentioned above, my first job was at Geissler’s Supermarket and I almost ALWAYS had to work on Christmas Eve. It was really hard to request that day off! Luckily my family usually didn’t get together until 4 PM at the earliest and the store usually closed somewhere between then and 6 PM? I don’t remember. It’s not that fun on those days, but shifts always went by fast. It’s so incredibly busy! I loved working at Geissler’s for a lot of reasons. I met a lifelong friend there (she was my manager at the time) and had sooo many interesting memories with coworkers! I can’t even explain the weird bonds you get when you work with people in a grocery store. Seriously, it can be so fun and sometimes people get into very..interesting…relationships and love triangles.
What are some other books you’ve read that featured an MC with a
health condition that you didn’t know much about before?
In this book, Chloe’s diabetes posed some problems while being stuck at the store. I honestly didn’t know much about diabetes and how serious it can be. I read The Memory Book by Lara Avery earlier this year and it was a really tough read about Niemann–Pick type C, a genetic disorder I truly knew nothing about ahead of time. (What a heartbreaking story that was.) A recent tough mental health story to read was When We Collided by Emery Lord. The main character had bipolar disorder, so I learned a lot about the different swings the person has to deal with when they’re not taking care of themselves. A third one was Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, which highlighted Huntington’s Disease. I learned about this one a little in another book, but this story taught me a lot more about Huntington’s and a few others, like Sickle Cell.
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