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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
Kerril hates Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the presents. There is very little about the season that Kerril finds pleasing. After her father left them (at Christmas), Kerril and her mother made a pact to disregard anything associated with Christmas. So, when Kerril is steamrolled into playing the lead character in the school holiday production of the student rewrite of the famous A Christmas Carol, now named A Christmas Kerril, she really doesn’t know what to do. Her cast mates include a snarky, brooding girl who is known for being a bully and is addicted to her phone, and a stuttering co-star who happened to write the play. Adam Dominy cannot seem to get it together without Kerril at his side, but he is more interested in a possible love interest with her best friend’s other best friend’s boyfriend.
A Christmas Kerril is, as the sub title says, a sweet romance young adult retelling of the Dickens classic. It is the perfect holiday story that incorporates teenage angst, internal unrest, and the eternal struggle of decision-making that plagues every young person at one time or another. Author Denise Jaden clearly knows her audience and is familiar with the trials and tribulations of the teenage mind. Realistic dialogue and detailed narrative propel this read to the top of the class. With the story being set in a private school, one would assume an elevated social status of the student population, yet Jaden presents both sides of the economic scale by including the characters who do not fit the upper class mold, such as those who struggle financially to maintain their roles as elite members of the private school population. While the story is basically a fun read, I appreciated this underlying theme of diversity.