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Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite
In An Unacceptable Christmas by Bruce Edwards, Holly is a 16-year-old girl living in a world where Santa Claus has been outlawed. No one can write a letter to him, no one may sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” or similar songs, and his image cannot be displayed. However, Holly’s 6-year-old brother Michael wrote a letter to Santa and asks Holly to mail it. What is Holly to do? She couldn’t disappoint her brother, yet she would be breaking the law if she followed his wishes. So instead, she decides to take on the world. She enlists the help of a newfound friend, Sherman, and a nationwide organization of former Santa Clauses. They work together to try to overcome the ban on Santa.
An Unacceptable Christmas hooked me from its opening sentence: “I can still recall the day the Supreme Court ruled that there is no Santa Claus.” This charming book kept me interested throughout. I couldn’t help but be on Holly’s side as she worked to overturn the Santa ban, and I experienced highs and lows along with her as her quest repeatedly appears to be hopeless, then gets revived. I also enjoyed Holly’s interaction with her friends and family; the book brought back memories as Holly worked through her teenage dramas. Although the protagonist is 16, this is not a book only for adolescents. Readers of all ages will enjoy it. Author Bruce Edwards surely must love Christmas. One more thought: have a tissue handy for the sad-turned-joyous hospital scene.