Book Review: Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

How Excited Was I To Read Decked With Holly by Marni Bates? 10 all the way. I was once quoted in my college newspaper as saying my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was that it meant I could legitimately start listening to Christmas carols. I was probably the coolest college freshman ever. And on the record. Wooo.

Book Rating: 3. Harsh! But true.

Book Jacket: Holly Dayton is about to go way out of her comfort zone. . .

Spending Christmas vacation on a cruise with her two cousins from hell isn’t Holly’s idea of a good time. And when in a moment of seasick-fueled desperation she lurches into an open suite–she’s greeted with an eyeful of pepper spray. The culprit? A gorgeous guy calling himself Nick. But when Holly goes to make her exit, she gets the shock of her life: a corridor crammed with screaming teenage fans. Because Nick just happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for ReadySet–one of the hottest bands in America.

Suddenly rumors are swirling, and Holly’s face is captured on countless phones and plastered all over the Internet. But the band can’t risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend–just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be fauxmantically involved with one of the cutest rockstars on the planet? Holly’s about to find out. . .

Book Review: This book and I should have gotten along swimmingly. I love Christmas (see above). I love capers. I love Disney Channel Original Movies, and this basically sounded like the plot to one… or several. Where did we go wrong???

Holly was an okay character, and I did not mind the implausibility of the whole situation. I saw this book as one giant missed opportunity. It could have been charming and instead was a little annoying? Holly was very concerned with her appearance, yet also very confident. That’s probably most high school girls. I didn’t need to have it hammered into my head the entire book. I was cool with Holly – just not Marni Bates.

Also, THE CRUISE SHIP. Beyond the meet-cute (see: The Holiday and that charming gentleman character!), there was no need for them to be on a cruise! They might as well have been in downtown L.A. Missed possibilities. And a bit of a yawn.

The romance? I love a good rock-star dates normal high schooler plot line as much as the next girl (okay, MORE), but this romance felt a bit too forced for me. Dominic needed some more flaws. Holly needed a lot more understanding. And both of them could use a big dose of self-awareness.

I liked Awkward, Marni Bates’s previous novel, just fine. This one wasn’t as funny and was a bit of a yawn.

Did I read through this in an afternoon? You betcha. (It’s only 272 pages). Did I groan at my sister for having bought it? Definitely. Perhaps because this is such well-trodden ground. If you absolutely cannot resist this book – check it out of the library! Otherwise, may I suggest Teen Idol by Meg Cabot? Or Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita? Or even Jane by April Lindner (though I find it somewhat flawed as a modern day Jane Eyre, it’s got the normal girl + rock star thing going on too!) For that matter, go watch Starstruck on TV! I’m not promising higher quality with any of these, but they do a better job delivering the fun. Except the girl in Starstruck is annoying. And of course Jane is a bit more of a downer – but if you know the plot of Jane Eyre, you saw that coming! Maybe this really IS a hard one to get right?

Edited to Add!!! I forgot to discuss the faking a relationship plot! I LOVE that. But not here. Too many fake obstacles thrown in their way. If you too are a fan of this device and you haven’t seen Drive Me Crazy, go watch it immediately. You can chuckle at Adrian Grenier, swoon, and then thank me later!