North Pole Reform School is a very imaginative book that takes a lot of Christmas traditions, reinvents them and adds a lot of unconventional ideas as well. I think that is the one thing I would laud this book for. I mean, zombies and Christmas when the point of the book is to spread some Christmas cheer? Definitely different. Also, not what I was expecting because to be honest, I didn’t reach the end of the synopsis before I hopped on over to Amazon and bought myself the Kindle edition. Not really what I had in mind when looking for Christmas reads. That being said, I found it entertaining, so I’m not upset about the 99 cents I parted with.
Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.
Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.
She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.
But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.
A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.
How do you convince hardcore grinches that Christmas is a happy time? You send them a purple moose to whisk them off to Santa’s home where all the elves spend the whole day preparing to spread some joy among the humans down south. It’s difficult though when Santa himself isn’t exactly the most jolly figure either. Whatever it is, I enjoyed the concept of the reform school and their curriculum is an interesting one that makes for many hilarious incidents for Mistletoe and Luke.
As touching as I thought that the setting was very well planned and presented, I did not have much sympathy for any of the characters. Mistletoe lands at the North Pole with another four. Luke, for one, the duck-phobic Emily, a boy who thinks he died and a very grouchy man. It’s good to see that the characters were different and also of different ages. But the reasons for which they end up there did not convince me. The reasons for returning home convinced me even less. I did not see a transition in the characters, so in the end I felt reading about their time at the reform school was a waste of my time. Pity because the narrative itself didn’t trip me up or anything. In fact, it is expressive, varied and engaging.
Still, I do care a lot about the execution of the plot and the presentation of characters, and that is where this book came short for me. Reading North Pole Reform School during the Christmas season to get into the holiday mood is fine but I would not necessarily recommend it for the rest of the year. Although, it is a heart-warming book.