Another audiobook that I listened to recently to get into the holiday mood (a thing I still sometimes struggle with, given the ghosts of retail Christmas past), The Holiday Hoax by Skylar M. Cates hit the sweet spot in all the right ways.
First, the audio narrator K.C. Kelly, did a great job. The vibe of the story never got too serious despite a few very heavy moments, and Kelly held that note audibly throughout. The narrator can make such a big difference (for good or bad) in the audiobook version of books, and I wanted to point that out right off: t’was well performed.
The story itself is basically an extended meet-cute: Evan, a cute drama student (who is very dramatic in all sorts of ways) gets dumped shortly before Christmas break, and is cringing over the realization that his parents can’t wait to meet his new boyfriend, who he’s been telling them about for weeks. He’s dreading showing up alone, because that will mean pity and sad looks and an awkward Christmas and Hanukkah for everyone – especially him.
Evan wanders off to a coffee shop to ponder this misery, and happens to see a guy he kinda-sorta knows from school, J.D. They sit and have a good little chat, and then J.D.’s brother shows up, Evan moves to another table to give them room – and then watches in horror as the brother completely rejects J.D. when J.D. comes out to him. The campus is closing soon for the holidays, and J.D. is going to fly solo for Christmas…
A plan is born.
Evan takes J.D. home for Christmas, in the guise of J.D. being the boyfriend his family is so looking forward to meeting. But J.D. is a farmer’s son, and the boyfriend was a globe-trotting son of a diplomat, and carrying off the deception isn’t going to be easy. And it’s definitely not helped by Evan’s growing feelings for J.D.
This novella is a short, sweet ride, and perfect for a holiday listen. I chuckled and grinned my way through it, and ended with a smile on my face.