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.
North Pole Reform School is a short but thoroughly entertaining Christmas book. Charged with ruining Christmas for others, Mistletoe winds up at the North Pole to learn how not to spread her Christmas misery to those around her. I love all of the characters, including the elves. They’re all wacky and fun in different ways. This year’s reform group includes Luke (a cute guy a couple of years older than Mistletoe), Emily (afraid of ducks), Hugo (an 11-year-old whose parents died on Christmas Eve), and alcoholic Joe. Each of them has their own reasons for hating Christmas.
While in reform school, Mistletoe experiences teaching young reindeer to fly (little does she know that this will come in handy later), answers letters to Santa, and cooks with Mrs. Claus, all the while wearing an elf costume and getting to know Luke better. I really liked reading about all the different assignments she does. Luke and Mistletoe are paired up on assignments and we follow them at the expense of the others. The group meets up again for meals and evenings, but most of the time the focus is on Luke and Mistletoe. By graduation day, when the group is released to return home, we don’t even know why the others are ready to go back into a world that celebrates Christmas and be willing not to ruin it for others anymore. We’re just told that they’ve graduated. In fact, I’m not even sure that Luke is sincere. Mistletoe has truly learned a lesson about why Christmas means so much to many people, but Luke just wants to get back home. But that’s not quite the end of the book and by the time it’s done, he’s learned.
I don’t read many Christmas books, but after this I’m going to start looking for others. I hope they’re all as good as North Pole Reform School.
(This review is linked up at the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge.)