Noelle, a hopeless romantic, just knows that her gifts have to be from her senior crush! And geeky Froggy thinks the game is the perfect way to get super-popular Celia to fall for him…except she thinks his gifts are from Jake, the school’s resident bad boy, and starts to crush on him! Romantic mishaps abound, but all is revealed the night of the Winter Dance, where there’s more than one surprise waiting under the mistletoe!
Title: Secret Santa
Author: Sabrina James
Publication date: October 1, 2007
Secret Santa is a romantic comedy of errors fueled by secret crushes and assumptions. There are quite a few characters, each one crushing on someone who’s crushing on someone else, which makes it a little confusing. It’s just hard to keep track of so many people running around and to try to remember who likes who. I think I’ve seen a few movies with the same plot. It’s a little easier when you can see the people.
In this case, North Ridge High’s Secret Santa exchange culminates in the big reveal at the Winter Dance. By the time they get to the dance, not everyone is going to end up with the person they’ve spent the whole book chasing, but the ones that don’t find out that the person they do catch is their better match.
The students are at all different levels of the social sphere, from Amber and Shawna at the top of the sophomore class to Froggy and David at the bottom. Most of them are looking to climb the social ladder, trading in a sophomore boyfriend for a senior or just finding a girlfriend, period. Some of them acknowledge that their crushes are unrealistic, but they can’t help but hope things will work out with the one they want. Others are a little more oblivious to their crushes’ true personalities and are in for some disappointment.
Secret Santa is a little unrealistic (The entire school has to participate? Even the Jewish kids? The Muslims? The ones too poor to afford gifts for acquaintances?), the characters are stereotypes, and there’s little character development (cutting out some of the main characters would have allowed for that), but that’s okay in this type of book. If you overlook all of that, Secret Santa is a very light read that’s just fun.