cover image Talk Santa to Me

Talk Santa to Me

Linda Urban. Atheneum, $20.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7884-8

A high school sophomore struggles to maintain her family business’s integrity and holiday traditions in this lighthearted romance by Urban (Almost There and Almost Not). Following the recent death of Francie’s grandfather, her condescending Aunt Carole relocates from California to Hollydale, Ind., to help Francie’s parents and good-natured Uncle Jack run Hollydale Holiday Shop, the Wood family business and a go-to yuletide decor store. The shop is known for its nostalgic holiday vibes, but despite Francie’s protestations, Aunt Carole plans to implement a more “modernized” vision, hoping to improve their financial situation. These new changes aren’t the only things Francie is distracted by; she’s also trying to get her driver’s license and save enough money to buy Uncle Jack’s vintage Miata. On top of that, she’s desperate for a redo of her disastrous first kiss and, upon meeting handsome Latinx-cued Hector Ramirez, who works in the neighboring Christmas tree lot, she thinks she might have a shot. Employing witty dialogue and an endless well of holiday cheer, Urban humorously spins myriad plot threads, featuring realistic teen trials, familial relationships struggling under the weight of grief, and a sprinkle of romance for an earnest seasonal offering. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)