cover image The Christmas Clash

The Christmas Clash

Suzanne Park. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-7282-4801-1

Park (So We Meet Again) utilizes on-point dialogue and an amicable cast to keep the holiday spirit alive in this Romeo and Juliet flavored rom-com. The parents of Korean American Chloe Kwon and Chinese American Peter Li, who run food court restaurants at their local Tennessee mall, have been fiercely competitive for as long as the teens can remember. Following their parents’ lead, Chloe and Peter have always had an intense rivalry, which heats up further when they both get mall jobs working at competing seasonal businesses: budding photographer Chloe photographs children with Santa, while Peter operates thrilling virtual reality sleigh rides. When news gets out that the mall will be closing after the holidays, the two high schoolers must set aside their differences to help prevent the closure and save their parents’ livelihoods. As they work toward a common goal, the duo navigate varying interpersonal issues, such as Chloe’s participation in a national youth photography competition and their growing attraction to each other. Chloe’s and Peter’s alternating perspectives capably drive this witty novel, an upbeat homage to nostalgic “suburban mall culture.” Supporting characters are racially diverse. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)