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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Book Review: We Met in December

One thing people need to know about me is that I’m a sucker for a feel-good, romantic comedy. Add the element of Christmas and you have me hooked. It’s no surprise that I tend to gravitate towards books and films of the same theme (hence my obsession with Hallmark Christmas/Romance movies). When I read the premise of two people who meet, become flatmates and fall in love in the span between two Christmases, it was a no-brainer for me to want to read it.  

we met in december
Cover Credit: Harper Collins

We Met in December is the story of Jess and Alex, who become roommates in a house in Notting Hill, signing into a one-year lease at a place where there is a no-relationships rule between housemates. While the two have an instant connection the moment they met, the house rules mean tiptoeing over the fact that they have an obvious connection. With the two of them getting involved with other people before their lease is up, do they even have a chance? 

The story reminded me of another holiday book that I read called One Day in December by Josie Silver because it was also about two people who met in December and had feelings for each other that they could not reciprocate due to circumstances beyond their control. Another book that had a slightly similar plot was One Day by David Nicholls. Both books, however, had a slightly longer timeline compared to Jess and Alex’s one-year lease at the Notting Hill home of their common friend Becky. Coincidentally, One Day is also mentioned in this book as Jess’ favorite. 

While I enjoyed the “will they or won’t they” plot of the book, I felt that there were several aspects of the book that I wanted more out of. For one, I felt that while Alex’s personal journey was hashed out to show that his jump into a different career path was part of his growth as a person, the book did not do the same for Jess. She was also on a sort of jump by moving away from her family and entering a new industry but the personal effects this had on her was not reflected on as much. There were more parts of the book about how being a nurse was like (for Alex) compared to what publishing life was like (for Jess). There was also a bit of a build-up on Jess’s relationship with her mother that I thought would have a pay-off at the end but there was no resolution of that aspect of her life at the end of the book other than her mother being mentioned as accepting of her relationship. 

What I did like about the book were the moments when Jess and Alex were together. The long walks that allowed them to build on their friendship ultimately confirmed that their attraction to each other was a real connection. I love that there was an emphasis on love being something more than a spark. It was something that these two characters built on that helped develop their feelings for one another once they got to know each other.  

We Met in December showed that while there are some relationships that “look good” or are convenient, there is something to be said about one being seemingly perfect compared to what is real. We can’t go into relationships just because it is what is expected of us. We can’t be with someone because that is the type of person that people expect us to be with. Love cannot be forced, no matter how hot and perfect the other person is. 

As with One Day in December and One Day, We Met in December’s lead characters had me frustrated about how their feelings for each other and hard it was for them to open up and say what they really felt out of fear from the house rules (which I don’t buy one bit) and fear of ruining their friendship (which I understand completely). But then, what is a good romantic book without a good (and oftentimes long and hard) journey to love? Isn’t that why people like romance novels? 

The book describes Jess (and me, to be honest) perfectly: 

"The trouble with me is I've always been a daydreamer. Always been a sucker for a romantic film, always loved a book with a good old-fashioned happy ever after ending." 

If you are not over the holidays yet or if you are a hopeless romantic like me who enjoys a good Hallmark movie or two, you will enjoy this book. I would love to read more rom-coms this year, hopefully, my selection for 2020 will get better as the months roll by. Here’s to more romance and happily ever afters! 
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