Title: Love, Secret Santa
Author: S. A. Domingo
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: 31st October 2019
About the book:
All I want for Christmas is . . . you! A festive clean teen romance that could melt even Scrooge’s heart!
It’s nearly Christmas, but Angel Green isn’t celebrating – she’s too busy studying for a scholarship exam. On top of that, she’s organising her school’s charity fundraising campaign to help a local hospice. Unfortunately, her fundraising partner is Caspar Johnson: handsome, creative and fun, but TOTALLY unreliable.
Thank goodness for her Secret Santa who keeps leaving her amazing presents, including an intriguing hand-made advent calendar! Angel is dying to find out who her secret admirer is . . .
As they spend time together planning festive events, Angel realises that Caspar has hidden depths – and a secret that he’s hiding behind his easy-going facade. Her advent calendar encourages Angel to take risks and open her heart – but has she left it too late to tell Caspar how she really feels?
What I Thought:
Just a couple of weeks ago I was in Waterstones thinking about what Christmasy books I could review during Blogmas and I spotted this one so naturally I bought it!
Love, Secret Santa features on Angel Green, her friends and family in the lead up to Christmas. Every year Angel’s school arranges a Secret Santa and Angel is taking part, as well as frantically preparing for the Dunstable Academy entrance exam, and arranging fundraisers for the school council.
The story takes place across the month of December. The dates at the beginning of certain chapters make it clear when the time has moved on, and as a result the plot moves on quickly. There are some cliches within the story, some misunderstandings between the main characters that you will be familiar with if you’ve watched a rom-com or two over the years but that’s not a bad thing. There were another few reveals during the book that I won’t spoil but very much enjoyed!
When I was a teenager YA books certainly were not all that many books that featured black central characters so it was a delight to read about Angel, and her braids and skin care routine. I really found it so easy to grow attached to Angel, I think I was a fairly similar teen to her so I definitely got her connection to studying and how she liked the way studying made the world make sense to her. One of the things I enjoyed most about Love, Secret Santa was that although the romance was obviously pretty central to the plot, we also got to see the importance of her friendship with Ola and Izzy, rather than focusing entirely on the boy.
I thought Casper was an interesting character. We had glimpses of his sweetness but then there’d be a misunderstanding and he’d go a little cold. He definitely grew on me more once wee Ruby was introduced. By the end I decided that 16 year old me wouldn’t have minded having my own Casper! I do also need to give a second mention to Ruby, she was only a minor character but I completely fell in love with her. I want a follow up book with more Ruby!
Quick mentions to some of the other secondary characters. Ola and Izzy, were fab, even if Izzy is a little full on, but let’s be honest we all have a friend like that! Sanj and Josh – love! Ruth, Angel’s mum was pretty special. I think the side plot that was their home life, the struggle with the cost of living and Angel processing the changes in their lives after her mum starts dating after years of it just being the two of them after her dad’s death was interesting to read.
Was the story a little predictable in places, yes. Did that stop me enjoying it, not at all! It’s a wonderful wintery, festival rom-com and a great read for a December evening. I’d happily pick up with Angel, Casper (and Ruby) again! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on her next book, Love On The Main Stage
About The Author
Born in Camberwell, South East London, S.A. Domingo spent her formative years in Bahrain, when her family moved there for her father’s job. She works as an editor of romantic fiction, and writes adult romances under the name Sareeta Domingo. S.A. Domingo lives in South East London, with her husband, her cat, and her daydreams.
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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?