Oh goodness! I know that every last one of my GR friends have read this Christmas short and loved the living daylights out of it, but I... didn't.
Wait! Let me explain before you sharpen your pitchforks and light your torches!
I thought the story was well-written, well-paced, had a unique concept and good dialogue, and included a whole cast of main and secondary characters that were surprisingly three-dimensional for such a short story. By the end of the story, I wanted to roll my eyes at Mrs. Keats, punch Mike in the throat, hug Ryan's mom, and give his sassy little sister a glittery high five. I thought Ryan was a sweet young man with a strong moral compass and a beautiful heart, and I loved Jamie's refusal to be anyone but exactly who he was born to be. He was sweet, and kind, and fearless, and vulnerable -- the kind of kid who, for good or for ill, wears his heart on his sleeve (or polka dots on his pant leg, as the case may be!). And lastly, the story's climax was sweet coming-of-age / coming out perfection that left me unable to keep a spontaneous and happy "awwwwwwww!" from popping out of my mouth.
All good stuff, right?!
So why am I not giving Madison Parker's Sock it to Me, Santa!
5 shining stars? Well... mainly because it pretty much broke my tender heart into tiny pieces for 99% of the story. Seriously. I was choked up for the vast majority of this story (a story about SOCK MONKEYS and SECRET SANTAS and CHRISTMAS for cryin' out loud!). I don't know if was the fact that I was exhausted when I read this story, or if it was because I had just finished Eli Easton's beyond adorable Blame it on the Mistletoe
and was hoping for something equally as sweet and flufftastic, or if was because the story hit a little too close to home for me (I still remember how the vast majority of people in my high school treated our "Jamies" and I DESPISE bullies), but this story just made me so, incredibly sad.
And I'm sorry, but I just don't believe that Christmas stories should make me sad (not even if they work out in the end). So, based on the author's and the story's merits, Sock it to Me, Santa
is totally worthy of a 4-star rating. However, because it made me teary rather than joyful and giggly (as all good holiday short stories should
), I bumped it down to a 3-star rating.
Verdict: I'm an emotional sap. Pay no attention to me.