I've been a listener of the Bad on Paper podcast for a few years now and I remember when Becca Freeman told the pod that she was writing a Christmas book. It's very special to be on the publishing ride with someone from the beginning and something very rare. I remember when she finished her book, when she got an agent, when she sold the book, and all the news afterwards. I was so happy for her and couldn't wait to read The Christmas Orphans Club.

I pre-ordered the book which was released at the end of October and finished it a few weeks ago since I wanted to wait until it was the Christmas season to dive in. 

As excited as I was for the book, I was nervous because it wasn't my normal type of book. It was very friend focused and romance was a second thought and sometimes, those types of books make me emotional. I'm not always in the right headspace to receive emotions in that way.

However, after I started reading I was hooked and by the end, I was sobbing in a good way. I felt so seen by this book and by Becca's words, and I loved every moment of this novel.

Publisher's Summary

Hannah and Finn have spent every Christmas together since college. Neither has anywhere else to go—Hannah’s parents died, and Finn’s disowned him when he came out. Their tradition of offbeat holiday adventures only grows more outrageous with time. When the pair starts their adult lives in New York City, they add stylish Priya and mysterious Theo to the group, solidifying a found family and sense of belonging they’ve always craved.

But now, when Finn announces a move to L.A., this Christmas may be their last. Hannah is terrified of losing the family she’s built for herself, even as her boyfriend nudges her toward commitment. Meanwhile, Finn struggles with the things he’s about to leave behind—namely, his unexpressed feelings for Theo. Does growing up mean growing apart? This Christmas the changes these friends fear may be exactly what they need. . . .

My Thoughts

Hannah and Finn were such wonderful, deep characters and it was thrilling to be inside their brains. Their friendship and how the friendship came to fruition was beautiful, touching, and of course, a bit sad. I also really enjoyed Theo and Priya, who even as side characters, had a lot of growth and great character development. 

Throughout the course of the book, you're constantly flipping back and forth from past Christmases to the present, and some things are held close to the chest: like the real reason that Hannah and Finn had a falling out and why a few of their recent Christmases together weren't the greatest.

When you do come to that reveal, it was shocking and made so much sense because at the start, I didn't see how anything could break these two best friends apart.

There were moments where Hannah's resistance to committing to her boyfriend was really annoying because it felt like she was throwing away something wonderful for her friends, and while that's ok sometimes, I didn't want her to sacrifice her happiness for something fleeting. I also kept waiting for her boyfriend to do something horrible but he really was a standup guy the whole time and that made me sad, yet happy.

There is so much that happens within the book and it really stands out when I think about holiday stories; there is something for everyone, and it's not your traditional holiday romance. There's friends, families, careers, and so much New York City which was really wonderful. I felt like the city was the 5th friend in the group and all of Becca's descriptions really jumped off the page and pulled you into this world.

There's twists, turns, reveals, heartbreak, makeups and a lot of other stuff in between but to me, the core of this story was the message about growing up. Hannah is having a really hard time letting go of what she has always known and giving up part of herself to grow and change. That's something I completely relate to and it was weirdly a wakeup call for me. It made me see my life in a different way, in a more open way, that maybe I do need to do some growing up and changing.

The Christmas Orphans Club also made me incredibly thankful to the many 'chosen families' I have; from my childhood friends to my college sorority sisters, there's something so special about each group and I hold them in really important places in my heart. It made me long for my friends in a way that I haven't previously. It gave me a twinge of growing up guilt, where everything isn't always as easy, your friends don't live down the block, and everyone has their own lives... but it's so important to keep tradition alive in any way you can.

This was truly a beautiful, thoughtful Christmas story that I think everyone could find a bright light in.


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