Final Christmas Book Review of the Season: Featuring Sincerely, Jem by Kate Willis

Happy Monday! I’m switching things up a little this week and starting with a review that I am very excited to write! I first heard about today’s book a few months ago, when it was announced that it would be available in a limited-time Christmas anthology. I really wanted to read this anthology, but I wasn’t able to buy it. A few weeks later, the author mentioned she was looking for reviewers, so of course I jumped at the chance! And here we are.

I have another reason to be extra happy today: the library is closed today for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! As much as I love the library, I appreciate the occasional bonus day off as well. I have a couple of family members’ birthdays coming up, so I plan to work on getting ready for those today, as well as work on a few personal projects. I guess I’m not directly celebrating in the truest sense, but I definitely also intend to spend some time thinking about my own community and aspects of it that could be strengthened.

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About the Book

48056139. sy475 Title: Sincerely, Jem

Author: Kate Willis

Genre: Young Adult(ish) Contemporary Christmas Fiction

Release Date: Originally part of the limited-printing anthology A Very Bookish Christmas which released on November 28, 2019. Individually released on January 20, 2020 (that’s today! Happy book birthday!).

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Dear Reader,
My name is Jessie. I’m an expert at introversion and cheesecake eating. (#skillz) I’m trying to become a writer, but gathering inspiration = social interaction, so… no.

The world’s best mail carrier suggested I get a pen pal, so this is the story of that pen pal experiment and the beautiful way it opened my eyes.

Merry Christmas and much cheesecake to you!
Sincerely,
Jem

This lighthearted novella is inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and originally appeared in the anthology A Very Bookish Christmas. 

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My Review

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Sincerely, Jem is the late Christmas present I didn’t know I was still craving! I absolutely loved reading Jem and her penpal’s letters. At the same time, I liked that everything wasn’t in letter format. The back and forth writing helped to keep things moving, and allows the reader to really get to know Jem and her family well. The characters are fun and kind, the plot is sweet, and the setting is enjoyable (if a bit generic). Having the story set around Christmas helped, too. Who doesn’t still wish for something a little bit miraculous at Christmastime? And isn’t finding a friend in a random, anonymous pen pal something of a miracle?

 

Verdict

This is a wonderful, squeaky clean, young adult winter story, but it could just as easily be read by someone 8 years old or 100. It’s a fairly short read, which is perfect for the enjoying amid the chaos that tends to fill the Christmas season! I have no complaints about Sincerely, Jem. I had fun reading this story, and I think you will, too! I also now need to add Daddy Long Legs to my TBR, since it’s a classic that I have never read and, before reading this story, didn’t have any real desire to read because I thought the title odd. However, if this fun story is a take on it, then maybe I should give it a chance?

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I hope you have a peaceful day, Readers.

Do you read Christmas stories outside of December? If so, share your favorite Christmas story that you read in summer!

 

Until the next chapter,

Sincerely,

Jana

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