‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Lily Anderson

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Lily Anderson

Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California, far from her mortal enemy: the snow.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

In my slice of Northern California, that’s not uncommon. Some years the temperature spikes, making sweaters too warm and hot cocoa uncomfortable. The sun stays persistently out, burning off the fog. Or it rains to flooding, making the ride to your proverbial grandmother’s house more harrowing than festive.

In 2005, the weather was fine, I think. (Although, now that I think of it, it flooded at New Year’s). It didn’t feel like Christmas because I wasn’t feeling anything.

Tragedy branded the year. It was no longer the year that I graduated high school (early! valedictory honors!) or got my driver’s license (sweet high-speed freedom!) or hung out in an abandoned house, throwing parties with new besties (lots of stories for a different day).

Instead, 2005 was (and is) the year that something unthinkable happened. And on the other side of it, I was close to flunking out of community college (not for the last time), separated from all my friends by hours and miles and states and continents.

So, no. It didn’t feel like Christmas. And let me tell you, I LOVE Christmas. My birthday is December 15 (Today! Hello, twenty-eight!) and all December babies either lean into the holidays or light them on fire. I’ve always leaned in. Except in 2005, I couldn’t summon it. Depression choked me. I felt nothing.

Needing something to look forward to, I put up an invite on Livejournal (because this was the early aughts and my every thought had to be cataloged on LJ.) The day after Christmas, coffee at the Starbucks with the covered patio (so I could smoke a pack or two of Marlboro Ultra Light 100s – Sorry, fam; smoking is bad. Don’t do it).

I didn’t think about who would show up. I just wanted something to look forward to. I figured most people who were home for the holidays wouldn’t be booked on the 26th. I was right.

The invite spread. I was shocked (and annoyed being newly 17 and generally angry) when people I only vaguely knew showed up. Friends of friends and so-and-so’s exes and people I’d seen in shows at our old youth theater but never had a conversation with. We drank coffee and caught up. We talked about the Bad Thing that had happened. People told stories about college and reminisced about the past. We stayed long past closing and into the night. I laughed. I felt things.

This year will be the eleventh Harbor Family Christmas – so named for the theater company where most of us met. Now, there are spouses and (so far) one rad baby. The party shifted indoors a few years ago when I moved into a house big enough to fit everyone. There’s less coffee and more whiskey and eggnog. There’s food, although no matter what we eat everyone still talks about the year there were fresh, hot paninis in a basket outside of Starbucks (before Starbucks had their own paninis for sale).

But the core principle is the same. Every year, no matter how awful (and, hoo boy, 2016 did try to punch 2005 in the face for dominance as Worst Year Ever), there is something to look forward to. There are people who won’t mind if you can’t fake happy enough or if you want to sit and listen to the loudest, fastest conversations you’ve ever heard.

Every year, whether it feels like it or not, there will be Harbor Family Christmas, waiting to welcome us all home.

Title The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You
Author Lily Anderson
Pages 352 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published May 17th, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West – and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing – down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books – well, maybe not comic books – but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on – and they might not pick the same side.

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