‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Dana Mele

‘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 this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Dana Mele

Dana Mele is the author of People Like Us, and is a Pushcart-nominated writer. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is a former actor, lawyer, musician, and briefly, associate producer. She prefers tea to coffee, snow to sand, and stars to sunshine. Dana lives in the Catskills with her husband and toddler.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads



In the age of enthusiasts, I am a fervent holiday devotee. I blame my mother for this. She fully decorates her house, makes festively shaped foods, and watches themed movies on every calendar holiday. All of them. I’m talking leering leprechauns hanging in the windows, turkey flags flapping in the breeze, and a yearly showing of Independence Day on the Fourth of July.

Okay, that last one is on me. It’s a tradition.

I may not have quite the energy or affinity for knickknacks that my mom has, but I do love holidays, and Christmas is my favorite one. And I do go all out. I’m not religious like my parents were at my age. They used to cordon off the presents on Christmas morning and force my brother, sister and I to sing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus as we eyed the packages, trying to size them up. But I do get totally into the season. I make elaborate playlists. Plural. Classical. Children. Jazz. Traditional. Pop. Mixed. What are we in the mood for? I’ve got it covered.

I speak the language of Christmas specials.

I gleefully rank holiday movies and schedule one for every night of December. It’s my quasi-secular version of a t.v. junkie’s advent calendar. In the past few years I’ve been too busy to watch them, but that doesn’t make the lists less important. What if someone else needs them? What if I suddenly have time? And folks, you should know that the top five are Elf, Scrooged, It’s A Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story.

I realize there are no animated specials on this list. That’s because they merit their own list. I’ve. Got. It. Covered.

I am the lady Clark Griswold of the Catskills. I realize this isn’t necessarily a compliment in the traditional sense of the word. But I am a person with a love of vacations and holidays who is overly enthusiastic about both, with perhaps sometimes unreasonably high expectations for peace, joy, and goodwill on earth. And I may be guilty of trying to cram every fun activity into the little good things sprinkled throughout an often depressing and anxiety-ridden year.

Because that’s really what it stems from. I have enough self-awareness to realize that I focus so much on vacations and holidays and little bright spots, even months ahead of time, because my depression can be so difficult to manage. It can feel like a dark, claustrophobic tunnel. So I look ahead for lights. And when I can’t see them, I visualize them, because I know they exist. There are moments when I will gather with my family and engage in traditions dating back to my childhood. I will watch Gremlins and classic Christmas cartoons with my brother. I’ll bake cookies with my sister. I’ll help my father make the calamari for the feast of the seven fishes, and watch It’s A Wonderful Life with my mother while the rest of the family snores, overstuffed with seafood and pasta. My husband and I will look over our wedding photos (of course we had a New Year’s wedding) and I’ll read my son his favorite book of all time — The Grinch.

I’ll attempt elaborate dishes and we’ll end up mostly eating the lasagna and meatballs my mom will bring. At least I’ll have tried. Maybe next year I’ll get it right. What matters is that we showed up, we like each other, and everything is warm and nice. And that bright spot is visible in a dark year whenever I close my eyes and think of the faint ringing of jingle bells.

Title People Like Us
Author Dana Mele
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Mystery
To Be Published February 27th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A sharp psychological thriller that’s just right for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Pretty Little Liars – this story will seduce, mislead, and finally, betray you.

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

Debut author Dana Mele has written a taut, sophisticated suspense novel that readers will tear through and not stop talking about.

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