Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.
What better book to post about this Christmas Eve than a favorite holiday read? At First Sight and I Do by Elizabeth Chandler are my favorites in the Love Stories series published by Bantam Books. I loved them when I was a teenager and I’ve reread them so many times that I know the story by heart. My copies of both books are already yellowed with age. If only these books were readily available, I’d get new copies.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Allie Parker is dreading Christmas break. She’s leaving boarding school to go home to watch her twin sisters and their superficial friends. So when Allie meets Ben Harrington on the way there, things are looking up – until she discovers that he’s a basketball star and one of her sisters’ crowd. Allie writes him off. How could he be interested in a serious girl like her. But the more she sees of Ben, the less he seems like the jock type. Is there more to Ben than meets the eye?
I love rereading this book during the holidays because it’s a fun read and it’s set at Christmastime. Allie has spent most of her school years at Fields School, a boarding school exclusively for girls in Maryland. Her parents travel all over the world for her dad’s job so the kids were sent to boarding school for some stability. Once Allie’s parents decided to settle in one place for good, her twin sisters, blond and beautiful Sandra and Julia opt to leave Fields to study at a regular high school. Allie isn’t looking forward to going to their new home for Christmas. All her friends are in Fields and she always feels self-conscious around her sisters. She knows she looks nothing like them, she’s not popular and she doesn’t spend hours fixing her hair or choosing her outfits.
At 208 pages, this book is a lightweight but I really like how well-developed Allie and Ben were as characters. As Allie learns more about Ben, she realizes that he isn’t like the rest of the popular crowd, he’s not superficial and is actually very sweet, especially when it comes to his younger brother, Tim. I loved all of their scenes together because you can really feel the tension between them. All throughout the holiday break, they keep dancing around each other, unsure of the other’s feelings and not willing to risk their new-found friendship. And it all leads to a satisfying New Year’s Eve conclusion. The entire Love Stories series is already out of print. Most of my copies have already been passed on to a younger cousin (and I hope she enjoyed reading them as much as I did) but I kept a couple because I just couldn’t let go of them. At First Sight made an impression when I was young so it will always have a special place in my heart. If you get a chance to read this, I’d love to know what you think.
That’s it for today, I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays. Merry Christmas, everyone!