It seems like the perfect Christmas Day, until Em overhears her stepdad talking on the phone to another woman. Soon, Dad is gone and Em is wishing wishing wishing he would come back.
This is not one of Jacqueline Wilson's better novels, which is a shame. I mean, the children's love of their dad was realistic and sweet, but I found it hard to feel any affection for a guy who was cheating on his wife and willing to leave his kids to be with this other woman. I didn't want him to come back, so I found it hard to relate to Em's fervent wishes that he would.
I did enjoy the fact that, even though he is Em's stepdad, he doesn't treat her any differently than he does his own children, Vita and Maxie. Even if he is a reckless, cheating scumbag. >8[
I liked Em's character a lot, especially the fact she was struggling with her weight and comfort eating. Thankfully this was not overdone, but handled in quite a subtle, sensitive fashion. I think her character is probably quite relatable for a lot of girls her age and, with all the stick-thin models in the media, it's nice to have a protagonist who does not emulate them. (Not that this is anything new with Jacqueline Wilson, which is something I admire about her.)
I also enjoyed that Em's favourite author was Jenna Williams, who was obviously Jacqueline Wilson. I liked comparing the book plots and titles to real Jacqueline Wilson novels, haha.
Em's mum annoyed me. I just wanted her to get over her husband and get out there and find a man that treated her right. She did stand up for herself a bit at the end, but aside from that she was just like a wet flannel.
The ending was rather ambiguous, but it was okay. I'd have perhaps liked a little more, maybe another chapter, but it was definitely not as annoying as the ending of Lily Alone
Also, I found the entire premise unrealistic. It's not healthy to give kids whose parents have split up false hope of them getting back together. Gah. I thought this would be dealing more with the idea of divorce, like The Suitcase Kid
, but I didn't agree with this premise at all. Not sure why Jacqueline Wilson thought it was a good idea, to be honest.
I'd recommend it to Jacqueline Wilson fans, but definitely not as a book to read if your parents split up!