{Review} DECKED WITH HOLLY by Marni Bates

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

I tugged down the green bit of monstrosity wrapped tightly around my waist so that it brushed mid-thigh and tried to remember why I put up with Jennifer Lawley as my best friend.  This time she had gone too far.  
"I can't do this!" 
It wasn't the first time I  had tried to mutiny, but given that I was now wearing the aforementioned green bit of monstrosity instead of staring at it on a hanger, I guess she was justified in believing that I'd back down.
But never again.  
She plumped up her already cherry-red lips and rolled her eyes at me in the mirror.  
"Come on, Holly.  It's not so bad." 
"Not so bad!" I sputtered.  "We look like mutants!  Worse than that!  We look like slutty mutants whose clothing went through a wood chipper!" 
"We look like Santa's helpers.  Get into the spirit of things, already.  'Tis the season, you know!"
Right, becaues nothing perks up a girl more than hearing Christmas carols for hours on end while being forced to ask little children if they've been naughty or nice lately.
(page 1, US paperback edition)

Check out my review of AWKWARD, Marni Bates' debut novel,
as well as Character Word Associations with Logan (Who you will totally want to know a little bit better after reading AWKWARD).
Don't miss today's interview with Marni Bates, either!

If you loved the breezy light-heartedness of AWKWARD or the way Mackenzie was able to get herself into all kinds of awkward, embarrassing situations, be prepared to fall in love again, this time with Holly.  Marni Bates once again blends together  her own special version of humor and strife, creating a crazy, over-the-top situation where an ordinary girl falls into the "celebrity" life in crazy, unexpected ways.

Holly is less than pleased after finding out that her grandfather has booked a cruise for his birthday, inviting not just  her, but her horrible aunt, uncle, and their twin daughters.  While Christmas might be her birthday, she wishes she wasn't being forced into such close quarters with the rest of her family, especially since she has to share a room with the "Twins from Hell."  After a bout with seasickness, Holly accidentally winds up in the suite of Dominic "Nick" Wyatt, an incognito member of the popular band ReadySet (He also makes an appearance in AWKWARD).  His identity and location are revealed to the press, as well as the fact that Holly "stayed the night" in his room.  In order to outsmart the press and spin things in a better direction, Holly becomes Dominic's fake girlfriend, and together, they find themselves in a ton of crazy situations.

Bates is such a fun author to pick up when you're looking for something easy-breezy, where you can care about the characters and their emotions without worrying about over-the-top emotional drama.  Her characters are fresh and real, and Bates brings every girl's fantasy to life.  Who hasn't dreamed about dating (even faux-dating) a rockstar or becoming a star yourself?  It's a media-fueled dream everyone grows up with, and Bates' girls get to experience this lifestyle through the most embarrassing of starts.  They aren't perfect, which makes them even more relatable.  While the outcomes can be predictable, as they often are in this genre, the witty dialogue and banter are enough to keep one's interest and leave readers coming back for more novels by Bates.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Cute and fun!  You know exactly what you're in for with this cover.

I really like the way the color-blocking of the book's title in AWKWARD returns here, albeit with holiday colors.  The title is a mix of computer coloring and penciled-in lines, and I love that the images on the cover reflect this as well.  It's a nice mix between the two!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Marni Bates
Release Date: Out Sept. 25, 2012
Publisher: K-Teen / Kensington
Received: Review Copy

Smartly blending of-the-moment pop culture references and timeless themes, Bates follows her YA debut, AWKWARD, with a hilarious, over-the-top adventure about a teen girl who becomes the fake girlfriend of a cute rock star. 

Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn't Holly's idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she's pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she's greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly's face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can't risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend - just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be "fauxmantically" involved with a cute rock star? She's about to find out...