Jingle Boy

Jingle Boy

4.8 5
by Kieran Scott

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Sixteen-year-old Paul Nicholas is a self-confessed Christmas fanatic. That's why he's so smitten with Sarah--a girl who smells like peppermint and thinks picking out presents to the strains of "Winter Wonderland" is the ultimate afternoon activity. But when he catches Sarah making out with Santa Claus at the Paramus Park mall, his dad's over-the-top lights catch the


Sixteen-year-old Paul Nicholas is a self-confessed Christmas fanatic. That's why he's so smitten with Sarah--a girl who smells like peppermint and thinks picking out presents to the strains of "Winter Wonderland" is the ultimate afternoon activity. But when he catches Sarah making out with Santa Claus at the Paramus Park mall, his dad's over-the-top lights catch the Nicholas house on fire, and his mom gets fired from Fortunoff's because of something he did for Christmas for Sarah, Paul gets caught in a downward spiral of holiday gloom. This year, the spirit of Scrooge has settled in--and it's not going to be pretty. Or will the spirit of the holiday prevail?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers attracted to this title by its relatively hip jacket art-a photo of a cute boy staring out soulfully from under a Santa cap-may be disappointed by the contrived and somewhat cloying comedy-cum-fantasy within. Paul Nicholas, the teenage narrator, is a self-proclaimed "Christmas freak," just like his parents. "My family has more Christmas traditions than an elf has pairs of pointy earmuffs," says Paul, who confesses that he thinks Christmas will somehow be "destroyed" if he stops wearing his Santa hat. Indeed, he loses said chapeau at the mall, and all-out calamity follows. As the plot twists and turns in overdetermined and obvious fashion, even encompassing a visit from the real Santa Claus, readers are likely to find Paul's Christmas quirks more peculiar than endearing. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2003: Everyone loves Christmas, but no one more than Paul Nicholas, whose family has more holiday traditions "than an elf has pairs of pointy earmuffs." Their light display is the most elaborate; their devotion to Christmas TV specials and corny Christmas music is unshakeable. And Paul's personal tradition? Always getting everything he asks for, which this Christmas will be a Jeep that has his just-about-perfect girlfriend Sarah as excited as Paul. Everything is set for a great Christmas...until Paul loses his lucky Santa hat. And his father is electrocuted while putting out the Christmas lights. And his mother loses her job. And Paul has to work as Santa's helper to a scraggly rap artist wannabe named Scooby, who has also just stolen his girlfriend. Convinced that Christmas has become a curse, Paul and his best friend Holly join the Anti-Christmas Underground whose mission is to eradicate the Christmas spirit. Bent on destroying Scooby and reclaiming Sarah, Paul and the gang plan anti-Christmas attacks that ultimately backfire. It takes a visit from Santa before Paul realizes that all is not lost, and the real spirit of Christmas can't be destroyed. Kiernan incorporates almost every pop-culture Christmas icon into his story in one way or another, and constructs his own tongue-in-cheek version of a feel-good Christmas special. Silly and full of slapstick, this could end up on the big screen as an antidote to the usual Christmas madness. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Random House, Laurel-Leaf, 230p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
The Nicholas family is renowned for its elaborate Christmas celebrations, turning their suburban home into a neighborhood beacon with spectacular light displays. Although in high school, Paul remains an enthusiastic participant in the family obsession, wearing a good-luck Santa hat everywhere and working as a mall Santa Claus. He is especially looking forward to his sixteenth Christmas because he has a flashy new girlfriend, Sarah, and he is expecting a really sensational gift: his own car. The first few chapters of this novel are so full of yuletide cheer and happy consumerism that what follows is a bit startling. During the week before Christmas, everything suddenly goes wrong for this wholesome all-American family. Dad is seriously injured while stringing Christmas lights on the roof, Mom is fired by the department store for her informal processing of a gift return, and Paul loses Sarah to another Santa impersonator at the mall. Because all of these disasters are Christmas related, Paul turns violently against the holiday, and falls in with the Anti-Christmas Underground, a gang of juvenile delinquents who sabotage holiday festivities. Can Paul find a happy medium between mindless consumerism and cynical destructiveness? Will he realize in time that his friend, Holly, who buys her clothes at the Salvation Army, is better girlfriend material than beautiful but shallow Sarah? Scott, author of many series romance novels and biographies of popular television and movie stars, is well practiced at turning out light, quick reads for younger, primarily female teens. This one is a holiday season story for that very audience of teen girls who will love the cover that features a cute teenage boywith a sort of sad puppy-dog look, dressed in a bright, bold, red-and-white Santa costume. VOYA Codes: 2Q 3P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Random House, 208p,
— Walter Hogan
Paul and his family adore Christmas, with their various decorations and traditions redefining "ostentatious." This year, 17-year-old Paul's cheer sours after purchasing an expensive necklacefor his girlfriend, then seeing her kissing the mall Santa in the parking lot and being summarily dumped. Worse, his father is injured while decorating, setting their house ablaze, and his mother loses her job. In anger, Paul joins the "Anti-Christmas Underground," all students with past negative holidays. The group initially engages in minor vandalism, but after escalating to planning serious criminal activities, Paul realizes his anger is from personal, not seasonal, problems. He exits the group with renewed spirits and decorates their refurbished house before his father's hospital homecoming. Narrated by Paul, this story begins sharply but numerous plot contrivances (Santa advises Paul, he discovers his mother's boss and mall Santa stealing, causing his rival's comeuppance and mother's promotion, etc.) turn this into a frothy read. The absence of season commercialism issues and religious diversity (possible discussion topics) further lighten the story, but those seeking an amusing Christmas novel with only happy endings will enjoy this fast, easy read. 2003, Delacorte Press, 230 pp., Ages young adult.
—Lisa A. Hazlett
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Paul has always adored Christmas-that is, until a mall Santa steals his girlfriend, his father is nearly electrocuted by a Christmas light display that burns down much of their house, and his mother loses her job. Attributing all this tragedy to the loss of his lucky Santa hat, the embittered teen sets out to get his revenge on the mall Santa, and on Christmas in general. Paul is an appealing character whose holiday season goes from bad to worse, culminating in a night in jail. There is an appropriate moral at the end and even a visit from St. Nick himself, but luckily the tone is peppy rather than cloying. If you have an urgent need for Christmas fiction aimed at young teens, this is the book.-E. M. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A familiar story arc-best Christmas ever, worst Christmas ever, best Christmas ever-gets a shallow incarnation. Paul's Christmas season begins with "the most beautiful, sweet, perfect girl in school" on his arm and a promised fancy red car from his parents. When his beloved old Santa hat gets lost, however, everything turns sour. His father is electrocuted hanging Christmas lights, his mother is fired, and his girlfriend breaks up with him in favor of the mall Santa. Christmas is not merely a metaphor here: every page is stocking-stuffed with details. Self-pitying and bitter, more concerned with what he's lost than with his hospitalized father, Paul joins the Anti-Christmas Underground. His redemption at the end is surprisingly Santa-dependent. Disappointingly, Scott misses the chance to acknowledge any real reasons why Christmas could ever be disliked, and fails to separate the meaningful aspects of Christmas from the shallow. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 7.32(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Jingle Boy 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really funny and so got me in the Christmas spirit. Many parts made me laugh out loud. I can not wait to read another book by Kieran Scott.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really fun read, especially if you're familiar with Bergen County, NJ. Kieran Scott has a great, hip style that apparently not only teens enjoy... I gave the book to a couple of 30-somethings and they genuinely enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like to read the books I pick for my daughter before she gets them. Knowing her as I do, she is going to love this one. Particularly since the story takes place in our own neighborhood. A must for any girl who 'hangs out' at Paramus Park. Really cute and humorous!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an uplifting and enjoyable treat! Why wait until Xmas to deck the halls? I loved the characters and the many holiday references proved to ignite my desire to fast forward to December. Great idea for a stocking stuffer, and the perfect size too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because the guy on the cover is extremely hottt! But, the book was suprizingly good! it realy got me in the holiday spirit.