Love in Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello
Published: November 10th 2022 by Simon & Schuster UK
Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary Romance, Festive
Quick Thoughts: More than just a Christmas read, packed with joy, heartache, friendship and supporting Black-owned businesses.
About The Book:
Will Trey and Ariel find their happily ever after? Last Christmas meets The Sun is Also a Star in this hopelessly romantic Christmas love story.
‘A screen-worthy holiday romance.’ Joya Goffney, author of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry
Trey Anderson is popular and handsome, and he works at his family’s beloved Black-owned bookshop, Wonderland. Ariel Spencer is quirky, creative, and in need of a holiday temp job to cover her tuition for The Artists’ Studio. An opening at Wonderland is the answer . . . and the start of a hate-to-love journey for Trey and Ariel. When Trey and Ariel learn that Wonderland is on the brink of shutting down, can they get over their differences and team up to stop the doors from closing before the Christmas Eve deadline?
You don’t need to ask me twice to read a Christmas book. I was in the mood for something sweet as sugar, and when I stumbled upon this book online I was baffled because I’ve seen no promo/talk of it ANYWHERE (where have I been?! what have I missed?!) and it’s exactly my kind of read—I bought it in a flash and moved it up my TBR because I mean, just look at that cover. It screams love-and-Christmas-goodness.
Trey’s family bookshop—Wonderland—has been in their orbit for generations. Despite being there most of the time, Trey hasn’t always been as in love with the shop as his family are. But when his Parents reveal the shop is struggling and they might have to sell due to a new discount-and-modern bookshop opening nearby—not to mention developers sniffling around with offers—Trey knows he has to think fast to save Wonderland.
Ariel has been in love with art for most of her life. Her recently passed father attended a coveted art program she aspires to attend also. But without a scholarship, it’s expense is too hefty for her family now that it’s just her and her mum and little brother. But when Trey and Ariel’s worlds collide—along with books and art coming together as they do—they suddenly have a way to solve all their problems. Ariel can get coverage for her art and Trey can save Wonderland. But the more time they spend together, the more a sneaking feeling of a reciprocated crush creeps in. But with Trey’s girlfriend out for revenge, the investors circling and drama following every step, saving Wonderland seems like a dream out of reach. As Christmas closes in, Ariel, Trey, family and friends rush to raise the funds, spread the word and get Wonderland on the map, it’s a race to get the Christmas miracle they all deserve.
Overall, Love In Winter Wonderland had it all: laughs, love, hope, celebration and strength. It did take me a good chunk of the book to get into the story, but once I was invested, I was HOOKED. I adored Ariel’s friends and how supportive they were, especially with her body and self-love issues. It was far more than just a Christmas read, packed with joy, heartache, friendship and supporting Black-owned businesses. A magical 4 star read!
About The Author
Abiola Bello is a Nigerian-British, prize-winning children’s/YA author who was born and raised in London. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight and experienced her first taste of ‘being published’ after winning a school poetry competition at the age of 12.
Abiola is an advocate for diversity in books for young people. Her debut YA, LOVE IN WINTER WONDERLAND, sold in a six-figure pre-empt, and will publish Winter 2022 (Simon & Schuster UK). Abiola won The London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards 2018 and is the founder of The Lil’ Author School, co-founder of The Author School, Hashtag Press, Hashtag BLAK, The Diverse Book Awards, That Playlist Book Box and ink!