'Tis the season for Christmas movie rom-coms. (Seriously, these things start before Halloween on channels like Hallmark and Lifetime). And if you're searching for the perfect gift for your Hallmark holiday film loving BFF (or just shopping for yourself, no shame), Riane Konc's new book, Build Your Own Christmas Movie Romance, is the present you've been waiting for. The choose-your-own-adventure style novel follows Chrissy, a business woman at a company in a busy city who is suddenly forced to return to her hometown, the quaint Candy Cane Falls. From there, you can shape the rest of her holiday season. Will she run away with her Uber driver? Will her big city ex-boyfriend make a last ditch effort to win her back? Will she will rekindle things with her former high school flame/high school nemesis? (You can choose to make Nicholas Bell either one.) The possibilities are endless.
The book is filled with all the best cheesy holiday movie tropes, like magical Santas, grand Christmas baking gestures, ice skating as a method of sorting through your feelings, and so much more. It's like roughly 13 holiday movies combined into one epic choose-your-own-adventure story. Hallmark Christmas movie staple Candace Cameron Bure even makes an appearance.
Konc writes like someone who has seen all these cheesy holiday movies and appreciates them for what they are: Delicious, candy cane-scented breaks from reality. She seems to know the power that donning a sweater in front of a fire while sipping eggnog and watching a holiday-themed love story can have. The kinds of references and jokes in her story are only possible for someone with a real understanding of the medium to make.
At the same time, Konc challenges some of the givens in these types of movies with a feminist undercurrent in the novel. Chrissy becomes more self-aware and begins to question why she has to give up her whole life and job in the city to make things work with a guy she only just recently connected with. And why do all these movies make living in the city seem like a horrible moral choice? Some of us are city people, OK? Christmas is nice here, too.
Through every iteration of Chrissy's story, you'll be rooting for her to get her happy ending in Candy Cane Falls (or wherever else) with whoever she's mint to be with. And once you arrive at an ending, you can simply start her story over again to see how it turns out the next time. (There's also a side plot about a Christmas ornament shop owner who falls for the soulless real estate conglomerate representative out to destroy her business. Will they find love when working together on the local school Christmas play? It's a real can't-miss.)
Despite the holidays being more than a month away, consider your Christmas shopping done because you can just add this book to your to-buy list for all your BFFs. Just be sure to get yourself one too (or drop some hints about wanting a copy), because you won't want to miss the chance to build Chrissy's Christmas story this holiday season.