Laurie is sitting on a bus on snowy day in December. While the bus sits at a stop, Laurie glances out the window and locks eyes with someone sitting out there. Instantly, she knows he’s the one. It’s love at first sight, and she knows he feels it too. And then the bus pulls away. Laurie spends the next year hoping to find him, with the help of her best friend Sarah, but to no avail. So when Sarah shows up at their Christmas party with her new boyfriend, Jack, Laurie cannot believe who it is: it’s bus boy. And he’s “the love of Sarah’s life.” And there’s no way she can tell Sarah.
One Day in December is told in first-person POV from Laurie and Jack’s perspective via alternating chapters. It begins on that fateful snowy day where Laurie first glimpses Jack, known only as mysterious bus boy at the time, of course. The rest of the novel spans ten years, and there’s plenty of drama and romance throughout. I think the main characters are 21 or 22 when the novel starts, so it’s definitely a bit immature at first. I mean, I’m sure you guessed, what with the main character falling literally in love at first sight of some guy at a bus stop. I can’t imagine becoming obsessed with someone like that. It was a bit off-putting to me at first, but I just tried my best to remember the characters are very young and it’s just a silly book. But at the story progressed, the characters aged and things became a lot more grown up and relatable. (Yes, I know, I myself am in my early twenties, but the beginning was just so young.) I loved that Laurie and Sarah hosted their first “adult” dinner party and had to figure out what to bring to other peoples’ dinner parties, and then also navigating relationships and work and job hunting and friendships and loss… It was just a great novel about growing up, I think. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the romance, but I think I appreciated the realistic view of cusping adulthood even more.
Laurie was a very relatable character. Though I didn’t always agree with her, I liked her a lot. I especially loved her friendship with Sarah, and found myself extremely envious that I don’t have someone like that myself. I mean, I guess my fiancé, but she doesn’t count ever since we started dating. And I also just loved Sarah as a person, too. She added a lot to the story, rather than just being a one-dimensional girl in the way of Laurie’s true love. Speaking of one-dimensional, though… Jack was a trainwreck. Being one of the main characters, I expected a lot more character development and background on him, but we got absolutely nothing. Oftentimes he’s a total jerk seen from Laurie’s perspective, and then when it switches to Jack’s perspective, he’s still being a jerk and all we get is his inner monologue saying, wow, I’m being a jerk, but I don’t care. Amazing. Also I was really getting sick of Jack excusing his wandering eyes or sexy fantasies due to his “man brain.” Like, okay…no, let’s not. “Man brain” isn’t a thing. Though I loved Laurie and Jack’s story, and I rooted for them, part of me just hated Jack throughout the entire thing. I think his character needed a lot more work.
Despite that, though, I still found myself enjoying the story. I stayed up until 2AM to finish reading it the other night. I enjoyed the romance, and I especially enjoyed the drama. This is definitely a fluff novel, guys. If you’re looking for something light and wintry, I do recommend it despite any of its shortcomings with character development. I found myself lost in the drama with all the characters, and I loved watching the characters grow and change (not you, Jack) over the course of ten years. It’s not perfect (especially not that ending… I have thoughts), but it’s a nice change of pace from my past few reads. A nice fluffy filler before the end of the year. If you enjoyed books like In Another Life or In Five Years. I recommend for a boring winter day.