Review: ‘Nathan Burgoine – Handmade Holidays

Author: ‘Nathan Burgoine
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: Mm Holiday

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.

A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born.

As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.

Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late.

Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet.

Review: This is a little bittersweet because of all the wasted years. Nick has been disowned by his family and at 19 he is on his own for Christmas. The moment when he realizes that despite having a tree, because he is making his own Christmas, he has nothing to put on it made me want to cry for him. But since Nick didn’t, “He would not cry again over those people”, I didn’t. His best friend, Haruto, is there and a paper crane with Haruto’s gift make the day better.

The book goes from Christmas to Christmas and how the Misfit Toys (Nick’s group of friends who gather for Christmas) change, grow and stay together. Some of them were true to themselves and got even better. From Haruto to Phoebe, Johnny to Elladee, they made the best of what life had thrown at them. Some of them, like Nick, seemed to settle and made his friends settle as well. “No fats, no fems, no Asians.”

But ultimately this is a story of the family you choose and how important they are. And that sometimes, what is right in front of you takes you fifteen years to see.

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