Decked with Holly by Marni Bates // Not enough holiday cheer


Decked with Holly

by Marni Bates

Paperback, 244 pages

Published September 25th 2012 by K-Teen


Smartly blending of-the-moment pop culture references and timeless themes, Bates follows her YA debut, “Awkward”, with a hilarious, over-the-top adventure about a teen girl who becomes the fake girlfriend of a cute rock star.

Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn’t Holly’s idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she’s pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she’s greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly’s face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can’t risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend – just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be “fauxmantically” involved with a cute rock star? She’s about to find out…


Trigger warning: fat-shaming, deceased parents, bullying, slut-shaming

What I Liked

  • The romance. It may seem like a meet-cute from the blurb, but the reality was Nick and Holly first meeting was really bad. It’s more enemies to lovers with funny banter and I really enjoyed it!
  • The length– I love how short it was!
  • Nick and Holly. They’re not exactly the most fleshed out characters, but as the book is really short, I appreciate the glimpses we have here. Of Holly and her thinking she’s fine without her parents, when in reality her “imaginings”, fear of losing her grandfather, and her feeling of being invisible speaks louder than anything. Nick, giving us the glimpse of life behind the scene, how he is seen but actually not, of being treated as a thing just because he seems to have everything and how it affects his life. It’s super interesting how they come from such different ends of life and yet learn to adjust with each other in such a short time.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Holly’s family felt like a caricature. Her grandpa, supposedly very caring, appear oblivious to what’s happening 99% of the time. He never reprimands her cousin nor the aunt. Holly’s cousins and aunt are literally from hell, with all the calorie counting, blackmail, and insults. It seems like the author took them to the extremes and as the beginning feature them a lot, it took me almost a week to get through it.
  • The length. Look, I love a quick read but I also feel like the length make the characters underdeveloped and caricature-ish. Plus the ending (and tbh, the romance) was really rushed!
  • Not enough holiday 😦 Being on a cruise mean that there is no snow, christmas tree, nor Hanukkah celebration in sight 😦


Decked with Holly wasn’t the holiday read, nor first read of 2020 that I was looking for. While the story set during the holidays, it barely mentions them or incorporate them to the plot. The main character got enough development and the romance is also cute, but the length caused the story to feel really rushed and underdeveloped. It was a short read that was supposed to be super quick, but it ended up taking so long as I can’t get into the story.


10 thoughts on “Decked with Holly by Marni Bates // Not enough holiday cheer

  1. I’ve been looking for good wintery reads for the holiday season, so I’m sorry to hear that this one was disappointing! The cover is so cute though. Lovely review :))

    claire @ clairefy


  2. I feel like a lot of Christmas books are underdeveloped! But because I read so many of hem at Christmastime I have kind of gotten used to it, haha. I didn’t know about this one so I will keep it in mind when Christmas comes around this year! I like reading Christmas books as Christmastime every year now 😀 And I kind of like how short they all are because they always help me reach my Goodreads goal XD


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