APPROXIMATELY YOURS became one of my new favorite books within a few chapters. Julie Hammerle creates a wonderful, holiday-filled story in a town overflowing with cuteness. While I was initially a little hesitant about the love triangle situation, Hammerle handles it absolutely perfectly. There is no girl on girl hate between Holly and Elda. In fact, their friendship is one of the centerpieces of the story, and you’ll find yourself giggling alongside them during their adventures. Danny is also well-developed and far from naïve. He continuously questions his interactions with Holly and Elda while trying to sort everything out. He and Holly have a swoony relationship with so much adorableness you won’t be able to contain the squees.
While I love the romance so much, there are other exceptional themes within the novel that can’t be left undiscussed. Holly is plus-size, something we learn in the beginning. While she has a nice amount of confidence and self-esteem, she has certain assumptions as to how she is perceived, which I was so glad to see in this story. As a fat woman myself, I identified with her. Holly has no desire to change her body, but she believes, as many do, that most people do not find her attractive like they do someone like Elda, who is classically thin and pretty. Part of her journey isn’t about accepting her body, because she’s already quite happy with it, but rather, learning not to assume that others, like Danny, will only find traditional standards of beauty attractive.
I could shout the praises of APPROXIMATELY YOURS for several lengthy pages, but in efforts to be concise, Julie Hammerle has woven an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, grief, and a surprisingly number of gingerbread houses in her latest North Pole, Minnesota novel. Whether you’re looking for a cute holiday read or looking to cozy up with a good romance, this is not a book to miss.